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Past Due: The End of Easy Money and the Renewal of the American Economy Hardcover – September 15, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Based on seven years of reporting from over a dozen countries, writer Tom Wainwright takes you on an extraordinary journey into the business of being a drug lord. Learn more.

Editorial Reviews


“Peter S. Goodman is a reporter with a valuable thesis, reams of anecdotes and a habit of being in the right place at the right time. He puts these assets to work in a persuasive book on an all-too-familiar topic, Past Due: The End of Easy Money and the Renewal of the American Economy.”—Bloomberg News

“An authoritative account of events leading up to the current recession…. A must-read.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Peter S. Goodman brings a journalist’s savviness and skepticism to the stories of the people affected by the current economic crisis. Based on more than a decade of reporting in the United States and around the world, Past Due is a compelling and insightful read from one of the best economic correspondents in the country.”—Joseph E. Stiglitz, author of Making Globalization Work
“Peter Goodman has written a gripping tale of the current financial crisis and severe recession. He weaves together stories of individuals swept by the financial tsunami—who have lost jobs, homes, incomes, and wealth—with a broader analysis of the economic and financial excesses that led to the crisis.”—Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics, Stern School of Business, New York University, and chairman, RGE Monitor
“In Past Due, Peter Goodman displays a fine grasp of the big picture, but as few others can do, he illustrates it with dozens and dozens of personal stories of ordinary people who were caught in the fake economic upsurge of the 2000s, and who are now drowning in its backwash. He still manages to end on a hopeful note, pointing to potentially promising paths to a longer-term recovery.”—Charles R. Morris, author of The Trillion Dollar Meltdown
“America’s economic crisis has prompted much hand-wringing and recrimination but few clear-eyed, accessible examinations of the underlying problems. Goodman’s persuasive new book is such an examination—and a captivating story to boot. It should be read by everyone who wants to know what went wrong with our economy, how the reckoning has affected our companies and our workers, and how we can get our country back on track.”—Jacob S. Hacker, professor of political science, Yale University, and author, The Great Risk Shift
“Peter S. Goodman is a reporter’s reporter—relentless, skeptical, fair, energetic, and eager to see things for himself. His instinct for the big story carried him for a decade through the landscape of our current economic crisis—the Internet bubble of Silicon Valley, China’s roaring but unbalanced economy, and the upended American heartland. Past Due is a timely, deeply reported and clarifying book.”—Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars

About the Author

Peter S. Goodman is the national economics correspondent for The New York Times and a contributor to the paper’s groundbreaking fall 2008 series, “The Reckoning.” Previously, he covered the Internet bubble and bust as The Washington Post’s telecommunications reporter, and served as the Post’s China-based Asian economics correspondent. He lives in New York City.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805089802
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805089806
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,533,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter S. Goodman is the executive business editor of the Huffington Post Media Group. He was previously the national economic correspondent for The New York Times, a role in which he was among the earliest experts to warn that the nation was headed for a precipitous economic downturn. His coverage of the orgins of the financial crisis of 2008 was part of "The Reckoning," a Times' series that garnered a Gerald Loeb award--the so-called Pulitzer of business and economic reporting.

Goodman previously spent a decade at the Washington Post--as the newspaper's Shanghai-based Asian economic correspondent from 2001 through 2006; before that covering the technology bubble as the the telecommunications writer. He began his career as a freelancer in Southeast Asia, where he chronicled the civil war in Cambodia, the emergence of market-embracing reforms in Vietnam, and the struggle for independence in East Timor.

Goodman is a graduate of Reed College, where he majored in political science, and the University of California at Berkeley, where he gained an M.A. in Vietnamese history.

