Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Betting on the Blind Side Business:

Michael Lewis has a new book out entitled The Big Short.

Most of us in the financial services business have been reading Michael Lewis for years.

Starting with Liars Poker, his very entertaining account of his short career as a bond salesman at Salomon Brothers (now part of Citigroup), Lewis has a gift for making difficult and often arcane financial subjects seem interesting.

Lewis has been everywhere in the media recently - "60 Minutes", "Charlie Rose", etc. and even last weekend on PBS's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me". Clearly his publishers and he have high hopes for this book, and have arranged this massive media campaign.

For some reason known only to Lewis and his agent, they have decided to not release a version on Kindle - not yet, at least - which means that I probably will not be reading the book anytime soon.

Interestingly, some of my fellow Kindle lovers are waging a negative campaign on Amazon with the hope of forcing the publishers hand and getting the book on Kindle.

If you go to Amazon, you will see the composite rating of The Big Short is "three stars", which essentially means "average". However, if you read the reviews of the people who have actually bought the hardcover copy, they are all glowing - "five star". These reviews have been essentially negated by a host of "one star" reviews posted by angry Kindle owners.

I draw two lessons from this: first, you can't trust composite ratings; and, second, beware the power of on-line reviewers!

In any event, here's an excerpt from the book, courtesy of Vanity Fair:

Betting on the Blind Side Business: