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Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street Hardcover – May 12, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
I do admit Street Fighters is a faster read. It cuts out all the boring history, and gets right to the three-day collapse. Characters are simple and financial details swept under the rug. Excitement is provided by constant overstatement. No one rests after working hard, they "drop from exhaustion," or, if they take an Ambien first, "lapse into a drug-induced" stupor. No one gets a telephone call at night, they are "jolted awake." Someone is "slammed," "electrified," or "devastated," nearly every page and almost as often we find it is the worst day of someone's life.
Okay, that's just style and if you like your writing lively, that's fine. It also helps if you like to hear about people washing their hair, taking showers, buying iPhones or playing on-line games. You'll find out who's a snappy dresser, who eats greasy food and especially what kind of houses different characters own. I don't care for that stuff, but I suppose it gives some people a feel for the situation.
My biggest gripe about the book is the author's treatment of disputed information. Time and again we get stories from anonymous or indirect sources in full-size print in the text, with an asterisk at the end to a fine-print notice that a named direct witness denies the story.Read more ›
The book's narrative begins at 5:30 P.M. on Thursday, March 13, 2008, and continues until 8:30 PM on Sunday, March 16, 2008, followed by an Epilogue in which Kelly reviews subsequent developments at other firms (e.g. Lehman, AIG, Merrill) and provides a follow-up on Bear Stearns' key leaders. From Thursday through Sunday, at a pace that astonished everyone involved, the once-proud firm of "street fighters...lean, scrappy, and hungry for profits," a firm that had "an underdog's spirit, and relished the chance to knock more well-heeled firms down a peg or two," saw its stock take a "breathtaking drop." It had sold for $172 in January of 2007, was selling for $57 on March 13, 2008, and continued to plunge so far and so fast ($30.00 on March 14) that when Bear received J.P. Morgan Chase's final offer, the stock was valued at $2.00.
How to explain Bear's decline and fall? Kelly offers several reasons. Here are four:
1. Dysfunctional leadership (e.g. its CFO, Sam Molinaro, was "hopelessly disorganized" amidst toxic infighting between and among the firm's leaders)
2. Decision-making that Jim Collins describes (in How the Mighty Fall) as "grasping for salvation" in Stage 4 of a five-stage process of organizational decline
3.Read more ›
If you want to learn more about the WSJ's attitude in this period... pick up Mr. Einhorn's book. In fact, I believe Ms. Kelly is mentioned as it pertains to her psuedo journalism.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a fast read and the authur understood the events. Very good book detailing the events.Published 19 months ago by MIO
The book is a condensed version of events surrounding the collapse of Bear Stearns. Details center mostly around the personal lives of the actors as opposed to the investment... Read morePublished 23 months ago by h
This book is absolutely fascinating. I'm giving it four stars instead of five only because the level of detail Kelly goes into in the second half of the book may dampen readers'... Read morePublished on July 18, 2013 by avid reader
Great read, if you want an easy read that details the final days of bear sterns in an entertaining and informative way this is it. Read morePublished on July 8, 2012 by Tom
Wall Street Journal reporter Kate Kelly said in the Preface to this 2009 book, "I selected the most dramatic three days of teh Bear saga and examined them hour by hour... Read morePublished on June 13, 2012 by Steven H Propp
Overall the book was a decent read but the language used was a bit simple. There are only a few references to the financial workings of bear sterns and virtually no references to... Read morePublished on November 1, 2011 by arod
I agree with other reviewers. This book offers very little insight into the collapse of Bear. I might have to check out House of Cards now. Read morePublished on June 18, 2011 by dasn0wman
Street Fighters is not about the reasons why Bear Stearns failed and how did its management came to this mess. Read morePublished on July 18, 2010 by Anton Kovalyov
I was pleasantly surprised how captivating this read was after hearing about some negative reviews before I read it. In fact, it was hard to put down the book. Read morePublished on June 27, 2010 by LJ Haasbroek