- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books; First Edition edition (November 3, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385529910
- ISBN-13: 978-0385529914
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 196 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History Hardcover – November 3, 2009
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"Simply terrific. Easily the best of the post-crash financial books."
"Mr. Zuckerman is a first-rate reporter who is also able to explain the complexities of real estate finance in layman’s terms. At times, The Greatest Trade Ever reads like a thriller."
--The New York Times
“How Paulson and a handful of contrarian investors pulled off this once-in-a-lifetime coup is the subject of The Greatest Trade Ever ... a fascinating and believable counter-narrative to the growing pile of books recounting the disastrous mistakes made by many of the supposedly smartest minds on Wall Street. It is also a surprisingly dramatic work...In The Greatest Trade Ever, Zuckerman skillfully shows how Paulson and a few cohorts anticipated a disaster and figured out a way to profit.”
"More than a cinematic narrative of how Paulson and others figured out how to short the market. We’re also reminded of how opaque and illiquid some financial instruments are, how little Wall Street executives understood them, and how difficult it was for more knowledgeable bankers to say that the subprime emperor had no clothes."
"Zuckerman has a story to tell, a thread to follow, and it just happens to turn out that by following the saga of John Paulson, Zuckerman reveals all kinds of fascinating perspectives on complex finance, the real estate bubble and Wall Street and Washington's difficulties in putting the two together.”
“A magnificent insider look at how Paulson and others profited off of subprime’s demise, detailing both the formulation and implementation of such a trade…Zuckerman’s work is both insightful and gripping.”
"Greg Zuckerman was the first to tell the world about John Paulson's sensational trade…He's written the definitive account of a strange and wonderful subplot of the financial crisis."
--Michael Lewis, bestselling author of Moneyball and Home Game
"Gregory Zuckerman takes us to Wall Street's heart of darkness, where mushroomed a $1 trillion subprime mortgage market that only the few, the brave, the smart dared short. The story of John Paulson and the few colorful contrarians who made outsized bets and outrageous profits on the subprime implosion, is at once a great page-turner and a great illuminator of the market's crash."
--John Helyar, co-author, Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco
"Greg Zuckerman's book is much, much more than a brilliant account of Paulson's trade of the century; it also provides a highly enjoyable and lucid journey through the analytical and emotional maze that constituted the financial markets on the eve of the Great Recession. The book is compulsory reading for those looking for exceptional insights on the complex forces that interconnect Wall Street, hedge funds and Main Street."
--Mohamed El-Erian, Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Investment Management Co. and bestselling author of When Markets Collide: Investment Strategies for the Age of Global Economic Change
"I couldn't put it down. All I can say is, WOW! What a story! Incredibly illuminating."
--Whitney Tilson, hedge fund manager and author of More Mortgage Meltdown: 6 Ways to Profit in These Bad Times
"A wonderful, fast-paced summary of how John Paulson, a hedge fund manager, made billions of dollars."
"The Greatest Trade Ever is aptly titled, for it is possibly the greatest book to come out of the financial crisis of 2007 — 2008, and it’s certainly up there in the top 3."
"...a Tour de Force chronicling the rise of John Paulson from a mediocre merger arbitrage investment manager into a financial titan."
"An astonishingly interesting story."
--David Warsh, EconomicPrincipals.com
About the Author
GREGORY ZUCKERMAN is a senior writer at the Wall Street Journal, where he has been a reporter for twelve years. He pens the widely read “Heard on the Street” column and writes about hedge funds, investing, and other Wall Street topics. Zuckerman appears on CNBC twice a week to explain complex trades. He is a two-time winner of the Gerald Loeb Award for coverage of the credit crisis, the demise of WorldCom, and the collapse of hedge fund Amaranth Advisors, and he is a recipient of other awards.
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The authors research, verification and "novel" like delivery makes for an intriguing "who dunnit." The folks who saw the disaster coming years before it happened and were able to profit HUGELY from it is a testimonial to the American entrepreneur.
Zuckerman's skill in presenting arcane, complicated and obfuscating financial "mumbo jumbo" is brilliant--this stuff can be mind numbing in its complexity. It should be a business school required reading as well as critical to every Americans financial health.
What you don't know will financially RUIN you!!
It is ironic that the corrupt actions of Congress that failed to protect the common citizen, held hearings to question the risk takers that beat the system! I share John Paulson's future vision of an inflation bubble coming.
Buy it & read it. Then go out & buy The Big Short (also available on AMAZON).
The book also hinted on the suffering caused by the collapse, and who was or wasn't to blame, although that was not a central topic of the book.
It is impressive that the author was able to track down a group of unrelated participants, scattered across the US. These included the New York hedge fund manager, the one-eyed physician who abandoned his residency to start a hedge fund, the pot-smoking surfer, the real estate playboy and the Italian investment banker whose career had stagnated before landing a relatively junior analyst position.
The reader is taken away by the overarching theme in the book in that impending bubble was obvious and should have been understood by more professionals on Wall Street. As the author illustrates, too many were drinking the drinking the Kool-aid, confident housing prices couldn't decline so steeply. At the same time, the reader has to wonder why, so soon after the Internet bubble, were Wall Street professionals not more aware of the consequences of the growth in the mortgage industry.
In terms of the Cinderella story element, readers may find the story of late-40's Italian Investment banker whose career had stagnated most interesting. In what appeared to be a desperate job search, he reached out to HBS classmate John Paulson. Paulson gave him an analyst job that would typically be appropriate for someone twenty years younger. After a failed marriage and various financial difficulties, he lands this position where, as the book explains, he crafted a strategy of betting against the sub-prime market. In the end, he gets a $175 million dollar bonus. Like other characters, he was spared the misery experienced by millions of Americans and had a very happy ending.