The Greatest Trade Ever: How John Paulson Bet Against the Markets and Made $20 Billion

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Paulson asked his banks to artificially inflate the supply. Nobody could make the pretense that he was acting in good faith. The book, which devotes no more than three pages to the scheme, remains sketchy about a lot of details. Who issued the CDOs? What were their names? Who sold the credit default swaps? This may make for a breezier narrative, but it points to the inherent limitations of books that recount private conversations. Sources like Paulson are clearly selective and self-serving in their recitation of facts. The utter lack of transparency in the markets for private label mortgage securitizations and credit default swaps.

The most important part of the story was what no one was talking about. The other part of the story that no one was talking about was an open secret: Everyone knew that subprime lenders aided and abetted mortgage fraud. After the scandal, his decisions on the committee, at least with regard to ethical concerns, were never challenged. Kaplan, of the old school, said he would approve the deal when his desk was clear. Coincidentally, subprime securitizations took off in a big way the next year. Tibman believes that as much as anything, what killed Lehman was Fuld's emasculation of the risk management function, which served as a moral compass.

Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. More specifically, Paulson asked his investment banks to create new issues of repackaged subprime mortgage securities, known as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, so that they could be sold to some suckers at close to par. 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

'Greatest Trade': How You Can Make $20 Billion

Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Learn more about Amazon Prime. In , hedge fund manager John Paulson realized something few others suspected--that the housing market and the value of subprime mortgages were grossly inflated and headed for a major fall. Paulson's background was in mergers and acquisitions, however, and he knew little about real estate or how to wager against housing.

He had spent a career as an also-ran on Wall Street. But Paulson was convinced this was his chance to make his mark. He just wasn't sure how to do it.


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Colleagues at investment banks scoffed at him and investors dismissed him. Even pros skeptical about housing shied away from the complicated derivative investments that Paulson was just learning about. But Paulson and a handful of renegade investors such as Jeffrey Greene and Michael Burry began to bet heavily against risky mortgages and precarious financial companies. Timing is everything, though. Initially, Paulson and the others lost tens of millions of dollars as real estate and stocks continued to soar. Rather than back down, however, Paulson redoubled his bets, putting his hedge fund and his reputation on the line.

In the summer of , the markets began to implode, bringing Paulson early profits, but also sparking efforts to rescue real estate and derail him.

The Moral Compass Missing From The Greatest Trade Ever | HuffPost

Paulson made billions more in by transforming his gutsy move. Some of the underdog investors who attempted the daring trade also reaped fortunes.

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But others who got the timing wrong met devastating failure, discovering that being early and right wasn't nearly enough. Written by the prizewinning reporter who broke the story in The Wall Street Journal , The Greatest Trade Ever is a superbly written, fast-paced, behind-the-scenes narrative of how a contrarian foresaw an escalating financial crisis--that outwitted Chuck Prince, Stanley O'Neal, Richard Fuld, and Wall Street's titans--to make financial history. Read more Read less.


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    The Moral Compass Missing From The Greatest Trade Ever

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    Read reviews that mention market zuckerman housing investors hedge mortgage crisis bubble cds fund credit estate michael bet funds business default fascinating players swaps. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. 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.

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    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 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.

    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.


    • John Paulson - Wikipedia.
    • 'Greatest Trade': How You Can Make $20 Billion - WSJ.
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    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 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.

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