Customer Reviews: Other People's Money: The Corporate Mugging of America
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on September 28, 2004
Other People's Money is a suspenseful, smart, compulsively readable account of the outrageous deceptions and monumental malfeasance of a number of high-flying corporations and the ego-driven executives who brought them to ruin ... along with the pensions, jobs and lives of thousands of American workers. Scarier still, the author convincingly argues that the reforms designed to prevent a recurrence of these scandalous doings are hopelessly inadequate to the task.

Written by a Wall Street insider (who happens to be -- surprise! surprise! -- a terrific writer), this gripping book teases apart the tangled relationships among corporations, Wall Street and government regulators. Despite the fact that it's exceedingly thorough and well documented, the book is never dull or dry. The author's passion and wit come through on every page.

Other People's Money is a "must-read" book ... and the sooner the better. It should absolutely be read by November 2!
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on March 14, 2010
First of all, this book is extremely well-written, easy to follow and learn from.

Second, your politics shouldn't make any difference. Although the author is a "progressive" or liberal, her journalism is immaculate, and I say this as a part-time, free-lance editor. I can substantiate her references on Enron from the likes of Kurt Eichenwald, "Conspiracy of Fools." I also reviewed this book. All I can say about any political message, referring to other reviewers, is that if you don't see the value of this book then you're probably part of the runaway corruption rotting away at America. Just go away -- please!

Ms. Prins can speak volumes of her experience at Goldman Sachs. And, what she has to say should be heard. She reviews of the unraveling of Glass-Steagall and other protections, the greed and corruption of corporations and banking --- and mind you, that was back in 2004:

"Gary Winnick of Global Crossing said he'd give back $25 million to help his workers, who lost $275 million and of whom 9,000 were laid off."

"In the real world, when someone steals a TV, returning the antennae doesn't get him off the hook, but in the world of corporate executive cash-outs, it seems as if an expression of remorse on the Senate floor is all it takes."

The author, if she has an agenda, it is for regulation improvements that have a possibility of curbing the corruption:

"Corporations need independent boards of directors --- ones with no intertwined client relationships, no ex-government officials on boards of companies that directly benefit from their legislation. Corporate boards should include public seats as well as consumer groups." (Why not, our 401Ks pay for the lavish benefits to these corporate officials?)
Ms. Prins goes into detail on the growth and flaws of the super-banks. These giants have become sacred cows for every administration since Washington road a carriage to his inauguration. During the 2002 collapse she described the common practice of repaying old debt with new debt:

"These companies (US corporations) were so big and unwieldy that it seemed like creating more debt was the only way to keep them afloat. This is why the supermarket (super) banks are more exposed to the corporate merger downturn than midsized or small banks; they depend on a booming stock market and endless growth to give them business." (In other words, big and stupid goes together. Large corporations led by greedy idiots working hand-in-hand with greedy, careless bankers. Boy that sounds like a formula for success!)

Small and medium banks, often run more shrewdly, don't have the balance sheet for greedy corporations like Enron, Global Crossing, Tyco and World Com. "Ironically, these smaller institutions pay a proportionally larger insurance premium to the FDIC to back their investor deposits than do the larger banks, which are more reckless with their individual customer's money."

It's information like this that makes this book a valuable read. I strongly recommend it for those who honestly want to see our economy and society survive.

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on October 30, 2004
What great journalism is supposed to do, challenge the powerful and succinctly, clear lay out complex issues to explain the motivations at their core. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to see how the free market system has been overrun by charlatans and criminals whose hands were held by government and who all the while claimed to be its champions.
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on January 31, 2008
This is a good skewering of the financial world from a woman who was a part of it (Prins is a former director at legendary Goldman Sachs, and, last time I checked, now works for a progressive think tank). My politics aren't nearly as economically left wing as Prins. I tend to think high finance is generally a good thing, but now, especially with the implosion of the of the housing market, takign a hard look at the way this money is made is important.

In this book, Prins focuses on what happened after the deregulation of the energy markets, and how that helped people like Enron do the nasty things they did. The book is a little simplistic in its rendering of good guys and bad guys, but at the end of the day, it is nice to see a left wing critque of wall street done in such a smart way.
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on July 20, 2015
For those interested in how the "real" world of finance works, this is a good source; well written and informative. It might make an idealistic individual a bit depressed but a good dose of reality is overall very healthy.
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on April 19, 2015
Amazing write up on the intricacies of corporations and the complex nature of the stock market.This gives an idea of the twilight zone nature of the market.
Question?How do we deal with this.
All involved have something to gain.
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on October 3, 2004
Nomi Prins is the meteorologist of the Market Crash of 2002. She analyzes the "perfect storm" created by deregulation in banking, energy and telecom markets; combined with the manipulation of political power, and the avarice and greed of key executives in these industries.

Want to know whose money? OURS!
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on December 20, 2008
This is one of the best clear, perceptive and comprehensive primers on the dynamics of the kind of common financial shenanigans that led to the current crisis. The author is vastly knowledgeable and communicates her understandings very well.
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on January 29, 2015
haven't finished reading it yet though.
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on August 28, 2010
In response to J. Ludwig -- "who happens to be -- surprise! surprise! -- a terrific writer" -- this book is not well written at all. As another reviewer has pointed out, it is in need of serious editing. This became obvious to me in the first few pages of the introduction. I found myself reading and re-reading the same sentence several times before finally realizing it really made no sense, though a limited financial vocabulary might lead you to second-guess yourself. Here are some examples early in the book:

"This doesn't mean that the class-action lawsuits filed on behalf of groups of investors against Enron, WorldCom, and other similar companies are not without merit. They absolutely are." (p. 36) Ok, let's review: doesn't mean...not without...absolutely are. So the conclusion is actually that the lawsuits have NO merit!

"It's a similar situation in the debt capital markets, in which corporations lend money to bond issuers and institutional investors, who buy those bonds in exchange for receiving interest over a number of years" (p. 30) First of all, "THOSE bonds"? Which bonds? The corporations are making loans to bond issuers AND institutional investors...I thought the corporations were the bond issuers??

Not only is Nomi not an entirely coherent writer, she is also not at all original--neither in style/idiom nor perspective. A typical left-leaning corporate critique you will read anywhere. The only unique value her book provides is the insider take on top ibanks that she leads off with (the Goldman christmas party). Unfortunately this is a minor component of the book.

And you needn't read any farther than the preface to get a sense for her perspective: "As an activist in London, I protested against the WTO...Shell...Then I'd return to my desk at Bear Stearns...and produce investment ideas for institutional investors."

First, she strikes me as a little too enchanted by the contradiction of these spheres which are not necessarily contradictory. Second, she seems a little too enchanted by her admission into the MD crowd at GS. If she was already enlightened at Bear Stearns, why did the outrage require admission to Goldman's inner circle to boil over? Nomi wants it all--Goldman's seal of approval, the third world's seal of approval, the journalist's seal of approval, YOUR seal of approval.
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