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Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation Paperback – April 14, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (April 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439159874
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439159873
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Daniel Gross is the economics editor and a columnist at Yahoo! Finance. From 2007 through August 2010, Gross was a senior editor at Newsweek, where he wrote the "Contrary Indicator" column. During this time he also wrote a twice-weekly Moneybox column for Slate. Prior to joining Newsweek, he wrote the "Economic View" column in the New York Times/ Gross has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, C-SPAN, and on more than 35 radio programs, including NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross (no relation). He is the author of  Dumb Money, Pop!: Why Bubbles Are Great for the Economy, Forbes Greatest Business Stories of All Time; and Bull Run: Wall Street, the Democrats, and the New Politics of Personal Finance. He lives in Connecticut.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Raederwulf on March 6, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
Mr. Gross has given us a clear, non-technical account of our current financial crisis, credit lockdown and recession. It makes for lively reading as well, since many of the key players of this account are allowed to characterize themselves in their own words (quoted mostly in context). Mr. Gross falls just short of self-righteous indignation by reminding himself and us of the parts we played in enabling the players. There are enough facts and figures to refute the idea that somehow the people who did not make money were to blame for the excesses into which the money-makers were enticed. I do have two complaints about the story. First, there is a lack of discussion of the involvement of international credit markets connected with international trade - what I believe were the "canary in the mineshaft" - that dragged down central banks once counterparty trust was lost. Secondly, I accuse Mr. Gross of copping out in his concluding chapter. Following such a story of legal, ethical, and moral drama, I would expect the author to give us an account of the lessons he learned, and lessons we might carry away. However, he was gun-shy, and said as much, about making "predictions" about future events. The reader will have to write his or her own conclusions. For me, it was the old virtues of honesty, thriftiness and hard work. You cannot write a credit default swap on those. Other people will have other lessons.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By D. Rising on May 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
Gross has managed to write one of the most clearly stated, precise and condensed versions of the origins and nature of the current economic crisis currently on the market.

Gross is not interested in finding a ideologically motivated one-stop-shopping-style guilty party ("It's Clinton's fault!"). Instead, he concentrates on the mechanics of how things got to the point they are at now - and in a way easily accessible to the layperson, without sacrificing accuracy.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on November 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Recently I read a Newsweek column by Daniel Gross documenting that U.S. private employment today is less than in 2000, despite population having grown 9%. That bit of basic insight led me to read his "Dumb Money" about how the Ownership Society quickly degenerated into the Bailout Nation during the same time period. The book is short (101 paperback-sized pages), interesting (even entertaining), yet comprehensive, covering all the decade's financial 'stars' - Ben Bernanke - keeping interest rates low, continuing Greenspan's rosy forecasts), Christopher Cox (ineffectual SEC head), Alan Greenspan (keeping interest rates too low for too long, lobbying for deregulation, blindly following philosopher Ayn Rand instead of economic data and theorists), Edward Lambert (acquired K-Mart and Sears early in the decade, then spent $4.9 billion to buy back shares at an average $118 - now $70), Richard Fuld (named a #1 CEO by Institutional Investor magazine in 2006, received a $22 million bonus in 2007, and then watched the 28,000+ firm Lehman Brothers collapse in a market-terrorizing bankruptcy in 2008), Angelo Mozilo (making mortgages available to almost everyone in his pursuit of #1 market share), Henry Paulson (a latecomer to the crisis, he then created a bailout for the institutions that created the crisis), Robert Rubin (lobbyist for deregulation, Citibank board member while sailed into a major government rescue), John Thain (CEO NYSE from 2004-2007, paid $83,785,021 in 2007 - mostly by his not-yet employer Merrill Lynch, requested a $10 million 2008 bonus for 'saving' Merrill by selling it to Bank of America for $28 billion + $20 billion in government money, spent $1.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Terry on November 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very basic explanation of what caused the collapse of the financial system. Basic. The intent was not to provide all the financial rationale or details of what happened. The intent is to give a broad based overview of what caused the collapse. To completely understand it all in detail you would have to first be very experienced in this field and/or very financially literate (which most are not), and you would need to read tome after tome on the subject. But, if you have said, "Could someone just explain what happened?" then this is the book for you. It's not a class on economics or an in depth analysis of the psychology behind it all, or a textbook with citations and footnotes. This guy is just trying to explain to you "what happened." I believe that was his goal and I believe he achieved it successfully.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ilya Grigorik on February 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
Hindsight is always 20-20 and everything is always so obvious after the fact. Daniel Gross offers a concise view at the mechanics of the financial meltdown, which points out the root problems, how they developed, and the mania that ensued. Refreshingly, the author does not carry any political biases and instead focuses on the facts. If you're looking for a short and approachable summary of the meltdown, then this is it.

On the other hand, what makes this book so good as a summary, is also its weakness in the broader context of financial & market policy moving forward - I would be careful about drawing generalized conclusions based on the analysis.
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