A very few people did make that bet and won, making millions when the house of cards went down; Lewis's portraits of these winners feature folks who to the more conventional world looked simply odd. One of my favorites was Michael Burry who turned out to have Asperger's syndrome. It was his good fortune that the extraordinary ability to concentrate on narrow interests that goes with this condition happened, in his case, to be turned to the workings of the subprime mortgage market. Lewis reproduces some of Burry's thoughts on getting his diagnosis:
Unfortunately, understanding the potential to bet against the subprime market didn't give Burry the social skills to manage the big investors whose money he had attracted to his hedge fund. Though he made them a mint of money, they abandoned their abrasive manager and he came out of an unimaginable success embittered by the human problems he encountered amid success. Lewis found a great story in this guy's experience.
Even though events vindicated Burry, he's still hammering on the empowered experts, especially Alan Greenspan who couldn't see what he saw so clearly and whose job it was to to see it. Burry makes a good case.
Wall Street and wars ... that fits.