Most helpful critical review
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2009
I would greatly value material that provided insight into Dimon's big-picture thinking and methods (eg. focus for cost-cutting). "The House of Dimon" consists of an ant's level perspective on Dimon's travels. Readers hoping for insight on key strategies and methodology will find none here. What little detail there is on J. P. Morgan thinking under Dimon is so vague as to be useless. Similarly, his turnaround accomplishments at Bank One are also covered so vaguely as to be useless. (Eg. He consolidated 40-some IT systems that were confusing and redundant - an important achievement that is often botched. Absolutely no detail provided on how this was done.)
Much more useful is Dimon's 2008 Report to Shareholders. The following are excerpts: We didn't write option ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages) because we did not think they were a consumer-friendly product. We deliberately avoided the structured collateralized debt obligation (CDO) business because we believed the associated risks were too high. We still follow the financial commandment: do not borrow short to invest long. Perhaps the largest regulatory failure of all time was the inadequate regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - they became larger than the Federal Reserve and dramatically increased their leverage. Too many regulators - with overlapping responsibilities and inadequate authorities were ill-equipped to handle the crisis (eg. no resolution process for the failure of large investment banks, large, global financial companies, or large sellers of CDS (eg. AIG). Our $3 trillion trade deficit over 8 years was largely placed into government securities, keeping interest rates too low. We closed down our broker-originated business - losses there are 2-3X that of our own-generated business. We cut back substantially on subprime loans early in the crisis (2006).