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Origins of the Crash: The Great Bubble and Its Undoing Paperback – December 28, 2004
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I know of no book that touches on so many subjects including:
-Retirement money moving into mutual funds
-LBOs creating pressure on CEOs to get their stock prices up
-Leveraging of public companies to improve stock price
-The rise of free market economics as a policy influence
-401(k) plans creating a chase for fast results
-CEO stock options rising through the roof
-Michael Jensen and Joel Stern providing arguments in favor of excessive payments to executives
-Rise of the CFO as a "profit engineer" to produce most of company earnings results
-Lack of e.p.s. hit for stock options
-CEO pay skyrockets in the absence of performance due to lax consultants and boards
-New stock options being granted after stocks drop
-Cozy boards that inappropriately keep CEOs in place
-Managed earnings (especially by GE and Coca-Cola)
-Special Purpose Vehicles (to keep losses and debt hidden from investors)
-Security analysts having conflicts of interest
-SEC didn't do enough
-Accounting firms have conflicts of interest
-Derivatives are too unregulated
-Too much money to Venture Capital funds
-Pro forma earnings
-Overinvestment in telecommunications
-Unrealistic expectations for the Internet and Internet companies
-Fraud by Enron, WorldCom and others.
Mr.Read more ›
That being said it is a somewhat ironic marketing tactic for Penguin to use n this particular case (but one which I heartily encourage, by the way) since Lowenstein's main theme is the mischief arising from conflicts of interest suffered by research analysts when covering the stocks of companies to whom their firms are pitching for investment banking business.
Be that as it may, I've disclosed it now, so you're warned.
Origins of the Crash covers much the same ground as Frank Partnoy's Infectious Greed and John Cassidy's Dot Con. As usual, Partnoy can't resist hopping on his moral high-horse, or mentioning 10+ year old derivatives scandals that have nothing to do at all with the recent market turmoil; Cassidy is more measured but restricts himself very much to the Dot Com phenomenon, adding an interesting history of the internet and computers in finance.
Lowenstein manages deals with the spinning, laddering and corporate governance scandals of the early part of this decade, but as many of the reviewers here have noted, doesn't really add much that you wouldn't know had you been reading the papers for the last few years.
Also, as he was with his book on LTCM, he is good at wisdom after the fact and retains a weakness for the cute aphorism, though he is more circumspect with it here and doesn't allow the neat turn of phrase to undermine his argument in quite the same way.Read more ›
I know that Lowenstein has many loyal readers who would happily declare "brilliant" anything he writes. I like his stuff too, usually. But this book is just not up to standards. I know he could do better if he tried, but he just didn't do so here. And that's the harsh but accurate truth about this book.
I am not sure how much new reporting there is in this book... much of it is pulling together various stories that have been widely reported on. But it is put together artfully into a compelling narrative. It was fascinating to watch Michael Jensen, who was one of the earliest advocates of the use of stock options, eventually turn on his own creation. The section on Enron, while obviously not as extensive as some of the works devoted to the subject, is one of the best condensed accounts I have seen.
I do have a few quibbles with the book though. First, it winds up being something of a polemic. Reading Mr.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the most concise and complete description I've yet seen of what's happened with the markets and the economy in the latter half of the 20th century. Read morePublished on July 15, 2013 by Wikileaker
Im sure the players that caused the mess are better off than they were before but I wanted to read about the actions that lead to my less monied life and the author made it... Read morePublished on January 11, 2013 by J. Broughton
Roger Lowenstein's 2004 book provides an excellent overview of the "Great Bubble" (i.e., the stock market boom of the 1990s, and its inevitable crash). Read morePublished on April 9, 2012 by Steven H Propp
Lowenstein provide a well written and interesting account of the bubble and some of the factors causing the stock market bubble in the mid to late 1990s. Read morePublished on October 31, 2010 by Yoda
The author has done an admirable job in identifying the main, root cause of recessions and depressions. Read morePublished on March 26, 2009 by Michael Emmett Brady
This is a must read for the financially trying times we currently live thru.Even though the book is a couple of years old it is still current. Read morePublished on October 2, 2008 by Gary J. Demaria
I had an extremely favorable impression of Lowenstein's books, having gone through the classic "When Genius Failed" as well as "Buffett". Read morePublished on May 11, 2008 by Amazon Customer
During the 2000-2002 time period, I lost a large portion of my retirement in the stock market. Painful as it may be, I now know why I lost all that money after reading the book.Published on December 29, 2007 by Gene P. Louie