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The Greatest Trade Ever
The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History
Gregory Zuckerman
read on February 1, 2011

This might be it for the crisis books. If I don't get tired of them soon I may just run out of books to read... Anyway, this one was great. It was almost entirely like Michael Lewis' The Big Short, but much better. I think I liked it more because it only briefly mentions Michael Burry, the extremely unlikable bi-polar asbergurs guy that also shorted mortgages. Ug, what a pill he was.

Anyway, this book (as you can deduce from the unnecessarily long subtitle) focused mainly on John Paulson, a hedge fund manager that bet the farm on the coming mortgage crisis. I'm not sure if it's all worth repeating here, but the story of how he came up with his trade is pretty compelling and Zuckerman turns it into a great narrative. Much like The Quants, throughout reading this book you can tell that there is something different about Paulson - some insane drive and ambition and intellect that makes it so clear that he pretty much deserves his billions, and everything else coming to him. He seems like a genius, in an effortless sort of way, but still works his ass off. A guy that makes a billion dollars and still comes into work the next day. 

Lastly, I'll just say that the book finishes up with a discussion of what he thinks his next trade will be - and he bluntly proclaims that he's all-in gold, that the dollar has been weakened by the fed and he sees a rush to gold in the coming year. I had to laugh, since about a month ago I began shorting it...

Author Bio:

Gregory Zuckerman is a Special Writer at The Wall Street Journal and a three-time winner of the Gerald Loeb award — the highest honor in business journalism. Greg is the author of “The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters,” a national bestseller published October 2014 by Portfolio/Penguin Press. The book describes how a few unlikely individuals created an American energy resurgence that brought OPEC to its knees. The Frackers was named among the best books of 2014 by The Financial Times and Forbes Magazine and the New York Financial Writers Association. Greg also wrote “The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History,” a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller published December 2010 by Crown Business/Random House. The book has been translated into 10 languages. In May 2016, Greg and his two sons published Rising Above: How 11 Athletes Overcame Challenges in their Youth to Become Stars,” a book for young readers and adults that describes the moving and remarkable stories of how various stars overcame imposing setbacks in their youth. The book was chosen by Scholastic Teacher magazine as a top recommendation for 2016. At the Journal, Greg writes about big financial firms, personalities and trades, hedge funds, the energy revolution and other investing and business topics. Previously, Greg was the lead writer of the widely read “Heard on the Street” column and covered the credit markets, among other beats. In 2015, Greg won the Loeb Award for a series of stories revealing discord between Bill Gross, founder of bond powerhouse Pimco, and others at the firm, including Mohamed El-Erian. The stories led to Mr. Gross’s surprise departure from Pimco. In 2012, Greg broke news about huge, disastrous trades by the J.P. Morgan trader nicknamed the “London Whale.” In 2007, Greg was part of a team that won the Gerald Loeb award for breaking news coverage of the collapse of hedge fund Amaranth Advisors and in 2003 he won the Loeb award for breaking news coverage of the demise of telecom provider WorldCom. Greg was part of a team that won the New York Press Club Journalism award in 2008. He was a finalist for the 2011 Gerald Loeb award for investigative news coverage of the insider trading scandal and a finalist for the 2008 Gerald Loeb award, for coverage of the mortgage meltdown. Greg appears regularly on CNBC, Fox Business, Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg Television and various television networks. He makes regular appearances on National Public Radio, BBC, ABC Radio, Bloomberg Radio and radio stations around the globe. Greg gives speeches to business groups on a variety of topics. Over the past year, he has spoken to groups in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, Calgary, Montreal and Niagara Falls. Greg joined the Journal in 1996 after writing about media companies for the New York Post. Previously, he was the managing editor of Mergers & Acquisitions Report, a newsletter published by Investment Dealers’ Digest. He graduated from Brandeis University in 1988, Magna Cum Laude. A graduate of Brandeis University, Greg lives with his wife and two sons in West Orange, N.J., where they enjoy the Yankees in the summer, root for the Giants in the fall, and reminisce about Linsanity in the winter.