The Big Short

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For the film based on the book, see The Big Short (film).
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
Hardcover edition
Author Michael Lewis
Country United States
Language English
Genre Finance
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Publication date
March 15, 2010
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 320 pp.
ISBN 0-393-07223-1
OCLC 567188407
LC Class HC106.83 L5 2010
Preceded by Home Game
Followed by Boomerang

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine is a non-fiction book by Michael Lewis about the build-up of the United States housing bubble during the 2000s. The book was released on March 15, 2010, by W. W. Norton & Company. It spent 28 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list.


The Big Short describes several of the main players in the creation of the credit default swap market that sought to bet against the collateralized debt obligation (CDO) bubble and thus ended up profiting from the financial crisis of 2007–08. The book also highlights the eccentric nature of the type of person who bets against the market or goes against the grain.

The work follows people who believed the bubble was going to burst, like Meredith Whitney, who predicted the demise of Citigroup and Bear Stearns; Steve Eisman, an outspoken hedge fund manager; Greg Lippmann, a Deutsche Bank trader; Eugene Xu, a quantitative analyst who created the first CDO market by matching buyers and sellers; the founders of Brôwn Companies Inc., who started a hedge fund in their garage with $110,000 and built it into $120 million when the market crashed; and Michael Burry, an ex-neurologist who created Scion Capital.[1]

The book also highlights some people involved in the biggest losses created by the market crash: like Merrill's $300 million mezzanine CDO manager Wing Chau; Howie Hubler, infamously known as the person who lost $9 billion in one trade, the largest single loss in history;[2] and Joseph Cassano's AIG Financial Products, which suffered over $99 billion in losses.[3]


The book was shortlisted for the 2010 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award. It spent 28 weeks on The New York Times' non-fiction bestseller list.[4]

It also received the 2011 Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights Book Award.[5]


Main article: The Big Short (film)

Paramount acquired the rights to The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine in 2013. On March 24, 2014, it was announced that Adam McKay would direct the adaptation.[6] On January 13, 2015, Variety reported that Brad Pitt, Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling were set to star in the film, and Pitt would produce the film with McKay and Dede Gardner. Steve Carell then joined.[7] Plan B Entertainment financed the film with Paramount handling the distribution rights. Production started on March 23, 2015[8] in New Orleans, LA.[9] The film was released on December 11, 2015, and was met with critical acclaim, winning the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as receiving a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

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