"The Greatest Trade Ever" is a fascinating and entertaining read, fully comprehensible for those non-Wall Street insiders, exposing the underbelly of the financial industry in the midst of the bursting housing bubble. However, the book title is a bit of a misnomer in my mind. This book would have been best titled "the most profitable Wall Street" bet ever made. John Paulson and his team certainly had the foresight to dig deep and smell the rotten filth of sub-prime lending crisis. While I don't share the lionization of him the way Zuckerman's title and much of the book portrays, this still was a very fast moving and inside story that can't be conveyed in a NYT or WSJ article. On that level, this books works well for me.
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.