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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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Top Customer Reviews
On the other hand, the book leaves me more troubled and disenchanted with the financial industry..... and I'm a bullish believer in the free market. Reading this book left me even more jaded of much of the financial industry and their ability to create negative global impact greater than the benefit they deliver. Sure, there are aspects of the industry that serve useful purposes --- i.e., helping companies raise capital to finance growth. However, much of the industry seems like cess pool of individuals who've never created innovative products or services to sell to consumers or businesses. Or taken an innovative idea and created and/or revolutionized categories or industries. They are big time gamblers, playing mostly with house money and limited accountability (unless things go well) usinge opaque and risky investment instruments. John Paulson was wildly successful by those measures, but probably wouldn't last a day running a Fortune 100 company, leading tens of thousands of employees or being one of the millions of individuals with an idea and a dream that are the true engines of the American economy.
"The Greatest Trade Ever" was a fantastic read even if the characters and their industry leave little to respect or admire.
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.
On that front, this book delivers.
You get information about who Paulson was before he became the Paulson we know, we find out the truth about Pellegrini's role in the fund. We find out what other bankers thought of Paulson and the funds strategy. You get some funny anecdotes, and some quotes that, even if not word for word, give you a good sense of what the key players were thinking.
One cautionary note: for the non-finance reader, there are some fairly obtuse financial terms in this book that, while he tries, Zuckerman isn't able to describe as easily as some may like. That said, using sites like investopedia and others, you'll be able to figure out what he's talking about if you're willing to do a little research online.
I'm going to read The Big Short next, and I'll update this review with some comparisons.