Michael Burry: “Inside the Doomsday Machine with the Outsider who Predicted and Profited from America’s Financial Armageddon”


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Watch video of Michael Burry speaking April 5 on “Missteps to Mayhem: Inside the Doomsday Machine with the Outsider who Predicted and Profited from America’s Financial Armageddon,” as part of the 2010-2011 Chancellor’s Lecture Series.

Burry, a Vanderbilt University School of Medicine alumnus profiled in author Michael Lewis’ bestselling book The Big Short, is best-known as the first financial analyst to predict America’s financial crisis.

In an op-ed he wrote for the New York Times in 2010, Burry says that he began worrying about the housing marketing in 2003 when “lenders first resurrected interest-only mortgages, loosening their credit standards to generate a greater volume of loans.” By 2005, he was convinced that the housing market would melt down causing “substantial damage to the economy.”

“Our leaders in Washington either willfully or ignorantly aided and abetted the bubble,” wrote Burry. “It did not have to be this way.”

Burry was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome as an adult, which he credits with helping him bring a unique perspective to the economy and financial markets. Lewis agrees, saying, “He has a great ability to concentrate in just raw data.”

Burry studied economics and pre-medical training at UCLA before enrolling at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He would continue his medical education as a resident at Stanford University Hospital before leaving after his third residency year to found Scion Capital.

Burry’s transition into the world of finance was eased by his years running a finance website that had been chosen as a Forbes “Best of the Web” winner in stock picking.  He also worked as a freelance journalist analyzing stocks for MSN Money in the early days of the internet’s commercialization.

The Chancellor’s Lecture Series brings to Vanderbilt and the wider Nashville community intellectuals who are shaping the world today. For more information, e-mail cls@vanderbilt.edy or call (615) 322-0885.