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Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the FinancialSystem--and Themselves [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Ross Sorkin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (437 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $18.00
Kindle Price: $11.03
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

A brilliantly reported true-life thriller that goes behind the scenes of the financial crisis on Wall Street and in Washington.

In one of the most gripping financial narratives in decades, Andrew Ross Sorkin-a New York Times columnist and one of the country's most respected financial reporters-delivers the first definitive blow- by-blow account of the epochal economic crisis that brought the world to the brink. Through unprecedented access to the players involved, he re-creates all the drama and turmoil of these turbulent days, revealing never-before-disclosed details and recounting how, motivated as often by ego and greed as by fear and self-preservation, the most powerful men and women in finance and politics decided the fate of the world's economy.




Editorial Reviews

Review

"...comprehensive and chilling..."
-TIME

"...his action scenes are intimate and engaging..."
-The New Yorker

"Sorkin's prodigious reporting and lively writing put the reader in the room for some of the biggest-dollar conference calls in history. It's an entertaining book, brisk book...Sorkin skillfully captures the raucous enthusiasm and riotous greed that fueled this rational irrationality."
-The New York Times Book Review

"...brings the drama alive with unusual inside access and compelling detail...A deeply researched account of the financial meltdown."
-BusinessWeek

"...meticulously researched...told brilliantly. Other blow-by-blow accounts are in the works. It is hard to imagine them being this riveting."
-The Economist

"Sorkin's densely detailed and astonishing narrative of the epic financial crisis of 2008 is an extraordinary achievement that will be hard to surpass as the definitive account...as a dramatic close-up, his book is hard to beat."
-Financial Times

"Sorkin's book, like its author, is a phenom...an absolute tour de force."
-The American Prospect

"Andrew Ross Sorkin pens what may be the definitive history of the banking crisis."
-The Atlantic Monthly

"Andrew Ross Sorkin has written a fascinating, scene-by-scene saga of the eyeless trying to march the clueless through Great Depression II."
-Tom Wolfe

"...Sorkin has succeeded in writing the book of the crisis, with amazing levels of detail and access."
-Reuters

"Sorkin can write. His storytelling makes "Liar's Poker" look like a children's book."
-SNL Financial

Review

"...comprehensive and chilling..."
-TIME

"...his action scenes are intimate and engaging..."
-The New Yorker

"Sorkin's prodigious reporting and lively writing put the reader in the room for some of the biggest-dollar conference calls in history. It's an entertaining book, brisk book...Sorkin skillfully captures the raucous enthusiasm and riotous greed that fueled this rational irrationality."
-The New York Times Book Review

"...brings the drama alive with unusual inside access and compelling detail...A deeply researched account of the financial meltdown."
-BusinessWeek

"...meticulously researched...told brilliantly. Other blow-by-blow accounts are in the works. It is hard to imagine them being this riveting."
-The Economist

"Sorkin's densely detailed and astonishing narrative of the epic financial crisis of 2008 is an extraordinary achievement that will be hard to surpass as the definitive account...as a dramatic close-up, his book is hard to beat."
-Financial Times

"Sorkin's book, like its author, is a phenom...an absolute tour de force."
-The American Prospect

"Andrew Ross Sorkin pens what may be the definitive history of the banking crisis."
-The Atlantic Monthly

"Andrew Ross Sorkin has written a fascinating, scene-by-scene saga of the eyeless trying to march the clueless through Great Depression II."
-Tom Wolfe

"...Sorkin has succeeded in writing the book of the crisis, with amazing levels of detail and access."
-Reuters

"Sorkin can write. His storytelling makes "Liar's Poker" look like a children's book."
-SNL Financial


Product Details

  • File Size: 1405 KB
  • Print Length: 626 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0670021253
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Updated edition (September 7, 2010)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003XQEVUI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,744 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
148 of 170 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sorkin channels the big boys June 4, 2011
By Reader
Format:Paperback
The problem with this book is not just that the author makes virtually no effort to explain why the whole financial system would have collapsed in 2008 absent huge taxpayer bailouts, other than in a few sentences in an epilogue. The problem is that throughout the book he uncritically channels the explanations for the collapse provided by the titans of Wall Street. The CEOs blame the government, the profit-seeking hedge funds and the shorts, never themselves. They come up with ludicrous justifications for billions in salaries and bonuses that fund their lavish lifestyles. You can almost hear Sorkin's pain when he describes how much the net worth of the Lehman CEO, Dick Fuld, declined, and how he has to consider selling his wife's art collection. The fact that he had redeemed hundreds of millions worth of stock ($482 million according to Fortune magazine) as his company was disintegrating around him barely gets mentioned. The accounting tricks used to prop up these paragons both to take their toxic assets temporarily off the books and to underreport the real compensation to executives go unmentioned. After reading this you also wonder what it is that these people actually do to earn these billions. Sorkin uncritically says that this money is necessary to "retain the talent." But Bank of America decided to pay $38 billion for Merrill Lynch after doing due diligence for a total of two days. Was this actually a demonstration of "talent"? The only sense you get of these people is that they're all scrappy testosterone-filled climbers from disadvantaged backgrounds who still feel a deep need to prove themselves and who also want to belong to an all-male club. Read more ›
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154 of 180 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Page Turner November 18, 2009
By Alan
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book that reads like something that Dan Brown might have written. But its real. The part that amazed me was the level of detail Sorkin was able to get about behind the scenes conversations that took place. Stuff about how people such as Dick Fuld of Lehman reacted to the problems when it was becoming clear that the company was going down and he was in denial. How Paulson was reacting to things when there were no rules about what to do.

