The Big Short Billionaire Michael Lewis Missed

Published on
February 7th, 2020
59 minutes

What Happens When “Dry Powder” Meets Liquid Markets?

The Big Short Billionaire Michael Lewis Missed

The Interview ·
Featuring Jeff Greene

Published on: February 7th, 2020 • Duration: 59 minutes

Billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene built his fortune with a lifetime of hustle and no partners. In this interview with Raoul Pal, Greene explains how he transformed himself from a traveling circus ticket salesman to an investment titan putting on billion-dollar credit default swap trades. What began as a hedge turned into the trade of a lifetime when Greene astutely observed that shorting mortgage backed securities was a no-doubter in his first foray with derivatives. Greene also touches on his unique career path, his market outlook for a handful of asset classes, and the philanthropic endeavors that now dominate his focus. Filmed on January 23, in West Palm Beach, Florida.



  • MB
    Michael B.
    23 February 2020 @ 23:46
    Good grief, I almost didn't watch this interview. What a great interview of an amazing person.
  • sc
    shaun c.
    23 February 2020 @ 20:05
    Listened to a few of these... easily my favorite personality. thx for sharing Jeff.
  • AB
    Andrew B.
    22 February 2020 @ 05:30
    Fabulous. Eloquent but so so so simple in many ways.
  • JY
    James Y.
    19 February 2020 @ 11:25
    Sounds like he completely dis intermediated John Paulson on the subprime mortgage trade...I like him ;)
  • MC
    Michael C.
    18 February 2020 @ 09:47
    Inspiring and insightful interview. Thank you Michael and Raoul for this candid conversation.
    • MC
      Michael C.
      18 February 2020 @ 09:49
      My apologies ... Jeff & Raoul.
  • PG
    Paul G.
    14 February 2020 @ 06:43
    Maybe the Dems found their best person for the candidacy
  • TE
    Thomas E.
    13 February 2020 @ 22:35
    Great appreciation for a guy who went from selling circus tickets to becoming a real estate mogul. I hope I can a fraction of his success.
  • HH
    HODL H.
    11 February 2020 @ 19:47
    We will figure out how to deal with wealth divide, just don’t take my money. I raise rents on people cuz I got in at just the right time, but it’s not my fault they can’t afford housing. Riding the asset inflation wave of real estate in California was a great trade, well done.
  • VS
    Vasil S.
    8 February 2020 @ 22:36
    Overall I felt this interview, whilst enjoyable due to Greene's charismatic nature, lacked depth and detail. Raoul had a difficult job trying to draw specific information out of someone who clearly loves the sound of their own voice (not necessarily meant in a negative way), though I do miss Grant's thought provoking questions and deep dive interview style. Also, interesting insight into the contemptuous thought process in an Investment Banker's mind; "I just had lunch with someone today from Merrill Lynch, he was telling me how he thinks all the smart people, they were just going to be fine because rates are low." Presumably, by 'smart people' he/she meant those with assets (lol).
    • BM
      Bryan M.
      9 February 2020 @ 04:56
      Agreed, Agreed & Agreed!
    • BT
      Brian T.
      11 February 2020 @ 11:09
      He may not have given a lot of stock picks, but I feel that he was most genuine about telling where he has HIS money-at this time- rather than some 'well if this then that'. He also came right out and said, "I think it will be lower in 3-5 years"= Rauol smile. It was clearly more of an interesting autobiography than a bunch of charts, but the speaker did NOT mince his words, admitted his mistakes, admitted that LUCK and relationships had a lot to do with his fortune-NOT just how great he was like some others seem to do. It was a pleasure to listen to, though NOT like some of the other more academic/market/strategy type of learning lectures.
  • SB
    Sergei B.
    11 February 2020 @ 01:47
    Such a great interview! Thanks Raoul for bringing us these awesome guests!
  • RM
    Rob M.
    10 February 2020 @ 19:40
    Very well done. Highlights the importance of understanding the cycle and the corresponding effects on wealth creation. Buffett handled the early 1970s in stocks well, Zell timed early 90s real estate vol well etc..Also Raoul- you mentioned Noam G quickly during interview. When is he in the interview seat?
  • AB
    Alex B.
    10 February 2020 @ 17:02
    I loved the interview. Please have him back again!
  • TT
    Trenton T.
    10 February 2020 @ 13:44
    Great story on how developing personal talents, decades of work, seizing opportunity, persistence, attention to risk and cultivating mutally beneficial personal relationships can pay big. Well done!
  • MT
    Matthew T.
    10 February 2020 @ 00:03
    What a fantastic interview. I enjoyed every minute. Jeff is a fascinating guest and I hope you have him back.
  • TM
    Timothy M.
    9 February 2020 @ 20:16
    Great interview RV! As a FL resident and a RE investor, I know of Jeff Greene. That said, I didn't know his background. He is a true American success story. I was impressed that he is invested in bank preferred stocks. He and Chris Whalen seem to be the only RV peeps in this space. These prefs are very safe 5% payers.
  • RN
    Ronny N.
    9 February 2020 @ 19:58
    Enjoyed this interview very much! Thank you :)
  • GG
    Gary G.
    9 February 2020 @ 19:00
  • JS
    Jason S.
    9 February 2020 @ 12:41
    Outstanding interview!!!!
  • RS
    Richard S.
    8 February 2020 @ 21:28
    Great interview...interesting perspectives and seemed like a nice guy - esp. like his comments on education. Wonder how he was back in his 30's and 40's across the deal table though!
  • HC
    Hahns C.
    8 February 2020 @ 21:27
