Monday, Mar. 07, 2011

The Big Picture

Barry Ritholtz, the guy who runs the Big Picture, once ate off my plate. In public. Without asking permission. The fact that everyone there (including yours truly) was amused rather than offended says a great deal about him.

Both in person and in writing, Barry, a money manager, is larger than life, carrying himself with a bit of Jovian swagger (from his comments policy: "Fear my wrath, mortals!"). But his finely tuned sense of humor and his astute observations mean that his irreverent jibes do an artful job of taking down misguided pundits, industry mouthpieces and intellectually captured public officials. Barry can also draw on his legal training to dissect conventional wisdom he deems to be misguided (like the widely held view that the SEC's suit against Goldman was weak).

The site's wide-ranging posts, which include pieces by other financial-markets professionals, provide quick analyses of fresh economic releases and breaking news. But the Big Picture, true to its branding, goes beyond being an important resource for stock jockeys. His policy forays include attacking the argument that the Community Reinvestment Act was responsible for the housing bubble. And he also shares intelligence about his personal passions, including jazz, tech gadgets and luxury cars.

Yves Smith is the pseudonym of the author of the book ECONned and the creator of the blog Naked Capitalism.