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Behind the Housing Crash: Confessions from an Insider Paperback – September 3, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is the greatest triumph of a trillion dollar "I Told You So." Some of us, in our day to day lives, will successfully predict some mundane event. A friend keeps dating the wrong girl and getting his heart broken, a Democrat proposes to raise taxes, Spike Lee produces another movie no one watches.
Few of us will ever get the honor of seeing an entire industry fail simply because they didn't take our advice. Aaron Clarey, for the rest of his life, will be able to say "I was there when banks were about to crash, and I warned them."
As an analyst for several banks and credit unions in the Twins Cities leading up to the housing bubble, Clarey was the one who would run the numbers on housing loan proposals. It was here Clarey learned of and warned about the coming housing crash, much to the chagrin of his superiors.
In his book, Clarey creates a narrative of his career in the banking industry as he moves from job to job in search of common sense. Idiot managers, thoughtless MBAs, creepy developers, greedy bankers, fraudulent brokers, all get in his way. In the end, Clarey shows how the fundamentals of banking were ignored at every level throughout the entire economy and how taxpayers ended up footing a $1 trillion bill.
The book is filled with graphs and charts showing exactly how the bubble was formed and how it burst. At times the book reads quickly as a novel, an entertaining one.Read more ›
The author, Aaron Clarey, is an economics and finance consultant and teacher who worked for nine years at various banks and credit unions in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area of Minnesota. While he cites a large number of facts and figures regarding general trends in lending, home ownership, and home finances, he also writes about his own personal experiences while working in that field. This creates a very readable balance between general theory and personal anecdote. His writing style is conversational with more than a bit of humor. In the book, Clarey discusses some of the historical foundations for the current housing and banking problems, the sociological factors, historical trends, and how all those played out on a large and small scale in the banking, home-building and home-buying industries.
But there are two things which make the book a standout (and one that I will likely recommend to a number of friends and have already decided to give to one friend as a very late Christmas gift):
1) There is an amazing amount of very useful detail about the inner workings of the banking system, or at least how it is supposed to work.Read more ›
Aaron tackles some of the more technical aspects of the economy he dealt with as an analyst during the boom, and it is interspersed with horrifying/hilarious anecdotes. These tales mostly pertain to the reckless and unaccountable greed practiced by bankers and real estate developers.
Reading a macro-heavy book about the Housing Crash is worth your time, but if you're reading this review you probably already have your fill... reading Aaron Clarey's book on it will give you a great idea of the insanity he was nearly driven to as he was bucked, bullied and ignored for simply saying that a man under investigation by the FBI shouldn't be granted a loan, or that, with four times the houses as buyers on the market, that his bank ought not finance any more.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book was an excellent portrayal of the crazy actions by the middle ranking banks in the run up to the crash. Read morePublished on December 21, 2012 by Drew Donaldson
Aaron Clarey writes in a style that is very accessible. This is geared to probably a 10th grade level - and that is good, in that anyone should be able to follow and understand... Read morePublished on January 9, 2012 by R. Bellows
If you would like to know how in the world bankers and others did not see the housing crash coming like a freight train on greased rails! You need to read this book. Read morePublished on December 21, 2009 by R. J. Easton
I originally bought the book, Behind the Housing Crash because I met the author and I thought, "Hmm, I know someone who wrote a book, I should be supportive and buy it. Read morePublished on October 6, 2009 by Rachel T
Immensely enjoyed this book and found myself not able to put it down at times. Clarey is very knowledgeable on economics and the housing crash and delightfully witty as he regales... Read morePublished on October 4, 2009 by Natasha
Aaron is a very bright man. However, like most people, Aaron sees the world through rose-tinted lenses. Read morePublished on September 17, 2009 by RonPaulTroll
Mr. Clarey's book is best described by what's on it's cover: an insider's confession of the factors behind the housing crash. Read morePublished on January 24, 2009 by R. Miller
This insider's view of the process and how dysfunctional it is lays bare the reason our banking system is falling apart. Read morePublished on December 29, 2008 by R. J. Winter