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The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market's Perfect Storm Paperback – April 27, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470452587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470452585
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Though business professors Bruner and Carr approach their subject, the spectacular financial crisis that gave America the FDIC and the Federal Reserve, with grave pedantry, they devote the majority of the book to the more colorful events and personalities of the crisis, which even academic prose cannot dull. The chronicle follows one speculator's attempt to corner the copper market, which leads to panic, the failure of banks and trusts and the impending bankruptcy of New York City. In the midst of chaos, one man was able to halt the domino effect with calm, character and capital: J. Pierpont Morgan. The Panic, the authors note, hit America at a moment eerily similar to our own: coming off 50 years of postwar economic expansion with a Republican "moralist" in the White House, an increasingly interventionist government, the formation of enormous new corporate conglomerates and a muckraking news media fueling resentment. Further, in a didactic final chapter, "Financial Crises as a Perfect Storm," the authors list the seven forces that, once converged, trigger alarm in investors, among them "buoyant growth," "inadequate safety buffers," "adverse leadership" and "undue fear, greed, and other aberrations"; that many (if not all) of these conditions are already met by today's market gives this authoritative history a relevance and vitality that should make business types sit up and take notice.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

.,."a great academic study, which was meant to be a warning. Instead, it reads like a description of what has just happened."--"Financial Times" "A dull textbook it's not: Most chapters amount to six or seven pages of storytelling with cliffhangers... entertaining read..."--"Bloomberg News" .,."the definitive guide to the stock market panic of '07"--"The TImes" "an important read..."--thestreet.com "Bruner, dean of the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, and Carr, director of the school's Batten Institute, tell the gripping tale of one of the worst financial panics in modern history, where greed and lack of liquidity (sound familiar, people?) dragged stocks down 37 percent."--U.S. News & World Report "When The Business Press Maven first cast his eye for business journalism onto business books, it was with the ultimate hope of familiarizing investors with historical insight, which is more common in books than what is demonstrated in newsrooms and trading floors--where yesterday's news and trades qualify as fixtures from a bygone era . . . . That is why I am going to grant "The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market's Perfect Storm," a resounding "Help" label from The Business Press Maven, putting it in the probable running for Top 10 Business Press Maven Books of 2007. In case you still don't get it, this is very high praise."--Marek Fuchs, The Business Press Maven, TheStreet.com "This retelling of Morgan's bravura performance is a page-turning mix of high finance and high drama"--"Barron's" .,."the definitive guide to the stock market panic of '07" ("The Times," Thursday 13th September 2007) "Well worth reading" ("The Business,"Saturday 15th September 2007) "With this book as their guide, readers will take away important insights...developing a deeper understanding of financial markets" ("What Investment?," November 2007) "A very worthwhile book for advisors who, having just lived through a financial crisis of global implications, are casting about for a larger conceptual framework regarding such events."--"Financial Advisor" "Steering clear of the extremes, the authors dissect the 'perfect storm' that blew through the financial system in 1907 and identify seven elements that converge to cause financial crisis . . . Timely read."--The Hindu Business Line (October 19, 2007) "a useful book on market contagion" ("bloomberg.com," Wednesday 5th December 2007) "Anyone who needs convincing that financial history is constantly repeating itself should pursue this timely tome." ("Spear's Wealth & Management Survey," January 2008) "My column today quotes from one of the most insightful books I have ever read, "The Panic of 1907." When I read it last year, I thought it had lessons for today, but I did not realize just how quickly those lessons would become crucial."--Floyd Norris, New York Times "A very relevant read in today's subprime infested financial environment." ("Gulf Business," February 2008) "Bruner and Carr deliver more than just a good story." ("Risk," February 2008) "Robert Bruner and Sean Carr, both scholars from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, have written a very important book titled The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market's Perfect Storm. The value of Bruner and Carr's book is not only the detailed historical examination ofthe 1907 financial panic but the scholarly work they did in examining the financial panics that have occurred over the past one hundred years. It was by examining numerous panics that Bruner and Carr were able to develop an outline of how panics begin, spread, and how they are ultimately resolved." -Roger G. Hagstrom, Legg Mason Growth Trust, Investment Commentary and Quarterly Report to Shareholders (March 31, 2008)

Customer Reviews

The book is about the monetary panic in the U.S. in 1907.
Susanna Hutcheson
The book is very well written, if not novel-like, certainly approaching the form.
D. Littman
J.P. Morgan & Co. stepped in to purchase and save a collapsing bank.
Steve Burns

