In The Big Short, Michael Lewis (also author of Liar’s Poker and my fave Moneyball) explains in great – and compelling – detail how the financial crisis came to be. It is an outsider’s insider look at how the financial industry didn’t even stop to look at what it was creating, and then let those who did take a close look bet against them without even asking, “Why?”
You see all the players from the days you were in high school…same old story of the regular kids wanting to hang with the popular kids, so they don’t question the bad behavior required to do so…or maybe you’ve seen it at work where the bullying boss creates an atmosphere where everyone is afraid to stick their neck out…the urge to belong and the fear of looking like you’re the stupid one consistently join together throughout history to create an atmosphere where good people do nothing.
After reading The Big Short (BS) on the heels of From Good to Great (G2G), I am determined to ask more questions and look the fool. Not that I can help the second half of that equation. In G2G, one of the key determining factors of success was that the CEO – or boss – was not flamboyant and that the company would run well even if he left. In BS, all of the bosses were flamboyant and no department, let alone company, could last a minute without them.
The leaders of the bond departments in the investment institutions purposely made their products confusing so no one would question them…unfortunately, they eventually didn’t understand the products themselves. So was it evil? Or stupidity? My vote is stupidity. My fear is that they will have no repercussions and this – or something shockingly similar – will happen again, and very soon…or worse, that a regulatory overreaction will tighten up credit and the flow of our currency.
So what does all of this have to do with being an Accidental Entrepreneur? Wellllll, I am having a hard time with getting credit, despite an 813 FICO score and assets to back the loan…I have to have my own biz for two tax cycles…not to mention the hard time I’m having with landing gigs with companies that are complaining about a lack of both customers and credit, which lead to a lack of cash to pay me!
It just seems like people who do the wrong things impact those of us who are doing the right things, and they don’t seem to pay for it…in fact, I seem to be paying for it! Very frustrating.
However, after reading BS (pun intended) and other books, I’ve truly come to the conclusion that we all need to stop worrying about looking the fool and asking questions when things don’t seem right…because they probably aren’t.
I HIGHLY recommend The Big Short and will reiterate my recommendation of Good to Great. I also recommend asking more questions.