The Big Short

by

Michael Lewis

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John Gutfreund Character Analysis

John Gutfreund used to be Michael Lewis’s boss at Salomon Brothers, and he (inadvertently) helped Lewis launch his career by inspiring his first book, Liar’s Poker. Though Lewis disapproves of many of the things Gutfreund has done to shape the financial industry, he can’t help but be fascinated by Gutfreund, particularly when they meet in person.

John Gutfreund Quotes in The Big Short

The The Big Short quotes below are all either spoken by John Gutfreund or refer to John Gutfreund . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Outsiders vs. Conformists  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W.W. Norton edition of The Big Short published in 2010.
Prologue Quotes

The willingness of a Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grown-ups remains a mystery to me to this day.

Related Characters: Michael Lewis (speaker), John Gutfreund , Steve Eisman, Ben Hockett
Page Number: xiii
Explanation and Analysis:
Epilogue Quotes

The changes were camouflage. They helped to distract outsiders from the truly profane event: the growing misalignment of interests between the people who trafficked in financial risk and the wider culture. The surface rippled, but down below, in the depths, the bonus pool remained undisturbed.

Related Characters: Michael Lewis (speaker), John Gutfreund
Page Number: 254
Explanation and Analysis:

Until that moment I hadn’t paid much attention to what he’d been eating. Now I saw he’d ordered the best thing in the house, this gorgeous, frothy confection of an earlier age. Who ever dreamed up the deviled egg? Who knew that a simple egg could be made so complicated, and yet so appealing? I reached over and took one. Something for nothing. It never loses its charm.

Related Characters: Michael Lewis (speaker), John Gutfreund
Page Number: 264
Explanation and Analysis:
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John Gutfreund Character Timeline in The Big Short

The timeline below shows where the character John Gutfreund appears in The Big Short. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Epilogue
Outsiders vs. Conformists  Theme Icon
Wall Street’s Culture of Overconfidence Theme Icon
The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
Pessimism vs. Optimism Theme Icon
Needless Complexity Theme Icon
...and Vinny are at St. Patrick’s, Lewis goes to lunch with his old boss, John Gutfreund. He hasn’t seen Gutfreund since quitting Wall Street, and in the time between then, Gutfreund... (full context)
Outsiders vs. Conformists  Theme Icon
The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
Needless Complexity Theme Icon
Gutfreund used to lie about not knowing Lewis, since his book Liar’s Poker caused Gutfreund public... (full context)
Outsiders vs. Conformists  Theme Icon
Wall Street’s Culture of Overconfidence Theme Icon
The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
Pessimism vs. Optimism Theme Icon
Needless Complexity Theme Icon
Gutfreund asks Lewis why he invited him to lunch. Lewis doesn’t want to tell the truth:... (full context)
Outsiders vs. Conformists  Theme Icon
Wall Street’s Culture of Overconfidence Theme Icon
The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
Pessimism vs. Optimism Theme Icon
Needless Complexity Theme Icon
Lewis asks Gutfreund how he feels in hindsight about his decision to turn Salomon Brothers from a partnership... (full context)
Outsiders vs. Conformists  Theme Icon
Wall Street’s Culture of Overconfidence Theme Icon
The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
Pessimism vs. Optimism Theme Icon
Needless Complexity Theme Icon
Lewis tells Gutfreund that he’s thinking of doing an anniversary edition of Liar’s Poker, now that the world... (full context)