He lives in Brooklyn.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Goodman has written a first-class book not just on the economy and its myriad troubles, but also the American psyche and its endless, often irrational and troubling belief in the quick fix fueled by banks, credit card companies, home builders and politicians of all stripes. The profiles of ordinary Americans swept up in the toxic financial stew known as the dot com boom and housing bubble makes this book unique and uniquely frightening. Goodman ties it together with thoughtful analysis and contextual history. Very readable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter S. Goodman has done the almost impossible: He's made the origins of the global financial collapse comprehensible and he's done so without forgetting that it is individual human beings who have been most devastated by the complex tangle of motives that created the crisis. It's that blending of Goodman's incisive, expert understanding of international economics with his ability to put a human face to the disaster that makes "Past Due" such a timely and important book. I can't recommend it more highly.
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Format: Hardcover
If you enjoyed This American Life's "Giant Pool of Money," you'll love this book. It took this reader gently through the questions and answers of "what the heck happened!?!"

If you're anything like me, you know that the financial meltdown is one of the most important events of this generation, but you've despaired of really understanding it. Mostly because the reporting all seems so damn boring! Well, this book is good news because it's actually an interesting read. As in: I didn't have to force myself to read it because I thought I "should." Instead, I found myself actually enjoying reading about the economy.

Part of the magic is that the author uses real stories of real people. The stories are compelling, and the author is a good storyteller, so it ends up being really entertaining. And then, almost without realizing it, you find that you understand what actually happened, and maybe even some of the lessons to be learned, and how to move forward.


It will give you the flavor of the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, the positives - yes, the book is well written overall, with clear explanations of many things like credit default swaps (a term that I have heard bandied about numerous times on the financial news channels).

My main problem with the book is that many of the stories about people seemed tacked on, or dropped into place as if they were meant to expand the page count. The stories were largely repetitive - basically "people decided to improve their lot in life/have the good life with easy money, only to find they didn't read/weren't told/didn't understand the fine print" and wound up in deep trouble. These stories disrupted the narrative of what the overall flow of events were that is far more critical to understand. This is why I only gave the book three stars.

Finally, his "cure". We have to bring more back onto our shores, and create wealth by making things of tangible value as opposed to, as he roughly terms it, financial hocus-pocus (indeed, he draws a metaphor with the overall situation with Neverland of Peter Pan). But there is an underlying theme that many will find disquieting nonetheless - wages will likely be lower than what they once were, and the capital to do all this will likely come from foreign investment of companies buying up US assets. Sadly, as Warren Buffett has said, "we are giving ourselves a party to feed our appetite for oil and imported goods and paying for it by selling off the furniture, our most precious assets." (Maureen Dowd,New York Times editorial, 1/20/08). I fear that the US will have to learn to live with lowered expectations.
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Format: Hardcover
Matt Taibbi, in a recent Rolling Stone article asked the question: Is Obama a sellout? The article goes on to demonstrate how through his appointments to oversee the financial mess, Obama has effectively put the same foxes back in control of the hen house that got the feathers flying in the first place, and that Obama's measures have left loopholes big enough to drive the proverbial Mack truck though. Therefore, Taibbi's is an eminently fair question. However, it takes this book, Through three clear-eyed and very sobering metaphors to bring Taibbi's message home: one comparing our economy to an airplane crash, another to a jimmy-rigged homeowner's fire insurance policy, and the final one comparing the men appointed to run our financial institutions to grown men refusing to grow up and continuing to live in Peter pan's nether land. Although there is a lot more to the book than just these three analogies, for my money, they alone were worth the price of the book.

Through these analogies, Paul Goodman makes sure we all finally understand how the incestuous Wall Street "gang of five:" Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, Tim Giethner and the Rubin father son team, and their larcenous buddies, succeeded in making wall street their own private ATM machine to gamble away the nation's wealth. And even though he is not a conspiracy theorist, nevertheless, through these analogies, Goodman brings the mechanics of the greatest heist since the "Great Train Robbery" back down to earth.

In the first metaphor, he likens our carefully engineered financial collapse to a plane crash. -- but with the important distinction being that in a plane crash, no one stands to benefit. Not so in the financial crisis. Just the opposite is true in fact.
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