The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History

  • Title: The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History
  • Author: Gregory Zuckerman
  • ISBN: 9780385529914
  • Page: 113
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Greatest Trade Ever The Behind the Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History 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
    In 2006, 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 StIn 2006, 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 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 2007, the markets began to implode, bringing Paulson early profits, but also sparking efforts to rescue real estate and derail him By year s end, though, John Paulson had pulled off the greatest trade in financial history, earning than 15 billion for his firm a figure that dwarfed George Soros s billion dollar currency trade in 1992 Paulson made billions in 2008 by transforming his gutsy move Some of the underdog investors who attempted the daring trade also reaped fortunes 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.

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      Posted by:Gregory Zuckerman
      Published :2019-011-03T19:23:31+00:00

    About Gregory Zuckerman


    1. Gregory Zuckerman is a senior writer at the Wall Street Journal, where he has been a reporter for twelve years He pens the widely read Heard on the Street column and writes about hedge funds, investing, and other Wall Street topics 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.


    728 Comments


    1. This book was quite a disappointment.The author spends most of the book talking about whether someones mother grew up in a poor family, middle class, or rich. When they played tennis, went swimming, picked their nose.What vintage wine they had for dinner. Mostly gossip about how people behaved. At the beginning he gushed so much about how clever etc people were,it sounded like he was their mother.As the book progressed more than 90% of the details of personal behavior became unflattering. A bunc [...]

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    2. This was a superbly well written book that had a lot more depth than one would expect from a book on this subject. Zuckerman did well to extend the story beyond just John Paulson as there were also other characters that played a large role that added to the overall story. This is a classic tale of a few that defied conventional wisdom and went against the flow. At the time these individuals starting putting the pieces together for this trade of a lifetime, it was common knowledge that nationwide [...]

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    3. Bubbles tend to burst. Secondhand people will go down. Think independently.

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    4. Another story to come out of the financial crisis of 2008 with mind boggling numbers in losses and profits, irresponsibility, and shrewdness. John Pauison went from being a relatively unknown merger-arbitrage guy running $300 million dollars, on Wall Street, small fry to a whale who made the largest gain on investment in financial history. In 'The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind the Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History' by Gregory Zukerman readers get a [...]

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    5. Greatest trade ever:1. Ability to explain complex ideas in simple terms .2. A sales man's job starts when the customer says no.3. Merger arbitrage: long acquisition target and short acquirer. Low risk and high promise of potential fortune.4. Watch the down side , upside will take care of it.5. Charming and fun and showed interest in woman, which made woman love him.6. Never give up. Never give up.How much can we loose on this trade?7. Big upside yet limited down side.8. Even after concluding bet [...]

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    6. Zuckerman does a good job of taking a modern history lesson and turning into an interesting narrative. While the book could use some trimming due to some scenes that do not really drive the plot anywhere and therefore unnecessary, i suspect they are there to illustrate the level of research the author conducted in order to weave an accurate yet entertaining story. This is another book I would not have read if it had not been assigned to me, yet I found it engaging and entertaining providing pert [...]

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    7. Excellent examination of the financial meltdown of 2008-2009This is an excellent book for understanding the events leading up to the financial meltdown of 2008-2009, explaining the key individuals that foresaw the problems and the financial instruments that were the root of the problem.

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    8. A fascinating book greedy people who profited by the 2008 shattering of the economy. It was all about the money; none of these folks seemed to give a damn about the larger issues or the folks who got slammed.Hey, I got mine, so screw you.Zuckerman does a good job telling the tale; you just won't feel good about the big winners in it.

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    9. Great book. Unlike the Big Short this book deals with John Paulson and follows his ability to make the largest successful bet in financial history. Both books are great but if I had to pick one I would personally go with this one

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    10. Great book by a very good writer. He tell a very compelling story of a few professional investors who went against the main investment tide and bet against housing market. When housing market collapsed, they made billions. Zuckerman turns non-fiction in to a page turner.

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    11. Great stuffComplex topic explained clearly

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    12. Great read! A must-read for all traders. Love your art, know your market, learn new markets. All of that helps solidify your legacy. And, trading, is ultimately about sculpting your legacy.

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    13. This book was awesome. Did not expect that at all. Had the idea that it would be a long WSJ article in book form, but the author put life into the narrative and the exciting (ha) world of hedge fund management. The book outlines the back-story of John Paulson’s adroit navigation of the housing bubble and the staggering profits he earned for his fund investors. His bearish view on the housing market was diametrically opposed by the street, hence his ability to reap so much rewards for his presc [...]

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    14. The Greatest Trade Ever is an absorbing read; an adroit journalist, Zuckerman finds the drama in the figures and events as they apparently unfolded (a skill shared by documentarians and fiction writers, working at their best), avoids the trap of wealthy white guy porn and manages to explain credit default swaps in a concise way understandable to people who do NOT work in the securities trading industry (including and especially me). As Tina Brown's Daily Beast promised, it's pretty fascinating. [...]

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    15. avadhutrecommends.wordpress/Summary –The Greatest Trade Ever is a brilliant narrative of John Paulson’s sensational trade where his hedge fund bet against the market and made $20 Billion.Review –To be honest, I was bit apprehensive when I started with this book. This was 4th book in quick succession on the same topic for me and I feared it may not capture my interest. True, the story runs parallel to that of The Big Short, but The Greatest Trade Ever distinguishes itself with its dexterous [...]

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    16. I went into this book not expecting much. In terms of subject matter, it is somewhat of a carbon copy of Michael Lewis' 'The Big Short', which I enjoyed immensely. There is some overlap of people like the doctor turned investor, Michael Burry, and the Deutsche Bank Bond Trader, Greg Lippmann. But after that, both books cover different people who had the foresight, knowledge and courage to short the real estate bubble. Which book is better? I have to say this one. It may have been that my expecta [...]

