The Big Short

by

Michael Lewis

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Vincent Daniel Character Analysis

Vincent “Vinny” Daniel is Eisman’s research guy at the hedge fund FrontPoint Partners and one of his most trusted coworkers. He hits it off with Eisman right away, despite the fact that Eisman comes from a rich family while Vinny is from a working-class area of Queens. Vinny grew up with the belief that if he ever wanted to go looking for real money, he’d find it in Manhattan. Partly because his father was murdered when he was still young, Vinny is suspicious and has a dark worldview—darker even than Eisman’s. He is one of the youngest at FrontPoint but plays an essential role, gathering data and investigating subprime mortgage lending in order to validate Eisman’s hunch that something is deeply wrong in the industry. Vinny is a sharp analyst who specializes in finding details that the wider market overlooks. He is skeptical, particularly when the investor Greg Lippman offers FrontPoint a deal (although he goes along with it eventually). By the time of the financial crash, Vinny and his coworkers have become fantastically wealthy from their short position, but Vinny is the most ambivalent in the group, wondering whether they actually played the system or if they just became a part of it.

Vincent Daniel Quotes in The Big Short

The The Big Short quotes below are all either spoken by Vincent Daniel or refer to Vincent Daniel. 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.
Chapter 3 Quotes

The least controversial thing to be said about Lippmann was that he was controversial. He wasn’t just a good bond trader, he was a great bond trader. He wasn’t cruel. He wasn’t even rude, at least not intentionally He simply evoked extreme feelings in others. A trader who worked near him for years referred to him as “the asshole known as Greg Lippmann.” When asked why, he said, “He took everything too far.”

Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:

The argument stopper was Lippmann’s one-man quantitative support team. His name was Eugene Xu, but to those who’d heard Lippmann’s pitch, he was generally spoken of as “Lippmann’s Chinese quant.” Xu was an analyst employed by Deutsche Bank, but Lippmann gave everyone the idea he kept him tied up to his Bloomberg terminal like a pet. A real Chinese guy—not even Chinese American—who apparently spoke no English, just numbers’ China had this national math competition, Lippmann told people, in which Eugene had finished second. In all of China. Eugene Xu was responsible for every piece of hard data in Lippmann’s presentation. Once Eugene was introduced into the equation, no one bothered Lippmann about his math or his data. As Lippmann put it, “How can a guy who can’t speak English lie?”

Related Characters: Michael Lewis (speaker), Greg Lippmann (speaker), Steve Eisman, Vincent Daniel, Daniel Moses , Eugene Xu
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

In his search for stock market investors he might terrify with his Doomsday scenario, Lippmann had made a lucky strike: He had stumbled onto a stock market investor who held an even darker view of the subprime mortgage market than he did. Eisman knew more about that market, its characters, and its depravities than anyone Lippmann had ever spoken with. If anyone would make a dramatic bet against subprime, he thought, it was Eisman—and so he was puzzled when Eisman didn’t do it. He was even more puzzled when, several months later, Eisman’s new head trader, Danny Moses, and his research guy, Vinny Daniels, asked him to come back in to explain it all over again.

Related Symbols: Bonds
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

He’d graduated from the University of Rhode Island, earned a business degree at Babson College, and spent most of his career working sleepy jobs at sleepy life insurance companies—but all that was in the past. He was newly, obviously rich. “He had this smirk, like, I know better,” said Danny. Danny didn’t know Wing Chau, but when he heard that he was the end buyer of subprime CDOs, he knew exactly who he was: the sucker. “The truth is that I didn’t really want to talk to him,” said Danny, “because I didn’t want to scare him.”

Related Characters: Michael Lewis (speaker), Daniel Moses (speaker), Steve Eisman, Vincent Daniel, Greg Lippmann, Wing Chau
Related Symbols: Bonds
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

It wasn’t Eisman who upset the tone in the room, but some kid in the back. He looked to be in his early twenties, and he was, like everyone else, punching on his BlackBerry the whole time Miller and Eisman spoke. “Mr. Miller,” he said. “From the time you started talking, Bear Stearns stock has fallen more than twenty points. Would you buy more now?”

Miller looked stunned. “He clearly had no idea what had happened,” said Vinny. “He just said, ‘Yeah, sure, I’d buy more here.’”

After that, the men in the room rushed for the exits, apparently to sell their shares in Bear Stearns. By the time Alan Greenspan arrived to speak, there was hardly anyone who cared to hear what he had to say. The audience was gone. By Monday, Bear Stearns was of course gone, too, sold to J.P. Morgan for $2 a share.”

