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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I received this book as a reviewer. Since I am a market participant (algo-trader) I know all too well what Mr Dunbar is talking about. It is not a personality blow by blow account like the Big Short or The Sellout. I am glad for that. It is more like Traders, Guns, and Money, but a modern accounting of where the derivatives trend has gone. On that I was very appreciative as a market participant I want to know where things are going.

If there is a bugaboo with this book, its that it is too short with its 250 pages! I would have loved more information! But hey that's me. I thought the Appendix with the timeline was a fantastic touch!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This pretty much explains everything from a highly qualified industry journalist who was right in the middle of the derivatives storm. The only criticism I have is that, even with my Economics degree, I was still confused by some of the financial instruments like credit default swaps, CDO's, SPV's. I think the journalist is so used to talking to insiders he forgets that the average American needs much more explanation for what a SPV or credit default swap is and how it works in simple terms. The whole point is that you shouldn't need a Masters in Financial Engineering to understand how derivatives work and how dangerous they are. I know an airplane traveling at 500 MPH flying into a building is dangerous without knowing everything about aeronautics and chemistry and physics. I'd like an epilogue that goes more into detail of Frank-Dodds and explains how nothing much has really changed.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a technical book easy to read. Even if it gets a bit complicated sometimes, the devil is in the details. "Devil's Derivatives" captures a story of greed and shifting blame, o story of markets manipulation and pure egocentric capitalism. I liked it so much, that I made a review on my investing blog at [...]. And yes, it is visionary, since the last chapter ponders on the bond governments and on Greece...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
A bit arcane as is the financial sleight of hand it discusses, but a unique insight into how it all went wrong.
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Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Very few do, but Mr Dunbar has the chops to write about this topic. I expected a lot from this book. He explains things well. I wish he would eschew the usual hype - the breathless - 300Trillion of interest-rate swaps! So-what? for every change in rates, someone makes and someone else looses and equivalent amount. no market takes long to go from 'hedging' to speculating. whether rates or credit derivatives. the issue worth discussing is concentration or liquidity. now, that is something to be alarmed about. I wish there was a more in-depth analysis of whether the regulators were aware or not that one outfit (AIG) had singularly sold protection (long risk) against the street. akin to what LTCM had done when they had bet the farm on the on and off-the-run treasury spreads reverting to normal - AGAINST the street. now that we have trade repositories, has that problem been ameliorated. THAT would be interesting. There is enough CNBC quality reporting in the world. You are better than that Mr Dunbar
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on August 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Not as indepth as Inventing Money but this book was great esp after Michael Lewis' Big short & Das' traders guns & money when you wanted to learn more about cdo/cds market & GS's involvement in the nature of 2008 market correction.This book also presents a more complicated explanation of cds short vs Big Short book which was too simplistic & designed for be read by the general public.

One should read E-conned in conjunction with this book to get a fuller picture of the fixed income derivative market & the trades set up by the sell-side from 2004-08.
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on May 13, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The second half on subprime mortgages, ABS and ABS CDO were trapped in accounts of personalities than the big picture. The first half was exceptionally good on synthetic CDO and the Basle accord formulation. Many insider view and not that many books would dare to say derivatives sales are 'rent seeking' outright.
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on October 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book does a great job of expanding a reader's foundational understanding of market functions and derivatives, specifically how they applied to modern financial markets. I enjoyed his discussion on capital requirements and special purpose entities, as well as his anecdotes of the pre-crisis investment banking life style.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Nicholas Dunbar does a great job of shedding light on the role that complex derivatives played in the financial meltdown of 2008. The most impressive aspects of the book are the details that he is able to present after conducting countless interviews with some of the leading characters in international finance and those involved in some of the most controversial financial deals, examining financial prospectuses, legal documents and regulatory filings. His background in physics and journalism enable him to present the story in a digestible format that doesn't require a PhD in mathematics to understand.
While wholly blaming the financial crisis on "slick traders and hapless regulators" may be too simple, with loose monetary policies and global trade imbalances having both played pivotal roles, the book excellently covers some of the under-reported aspects - beyond the level of blanket statements and gross generalizations - of the financial crisis. Mr. Dunbar's "Devil's Derivatives" will likely join the list of Gillian Tett's "Fool's Gold", Michael Lewis's "Big Short", and Andrew Roskin's "Too Big to Fail" of classics on the meltdown that will dot summer reading lists for years to come. In addition, and more importantly, his work has made an important contribution to the debate that will be continued for decades by economists, journalists and policy makers over the forces that led to the largest financial meltdown since the Great Depression and how to avoid a repetition.
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on February 26, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is how it was done... how you became poor and these guys ripped you off that is... nothings fixed.... it'll happen again...full of details... not a light read, but well worth the time invested in deciphering the shady deals.
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