Kindle Bomb for Michael Lewis and The Big Short
Odd that Lewis was one of the the original mouthpieces for the Kindle, but can't get his publisher (or won't?) to put his latest book out on the Kindle.
As a result, Kindle owners are giving the book a one-star rating, and causing the non-kindle, Lewis fans to cry about unfair ratings.
I say this: Kindle bomb Lewis and The Big Short. Those who rail that this is "abuse" of the star rating system or that it's "not fair" don't get it. If I want a new Acura and Honda refuses to offer it in anything other than an overweight, overpriced, neon-pink, then I have every right to rate it one star.
So, go ahead and head to Amazon, and give The Big Short a one-star rating.
But don't just do it for the Kindle, do it because Lewis wrote this ridiculous article in January of 2007, telling everyone that derivatives were the saviors of the financial system -- not the toxic garbage they turned out to be. Not only that, but anyone who worried about the risk of derivatives was a "wimp," a "ninny" and a "pointless skeptic."
Now that there's a buck to be made lionizing the wimps, ninnies, and pointless skeptics, however, ML is right up at the front of the line with his hand out.
Check out how much Lewis didn't know back then: "None of them seemed to understand that when you create a derivative you don't add to the sum total of risk in the financial world; you merely create a means for redistributing that risk."
Complete nonsense, of course, because the risk was being "redistributed" to a chain of counterparties who were all leveraged, and all hedging by palming off their "risk" by taking trades with other leveraged counterparties. At the end of the line was an empty bag. Lewis, who knows what scum bond traders and bond-trading shops are, nevertheless rose to the defense of this Saloman on steriods system, toting the Wall Street line because it gave him an opportunity to score a few naughty-language points against those mamby-pamby wussies in Davos. (I think Lewis has a secret shame issue regarding his art history major, but that's another kettle of psychofish..)
Lewis concluded that Bloomberg tour-de-force of ignorance by writing "Is perhaps the only point of standing in the snow and expressing your doubts to a television camera to prove that you are the sort of person whose doubts matter?"
Perhaps. But being the kind of person who rejected those doubts until it became clear in retrospect that they were right, and who now stands in front of television cameras purporting to be an expert on something he got spectacularly wrong at the time, well, that seems lot worse.
P.S. Michael Lewis is coming to Fool HQ this week to enlighten us. I wonder if guys like me -- who think that facts and motive matter more than a witty story -- are welcome...