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Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids from Brooklyn Predicted The Great Recession And The Pain Ahead [Kindle Edition]

Ralph W. Baker Jr.
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In 2006 I started a youth mentorship program called the New York Shock Exchange (Shock Exchange) as a vehicle to share my passion for investing and basketball with my 11-year-old son and other boys his age. I figured that using basketball as a “carrot” would be a cool way for kids to learn about the stock market and the economy. Besides, just coaching basketball would not have been much fun for me. Somehow I had to make it educational as well. And just as I had suspected, with their ability to spot trends before adults, inner-city kids from Brooklyn knew more about investing than I, Peter Lynch, Bill Miller, and any hedge fund manager or Wall Street analyst on the planet. We not only helped them perform due diligence on their stock picks, but documented how macroeconomic forces were affecting their picks and the market in general. In the process, we noticed how key drivers of the economy were dismal and the U.S. economy was in the midst of stagflation. Since the “Great Recession” that the Shock Exchange foretold, financial literacy has been championed by the Wall Street community.

The Shock Exchange’s observations on the Great Recession – and the steps needed to address it – have been repeated by politicians, economists, Wall Street analysts, and even the president. But it’s not over. The next recession will be more painful than the last. I will take you on a journey of how we came to know this, the progenitors of the financial crisis, and the pain ahead.

Editorial Reviews


Baker, who has had a successful career in corporate finance, presents an innovative look into the Great Recession of 2008. His interest in the Stock Exchange started when he was a fifth grader and his father taught him how to read the Wall Street Journal. In 2006, he started the mentorship program New York Shock Exchange, designed to share his passion for investing and basketball with his 11-year-old son and other boys his age. The group began identifying key elements that signaled a downturn in the economy, like housing starts and auto sales. Considering the turn of events in 2008, their insight proved spot-on. His discussion of the recession covers aspects of mortgage defaults, government bailout programs, the fall of Lehman Bros. and AIG, and suggestions for how to avoid the same mistakes. (Copious notes and bibliography provide further reference.) Baker also explores the African American experience from an economic perspective by telling the story of his early life in Farmville, VA. VERDICT An intriguing work meant for those seeking an introduction to the causes of recessions and problems of the economy today. Also recommended for those who teach and study business. --Library Journal - Lucy Heckman, St. John's Univ. Lib., NY

As wall street spiraled out of control ... many people simply stated that people saw this coming. Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead discusses how there were many who saw the 2008 Financial calamity in the distance, and how author Ralph Baker and his associates knew it was coming ... and how their message was only heard by deaf ears. An enticing look at the warning signs of crisis, Shock Exchange& is a must for collections looking for memoirs focusing on the financial world. --Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Mr. Baker received his B.A. in economics from Hampden-Sydney College (1989) and his MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. He has over 15 years of experience in corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions. Mr. Baker is currently the Executive Director of the New York Shock Exchange, a financial literacy program based in Brooklyn, NY that teaches kids competitive basketball skills and the fundamentals of investing. Mr. Baker, who was also small college All-American in basketball, has one son, Ralph W. Baker III, and resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3451 KB
  • Print Length: 437 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Ralph W. Baker Jr.; 1 edition (August 6, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0099UYBL6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,207,916 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I won a signed copy of “Shock Exchange” by Ralph W. Baker, Jr through a giveaway on and the following is my honest opinion for this book.

Having been educated within the New York City school system, and living in the NY City metropolitan area all my life, I’ve seen education go from being equal throughout the system, in my opinion, to where inner city youth have become more and more forgotten about.

Reading the synopsis for this book, it had piqued my curiosity, and I want to learn more about program created by the author; which is why I’d entered the giveaway being offered by author.

As I read the book, I found it to be less and less to be about the program the author had created in an inner city area of Brooklyn, NY; and more and more like a wonderful, revealing memoir about an Afro-American who had been born in the rural town of Farmville, Virginia. The author writes about all the events in life which lead him to become a successful, internationally-known Wall Street individual. Given the history of this financial world, this achievement should be deemed remarkable.

Instead of writing about the “Shock Exchange,” its creation, history and successes, the author has instead told us about his childhood, education, and historical financial events which had transpired around him through the years, as well as those he’d been part of.

Apparently this author wants to shun the spotlight on himself, which is why I feel a much better title for this book would have been, “From Farmville to Wall Street – An Afro-American Male Experience.”

In the end I’m giving Mr. Baker and this book 5 STARS.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Mr. Baker was generous enough to provide a copy of his book to me after reading some of my articles in Seeking Alpha. The sub-title of the book infers that city kids from Brooklyn were able to foretell the recent economic downturn. The book contains a very large autobiographical element. Also, given the author's ethnic background, a different perspective is given which is important given that he truly was a minority within the context of his own profession of corporate finance.

The author provides great detail surrounding some of the events of what today is known as the financial crisis (circa 2008-2011). I especially enjoyed how he related the story of Joseph Jett walking out of his apartment to face the press and the press ignoring him since they were not expecting a black man to be the focus of the trading fraud allegation.

Throughout the book, I was expecting to hear more about how the inner-city kids were able to predict the crisis ahead though I'm not sure I ever identified it. The book's autobiographical emphasis tends to take the reader away from the ostensibly main topic, which is the Great Recession and the pain ahead. In the Afterword, the author describes his purpose in writing the book and it becomes more clear why he included a large autobiography. I would suggest that there is content for two books within this one.

As an author of a book (E$caping Oz: Navigating the crisis) covering this topic, Mr. Baker reaches many of my own conclusions on the crisis and what lies ahead. The blending of sports and financial literacy through his organization (New York Shock Exchange) is a great combination for which he is to be commended. The kids and adults in his program should laud Mr. Baker for his efforts. It will be important in the years ahead to have this sort of literacy as politics and economics clash.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and Suspenseful June 7, 2013
The author was whimsical and did a great job at captivating my attention and keeping me on the edge of my seat to find out what would happen next. I particularly liked the "terms of endearment" he used when referencing family members. This is a great read and I would recommend it for Business, Economic majors, and anyone interested in economics.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars December 28, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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