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    17. Good, fun read. Zuckerman sketches out the trade without going too far into technical details, which is fine -- he throws enough light on the research process and the push back from investment banks for readers to understand how hard Paulson had to work to get this trade off the ground. It's got some nice biographical sketches of Paulson and various others who also took the same trade, though in less spectacular size. It also shows how important a fund's investor base is -- Paulson managed to ma [...]

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    18. One of the best non-fiction books I have read in some time, in terms of financial books I would say it rivals Liars Poker. Zuckerman took me on a wild ride through the most successful trade of all time. The ‘trade’ was actually a series of trades all based around shorting the housing market before and during the crash of 07-08. From the vantage point of John Paulson, his staff and several other key players across the country he showed how they all pulled it off. The surprising part is that P [...]

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    19. I'm very glad I took the extra effort required to finish this book! I have a much, much better understanding of the subprime market, 2007/2008 market & mortgage collapse, etc. I'm surprised that I hadn't heard this perspective on all the news docs I followed. Please realize that I have little financial training, but I do know numbers. Two things had troubled me about the collapse: --I saw it coming, why didn't others?--Why hadn't anyone done anything about it?Now, I see that many financial t [...]

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    20. Exceedingly well researched, well written account of the unbelievably few who foresaw the seemingly obvious sub-prime mortgage and real estate crash. The author does a very nice job of giving biographical detail of the various players and telling an engaging story. John Paulson and a few other clairvoyants bucked the popular belief that real estate never decreases in value, and remembered the classic random walk theory (the events of the past have no relevance of the price of a stock tomorrow) i [...]

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    21. This book was great. I am a major fan of financial literature told in a novel format and this book delivered. George Zuckerman was able to write in an engaging manner that kept my interest throughout the story and his creation of John Paulson as an almost "antihero" gave great context in what is still the most financially profitable trade for an individual in Wall Street history. My one critique is actually the one thing I also like about the book the most. It is written like a novel, and becaus [...]

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    22. This was a fantastic book!! In fact, I thought it was better than the title suggests, since the book managed to simultaneously describe trading on the potential collapse of the housing bubble by various parties, all done in slightly different ways. I also really appreciated the author's ability to explain complex financial products as succinctly and clearly as possible in very limited space. The only thing I wish would have been different was the relative lack of footnotes. How did the author ob [...]

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    23. I stumbled onto this book as an alternative to Michael Lewis' "The Big Short," which is not available for the kindle. Paulson's trades read like a who's who of the American financial collapse. The book is entertaining (so long as you weren't on the other side of these trades) but can be a bit difficult to follow at times as the author hops from Paulson to other like-minded investors and back again. If you are looking for the story of what went wrong then I would suggest something else (like This [...]

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    24. One of the most well-investigated and fascinating reads ever for me. A must-read if the world of stock markets fascinates you. This is the detailed story of how an industry underdog John Paulson along with his small 12 man hedge-fund firm made the trade of the century in gaining $20bn from the 2007 market downturn. The book is written from countless interviews the writer (Gregory Zuckerman) conducted with close associates of John as well as other industry insiders and whose-whos. Interviews of p [...]

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    25. A must-read for anyone fascinated by the financial markets; or who has experienced the adrenalin rush of watching their shares increase rapidly in value Greg Zuckerman writes brilliantly, telling the true story of John Paulson's sensational trade. Zuckerman captures the mounting tension as Paulson waits to see if his predictions come true - I'm sure most people who trade regularly would have closed their positions much sooner, happy with the double-digit returns; John Paulson demonstrated amazi [...]

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    26. I have read several Wall Street books: "Liar's Poker", "Barbarians at the Gate", "Rigged", "When Genious Failed" to name a few but The Greatest Trade Ever is my favorite so far. Just really well written and easy to follow and you dont have to know a lot about the world of high finance to understand how this guy John Paulson struck gold. It also paints an objective type view of Paulson and doesn't imply that he was a genious mastermind like other books in the genre and Zuckerman actually portrait [...]

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    27. The Greatest Trade Ever was a very interesting account of the lead up the housing collapse. The warnings of the approaching catastrophe were not hidden but surprisingly few people on Wall Street protected themselves. John Paulson recognized what was coming and found an investment that profited from the default of loans. My rudimentary understanding about the trade is that he bought insurance on blocks of loans that paid out if they defaulted. Who sold the insurance? The same banks that were givi [...]

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    28. Very interesting story and helpful to understand what happened with mortgages and housing. The book nicely outlines the path of multiple people who bet against housing and effectively highlights the difficulty in executing the trade well, even if you have conviction about the answer. The Author can at times try to create more drama and excitement where there is none by playing up banker stereotypes or overhyping personalities - but that is a relatively minor flaw. Definitely an enjoyable read.

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    29. This is essentially the story of John Paulson as well as other hedge fund managers who bet against the housing market around 2006-07. The Big Short deals with some of the smaller players who did well. This is mainly about Paulson, who was the biggest single winner. It starts slow but is a quick read after the first few chapters. If anything I would have preferred a bit more detail on how they went about the analysis of various markets, and a bit less detail about the fabulous lives of the rich a [...]

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    30. There was quite a lot of biographical detail on all the main "characters" in this book, which did keep me engaged and kept the story moving. I think it was a little too much detail at times, though. It was well written and the financial details were explained in layman's terms that made the trade easy to follow. I also thought the author did a good job creating suspense around the market movements and outcome of the trade for all the players.

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