Page Number: 235
Explanation and Analysis:
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Vincent Daniel Character Timeline in The Big Short

The timeline below shows where the character Vincent Daniel appears in The Big Short. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Outsiders vs. Conformists  Theme Icon
Needless Complexity Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Vincent Daniel grew up in Queens without the same advantages that Eisman had. After learning that the... (full context)
Outsiders vs. Conformists  Theme Icon
Wall Street’s Culture of Overconfidence Theme Icon
The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
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Vinny concludes that Wall Street firms are “black boxes,” and that it’s not even possible for... (full context)
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Vinny later finds out that Eisman never called back because he’d just learned that his firstborn... (full context)
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The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
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Vinny doesn’t know Eisman’s whole story when he starts work—he just knows that Eisman seems different... (full context)
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The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
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Vinny teaches himself about mortgage-backed securities and finds that Eisman’s intuition is right: there’s something rotten... (full context)
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Wall Street’s Culture of Overconfidence Theme Icon
The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
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Vinny first notices that lots of people in the “manufactured housing” (mobile home) sector are prepaying... (full context)
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The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
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Ultimately, Vinny takes six months to sort through all the data about subprime mortgage loans. He reports... (full context)
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Eisman’s report creates a “shitstorm,” according to Vinny, and this is exactly what Eisman wants. His report comes in 1997, during an economic... (full context)
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Eisman’s unusual style attracts a certain type of person. Vinny comes to FrontPoint Partners right away. Porter Collins, a former Olympic oarsman who previously worked... (full context)
Chapter 3
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The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
Pessimism vs. Optimism Theme Icon
...2006, Greg Lippmann shows up in the conference room of Steve Eisman’s hedge fund, where Vincent Daniel is also present. They treat Lippmann with suspicion, but Lippmann is a slick talker who... (full context)
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The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
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Though Vinny remains suspicious, surprisingly, Eisman seems very interested. He asks questions but ultimately has no problem... (full context)
Chapter 4
Outsiders vs. Conformists  Theme Icon
Wall Street’s Culture of Overconfidence Theme Icon
The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
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...At first, Eisman doesn’t take the bet. Later, Danny Moses (Eisman’s new head trader) and Vinny Daniels call Lippmann back and ask him to explain everything all over again. Danny and... (full context)
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Wall Street’s Culture of Overconfidence Theme Icon
The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
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Finally, Eisman makes a deal with Lippmann. He, Danny, and Vinny remain skeptical of the deal, so Vinny and Danny fly down to Miami to investigate... (full context)
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The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
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...job is to game the rating agencies. They set out to learn more. Danny and Vinny speak to a woman at Moody’s who answers some of their questions. They find out... (full context)
Chapter 6
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After golf, Eisman, Vinny and Danny go to a dinner hosted by Deutsche Bank—an idea suggested to them by... (full context)
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The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
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...is long on bonds). Chau is “newly, obviously rich” and keeps smirking the whole time. Vinny and Danny think Chau is a fool, but they worry that Eisman will talk too... (full context)
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Wall Street’s Culture of Overconfidence Theme Icon
The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
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...trouble at speeches around the convention, asking pointed questions when it isn’t even Q&A time. Vinny and Danny agree with him but wish he would keep to himself, to avoid letting... (full context)
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...to make it on Wall Street. His opinions toward the bond market begin to solidify. Vinny describes this as the moment where the group realizes the whole market is basically a... (full context)
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After leaving Las Vegas, Eisman, Danny, and Vinny increase their subprime short position from $300 million to $550 million, overwhelming their portfolio of... (full context)
Chapter 8
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The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
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...profit: it includes Greg Lippmann, but it leaves out Eisman, Danny, Charlie, Jamie, Ben, and Vinny, as well as Burry. Burry is frustrated that his investors don’t acknowledge his good work... (full context)
Chapter 10
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The Problems with Capitalism  Theme Icon
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...doubled the size of their fund, from $700 million to $1.5 billion. Both Danny and Vinny want to realize their profits and get out—partly because they still don’t trust Lippmann, even... (full context)
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At the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral with his partners Vinny and Danny, Eisman considers how he wants to be, now that he is no longer... (full context)
Epilogue
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At about the same time that Eisman, Danny, and Vinny are at St. Patrick’s, Lewis goes to lunch with his old boss, John Gutfreund. He... (full context)