    Raoul - well done! I enjoyed this interview!! It was one the best; I am a self funded real estate investor myself. We share many many of the same traits - my father was kicked to curb and died too soon, worked 2 jobs while earning my degrees, and also found myself on top of the world in 2006 only to end up upside down in short order in 2009 (by no fault of my own). However, with a lot of hard work and perseverance I am back with a good amount of dry powder. I aspire to do what Jeff has done in his life with wealth building and philanthropy. Thanks again for another inspirational interview. All the BEST!
  • RM
    Robert M.
    7 February 2020 @ 16:55
    To reiterate everyone else, great interview, great guy to listen. Some lessons here: 1. Cash is king, i.e. cash flow properties vs capital appreciation properties. 2. Bad luck with a bad market can cause you to lose everything, i.e. risk management. 3. Luck plays a big role in fortune building, i.e. Getty buying his building to give him investment capital again. 4. To become a billionaire, taking calculated risks is critical (that and a little luck with the direction of the market).
    • RM
      Robert M.
      7 February 2020 @ 16:58
      Should add, having cash on the sidelines is great when market opportunities arise.
    • FB
      Frank B.
      8 February 2020 @ 21:21
      He emphasized relationship building as another very important element.
  • FB
    Frank B.
    8 February 2020 @ 21:18
    Fantastic interview! Particularly liked the part about rising expectations over generations and competing now with other hungry nations.
  • PG
    Philippe G.
    8 February 2020 @ 21:10
    Great stuff. Love these interviews of interesting and unique people sprinkled here and there on RV!
  • AY
    Abhimanyu Y.
    8 February 2020 @ 20:32
    Great interview, refreshingly different and “real”. Learned a fair bit more about an asset class I usually gloss over.
  • MC
    Mike C.
    8 February 2020 @ 19:10
    A must watch for anybody whom owns R/E in Toronto. Tons of nuggets to parallel with what can tip an overheated market!!
  • TS
    Tim S.
    8 February 2020 @ 14:42
    Great interview. Seems like a humble guy, who stays aggressive, and has a well-balanced view of the world. Education, combined with the ability to utilize the learning, is a killer combo. Thanks guys!
  • FR
    Frank R.
    8 February 2020 @ 01:53
    You want to fix schools? You want to fix illiteracy? You want to fix the wealth gap so everyone has the same opportunity to become wealthy? You want to fix the divisiveness? Then you need to replace the broken foundation of our system. You're not going to fix our complicated social problems by putting a new layer of paint on the walls (philanthropy). Easy money creates a shaky foundation, anything that is built eventually comes crashing down or is of poor value. If you want a stable, production society, where everyone can prosper, you need hard money as the foundation. Bitcoin fixes this.
    • SS
      Simeon S.
      8 February 2020 @ 11:07
      I understand him. Looking at the political system in the US, it seems easier and more efficient to do something on your own than try to change the system.
  • UJ
    Ulf J.
    8 February 2020 @ 09:45
    I think this proves gold is undervalued, could cash be overvalued like Germany 1920s......... cash has been king many times but what about store cash in banks can it be like Cyprus. StockMarket could go up but a Black swan could also be tired and land somewhere. Thanks, Raul great interview
  • IO
    Igor O.
    8 February 2020 @ 09:07
    Grabbing your luck by the tail and riding it relentlessly. Well done Sir.
  • JE
    J E.
    7 February 2020 @ 20:53
    I’m just so jealous of those 70s triplex deals. My spreadsheet would blow a gasket if I put those numbers in. These deals are long gone. I only hope I can someday see something that good.
    • IO
      Igor O.
      8 February 2020 @ 09:04
      Commodities cycle?
  • LL
    Lukee L.
    8 February 2020 @ 00:28
    "I've just flown over from the Cayman islands" ha ha
    • RP
      Raoul P. | Founder
      8 February 2020 @ 04:08
  • MF
    Maryam F.
    8 February 2020 @ 00:12
    What a great interview, thanks Jeff and Raoul! Jeff’s story is inspiring and he oozes charm with a common sense appeal. No ego bombing, just a smart, charming hustler with heart.
  • JH
    Jesse H.
    7 February 2020 @ 22:25
    Love the last 10 min or so especially. What a fantastic guy and an interesting interview. Thanks, Jeff & Raoul!
  • TR
    Travis R.
    7 February 2020 @ 18:14
    Excellent interview. The consumer is in good shape. Debt service is the most important statistic. This doesnt take into account rising rents and falling home ownership.
  • GF
    Guangle F.
    7 February 2020 @ 17:22
    Really enjoyed the show, thanks !
  • AH
    Andreas H.
    7 February 2020 @ 17:02
    wonderfull interview!
  • RS
    Ryan S.
    7 February 2020 @ 16:22
    Wow, absolutely phenomenal interview. Very informative and inspiring. As a 27 y/o and new investor, I took quite a few insights from this. Looking forward to a crash so I can start buying up real estate myself. Thanks again for the work you do.
  • PG
    P G.
    7 February 2020 @ 14:02
    These interviews are the best.
  • RA
    Ryan A.
    7 February 2020 @ 12:58
    maybe best interview yet
  • PU
    Peter U.
    7 February 2020 @ 12:48
    great interview
  • BD
    Ben D.
    7 February 2020 @ 09:50
    phenomenal interview. always great to see that at the end of the day there is an implicit assurance that in the end. everything will work out so long as we are willing to look out for one another and work together in this American experiment.
  • JC
    Jack C.
    7 February 2020 @ 09:43
    Refreshingly candid discussions with an independent minded and street smart investor. It’s interesting Jeff mentioned with wage increases coming through, we may be in a mid cycle rather than late cycle. And with Fed now having explicitly stated they are willing to tolerate above 2% inflation to catch up on prior years, the party may just go on...