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By dennis wentraub on October 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Edwin Lefevre's anecdotal account of the cash crunch of October 1907 in his timelessly street smart REMINISCENCES OF A STOCK OPERATOR (1923) has always begged for further commentary. His colorful recollection of how J.P. Morgan "saved" the New York Stock Exchange - "A day I shall never forget, October 24, 1907" - is in this current history placed in the larger context of a more general U.S. monetary crisis. Contributing events included the sudden, unexpected demand for capital following the San Francisco earthquake (1906), a Bank of England decision to slow the flow of gold to the U.S., a recklessly leveraged stock scheme hatched on Wall Street, and the absence of a central banking authority. Plunging asset values, impaired loan collateral values, a general loss of confidence, bank runs, financial ruin, and personal tragedy were the consequences of a "panic" that gripped the markets in that year. Even as one private individual, J.P. Morgan, provided the leadership and liquidity to the banking system, the City of New York, and the New York Stock Exchange, the events of 1907 dramatically underscored the need for a central bank to watch over the monetary needs of the country. The U.S. Federal Reserve as a lender of last resort was created in 1913.

The authors summarize the lessons of 1907 in a final chapter. I'm not sure that new ground is broken here, and the "perfect storm" cliche' is overdone these days, but it can be forgiven in this highly readable account. The point is that multiple contributing causes are in evidence in a financial crisis. Among those causes that stand out are an economy growing strongly where potential risks are marginalized (e.g.
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125 of 143 people found the following review helpful By The Ginger Man VINE VOICE on September 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very short book about a fairly complex event. While it is accessable to the general reader, the book comes alive only when describing the recovery efforts of a group of private financiers led by J. Pierpont Morgan. More focus is needed to show how the problem developed and to help explain the dynamics of investor panic contagion. Further, government officials are given short shrift as either creators of the problem (President Roosevelt) or as Morgan's lackeys (Secretary of the Treasury Cortelyou).

The authors portray Morgan as a giant among dwarves. He almost singlehandedly ends the panic with visionary, unselfish, decisive and commanding presence. In regard to the latter attribute, Morgan is shown summoning the United States Treasury Secretary to New York, warning short sellers that they will be "properly attended to" after the crisis and ordering bank presidents to work. At one point, Morgan is almost godlike as he decides which savings institutions will be supported and which will be allowed to die.

Thus, The Panic of 1907 becomes the story of J. Pierpont Morgan vs. panic and greed. Government is given little credit for helping solve the crisis (except when the president agrees to interrupt his breakfast to promise he won't interfere with Morgan's plans). As an example of "adverse leadership," Theodore Roosevelt is listed as a primary cause of problems due to "rising regulation of an activist President."

While it may seem like a small error, the authors mistakingly credit novelist Sinclair Lewis with reporting about the meatpacking business rather than Upton Sinclair. This carelessness causes me some concern about other details presented in this work.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By D. Littman on September 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bruner's book is a must read for anyone interested in the history of American finance, or in the intricacies & complexities of financial crises in the US & elsewhere. The 1907 Panic was at once a watershed event in US finance, since it was the immediate stimulus for the creation of our first real central bank, the Federal Reserve. But it also was (and is) typical of financial crises generally. Those of the 19th century that immediately preceded it (that is, in the post-Civil War "Gilded Age"), and those of our own time (that is, Enron, Long-Term Capital Management, Continental Illinois, etc.). Bruner has done an fine job digging up the details of what actually happened in the October/November 1907 crisis, the personalities & institutions, and in showing how these events overlaid on an already unstable economic situation that were lowering public confidence. The book is very well written, if not novel-like, certainly approaching the form. I read nearly all of it in one sitting.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Craig L. Howe on November 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Shortly before 10:00 on the morning of November 14, 2007 Charles T. Barney walked into his second-story Park Avenue, took the pistol containing three bullets kept there for protection and fired one bullet into his head.

Up to that moment, he was a man of the Gilded Age. The son of a prosperous Cleveland merchant, he married into the Whitney family, was a director of 33 companies and had served as the top officer of the Knickerbocker Trust Company up until a few short weeks prior.

He had been asked to resign. The reason: early the previous month, he, along with several other New York City trust companies had funded an attempt to corner the market in the stock of a copper mining company. The attempt had failed. As word of his involvement spread, his investors and depositors panicked and started a run on his bank that would eventually lead to its closing.

The country had lost confidence in its financial system. It would take leadership, largely from one man, J. P. Morgan, to restore it.

Robert F. Bruner and Sean D. Carr take the reader day-to-day through this crisis. Beginning with the famed San Francisco earthquake and culminating with Barney's suicide, they draw seven lessons that are, perhaps more instructive today, than they would have been in 1907. They are:

1. Complexity makes it difficult to know what is happening and establish linkages that enable the crisis to spread.
2. Economic expansion creates rising demands for capital and liquidity. The mistakes that accompany those rising demands must eventually be corrected.
3. In the late stages of an economic expansion borrowers and creditors overreach in their application of debt. This lowers the financial system's safety margin.
4.
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