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The Wall Street Money Machine (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Jesse Eisinger , Jake Bernstein
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99

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Book Description

In the months before the 2008 financial meltdown, bankers and hedge funds perverted the market to keep their lavish bonuses flowing. Their machinations made the collapse much worse. This Pulitzer Prize-winning series reveals how they did it.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In 2006, as the U.S. housing market started its downturn, demand for mortgage-backed securities created by Wall Street investment banks began to dry up. So why did these banks continue to buy tens of billions of dollars' worth of mortgages and package them into securities they had trouble selling? And why did they then sell these worthless securities internally to other divisions within their own banks? ProPublica, an independent, non-profit news organization, sent a team of reporters to investigate. What they found will leave many readers feeling simultaneously astonished and outraged. The actions that led to the collapse of many investment banks and amplified the international financial crisis can be traced back to a handful of executives trying to increase the size of their bonuses. Uncovering and making sense of complicated, esoteric, and shady financial dealings is no easy task. The Pulitzer Prize that ProPublica recently won for this reporting was hard-earned with a practice many newspapers have abandoned--solid investigative reporting. --Paul Diamond

Product Details

  • File Size: 705 KB
  • Print Length: 46 pages
  • Publisher: ProPublica (May 10, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0050D2EZQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,440 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Jesse Eisinger is a senior reporter at ProPublica, covering Wall Street and finance. He writes a regular column for The New York Times's Dealbook section. This single by Eisinger gives the background of the US housing market downturn. There's information here that I hadn't read and I've read a lot.

Magnetar was the name that kept coming up when the reporters begin their investigation about the housing and financial crises in 2008. "Getting to the bottom of what Magnetar actually did in the arcane market for mortgage securities took months," the author says.

Magnetar betted against it's own deals and pushing for riskier assets to go into them. This increased the chances the deals would blow up.

The author questioned who else was buying these bad assets. "Faced with few real investors, bankers did not stop manufacturing securities. Instead, we discovered, they manipulated the business to make it appear as if there was more demand than there was."

Shareholders were not in the loop. Banks "created a daisy chain of interlocking deals" and bought each other' leftovers. They also secretly bought their own deals that they couldn't sell.

The author says that decisions made by individuals made the boom last longer and it made the collapse worse. Moreover, few would be held accountable for their actions.

If you're interested in the secret manipulations of bankers and the greed that brought down the financial pillars, you'll want to read this exciting single.

- Susanna K. Hutcheson
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"The Wall Street Money Machine" is an investigative report prepared by ProPublica and NPR's Planet Money. It examines two aspects of the financial crisis:

* the role of hedge fund Magnetar, which worked in concert with the banks to create high-risk CDOs which it then bet against

* how the banks artificially increased demand for CDO's by co-opting CDO manager and forcing them to buy these derivatives under threat of losing future business

Toward the nadir of US housing prices, Chicago-based hedge fund Magnetar came up with a novel concept: work directly with the big banks to create mortgage-backed securities comprised of mortgages most likely to default. The banks (Merrill, Citi, Goldman, etc.) then promoted these CDOs to their clients, while Magnetar took out short positions on them. This recalls to mind Goldman's now-infamous ABACUS fund, which the bank internally bet against while simultaneously promoting to its clients. Before long, Magnetar alone accounted for a large percentage of the CDO market.

At the same time, banks were beginning to realize that investor demand for its mortgage-based securities was beginning to flag. Rather than wind-down its reliance upon these toxic assets, they opted for a different approach: co-opt the supposedly independent fund managers and force them to purchase newly-issued CDO under threat. Rather than assert their independence, most fund managers complied with the banks' demands rather than put their lucrative fee streams in jeopardy. Indeed, the banks often made life easier by approaching potential future managers with propositions to set them up for the sole purpose of buying their toxic assets, thereby artificially stimulating demand.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently Easy May 29, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Despite the complex dynamics involved in the recent financial collapse, the Pulitzer winning investigation presented in this single is easy to follow and understand.
The 'bad guy' in this story is the 'CDO - collateralized debt obligation', a box full of commitments to pay, i.e., mortgages. The banks created, sold and bought loads and loads of CDOs, unfortunately many of them made up from loans given to people who could not pay back. The all system started to crumble when nobody wanted to buy this latter and riskiest (toxic) portion of the CDOs. The banks then began to buy their own toxic CDOs exposing themselves to a huge risk of not getting back the enormous amount of money they lent. We all know that what was a risk is now a certainty since from all over the world banks have lost their (or better, our) money.
Only few 'smart' individuals earned from this disaster, those who insured themselves against such a risk. Once the toxic CDOs defaulted the insurance companies had to pay them back.
--- The single is full of the names of the people who made this possible, it is very interesting to see their faces and learn what they are doing now.
--- You can find all the articles collected in this single free of charge in ProPublica's website, but this is really the case in which is more than worth to buy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As an amateur who has read only two other books about the mechanisms for the collapse of our nation's economy, reading this book left me amazed by how many important details of the crisis were unknown to me. In particular, this books lays out the details of the role of collateralized debt obligations in contributing to events that led to our financial collapse.
For those who are not experts in this area of finance, I would recommend this book as a short and very specific introduction to the genesis of our financial collapse. It is encouraging to see the survival of some investigative reporting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good investigative journalism
very good book on the financial scam.
sad part of the whole deal its, eventually the execs are fired, but I don't know if they care. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Guru
4.0 out of 5 stars straight to the point
mostly relevant facts, explains some of the causes of crisis a simple way for reader... not too long which is thr biggest advantage :)
Published 11 months ago by Piotr Jagielski
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Give a look at "the other side of life" and how we are all affected by the dealings of a few.
Published 13 months ago by sunrisegolfer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Awesome read and very informing.
Gives great ok insight on how the mortgage market collapsed because of bad decisions by banks
Published 13 months ago by Paula Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book with great details
The details of this book gives way too much meaning to other financial crisis books written and mind comes back to the minute details given in this book.
Published 18 months ago by Sandeep Pawar
3.0 out of 5 stars ok
I Haven't read all of it. Can't quite get into it as well as some other books I have read.
Published 19 months ago by Gin
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
Unless you are in the high finance world, this book is as boring as it can get.
Very complex and difficult to read if you are not "in the trade"
Published 20 months ago by Davie Jones
2.0 out of 5 stars Not good for me...
I was expecting an explanation for everything that happens in Wall Street, and this "book" focuses on a couple of companies...I found it boring.
Published 20 months ago by Vicente
4.0 out of 5 stars Great explanatory stuff
Cut through the euphemisms to tell it in plain English. Pity no legal action available to us to recover money.
Published 20 months ago by IanMac
4.0 out of 5 stars Thanks For The Financial Facts on CMOs
A very well investigated study by Jesse Elsinger. Complex Mortgage products built by financiers connected into Wall Street are the core of how the empires collapsed. Read more
Published 20 months ago by John B. Thomas
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