During my group discussion today in class, we talked about the fictionalization of the people discussed in this book and how they were more character-like than real people. We found this to be a present theme in our reading of The Big Short so far. Specifically, Michael Lewis portrays Mike Burry as a hermit living in his basement that has not seen the light in years frequently. This creates the allusion that Mike Burry is not a real person, but rather a fictional character. This can result in the reader’s confusion of what is fictional versus what is not.
As a reader who is not knowledgeable about the housing crisis, I feel like I must decipher what is fiction and what is real. Michael Lewis tells the very interesting and intriguing stories of the people who knew that disaster would occur. He uses his storytelling skills to intrigue and grab the reader, which is definitely effective. I found the line by Mike Burry resonated with how I felt Lewis depicted the whole situation, “…this is $100 million. That’s an insane amount of money. And it just gets thrown around like it’s three-digits instead of nine” (Lewis 53). As I continue to read on, I find myself entering the world of these people and becoming numb to the insane amount of money. In the beginning, I would hear $15,000 and think, “Wow! That’s a crazy amount of money!” But now, I hear $2 million and think, “That’s all they’re willing to invest?”
I’ve come to the self-made conclusion that this is how the people who work in this field must feel, and perhaps that’s why the disaster that ensued happened; They lost sight of just how much value there is in a single dollar because they had multi-millions, some even billions. Throwing around figures does not give the mind a chance to fathom the significance of such a large sum of money. Perhaps that was Lewis’s point in telling the story of what happened in order to enter the economic world to sympathize with people like Burry.