But probably the most interesting parts were how the different personalities were reacting while the ground was shifting under them. At the peak, many of the people involved were literally working 24 hours a day highlighted by a phone call made to Vikram Pandit, CEO of Citibank at 3 am telling how a deal he made at midnight for Wachovia had instead been trumped by another and that that deal had already been signed and blessed by the government. How major decisions were being made on the run and how solid institutions became institutions on the brink in a matter of hours.

The book also explains how companies like Barclays and China Investment Corporation were working behind the scenes as well how Paulson, Geithener and others in the government were scrambling to keep things from collapsing. There is a lot of Monday Morning Quarterbacking going on and some of the things these people did may not have been the best, but they pulled it off and we should all be grateful.

But there some bad guys, namely the short sellers and as usual some in congress. The book makes clear that out of control short selling added fuel to the flames that were occurring and that when we were facing this emergency some members of Congress were focused on their own butt instead of doing what was needed.

There is a huge cast in this book and its is sometimes hard to keep the people and their roles straight, but make the effort. You will be rewarded.
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296 of 351 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Simply a chronology December 1, 2009
Format:Hardcover
The book details the events, the people and the conversations that roiled the banks in 2008. The book does not really discuss why the events happened. If you're looking to understand why these banks fell, this is not the book to read.

The book is very readable and even at 539 pages, a person can finish it quickly. Another plus is that unlike most NY Times reporters, the author keeps most of his opinions out of the story until the last 2 pages.

His opinions are:

The government allowing Lehman to go into bankruptcy was the catalyst that caused the floodgates to open. This is probably why he spends a lot of the book developing the Lehman story.

He's ambivalent about whether the government players could have prevented the collapse of the banks or even if they did the right things when they did act. But he's quite clear that more banking regulation was needed then and is needed now.

One can disagree with his opinions, but he does well to leave most of them till the end of the book.

A few criticisms:

As mentioned, he does not discuss why exactly these events happened. In the epilogue, he briefly mentions 4 events that percolated over 10 years that conspired to cause the perfect storm in 2008. But he could have spent a chapter (prologue) describing these events and how they conspired to cause the problem. Apparently he's not a banker or an academic, so maybe he didn't feel qualified to do this.

Second criticism: In a few places prior to his epilogue, he lets us know his (negative) opinion of some players. It's obvious his disdain for Chris Cox and Sheila Bair. But he's particularly vitriolic towards the Wall Street Journal editorial page.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank you
Published 1 day ago by john g egerton
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read that you will find hard to put down
Great read that you will find hard to put down. You'll need to refer back to table of contents to keep track of all the characters!
Published 5 days ago by Irvin Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read. If you're one of the morons who ...
Great read. If you're one of the morons who rages against the bailouts, this might just help you understand why they were necessary.
Published 12 days ago by ND
5.0 out of 5 stars very good book
Very detailed well written with many stories that hook you up to the book very fast.

Totally recommended

Must read
Published 14 days ago by SebastianM
3.0 out of 5 stars Failure of too big to fail
Interesting, even arresting but sidesteps the underlying causes of the mortgage meltdown.
Published 18 days ago by Gail Thiele
4.0 out of 5 stars Wall Street at the Brink
A very insightful examination of the financial crisis of 2008. The narrative is interesting, and Sorkin does not alienate the reader with an overabundance of financial... Read more
Published 23 days ago by Admin41
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Breathtaking!
Published 1 month ago by PhilOtd
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good summary of how the Wall Street suits scrambled around ...
Really good summary of how the Wall Street suits scrambled around to save their egos when the crooked empires they built started to crumble. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dave keen
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Detailed
Very dense with details and atmosphere, the book does offer remarkable insights and a "you are there" perspective. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joyful56
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Sobering novel.
Published 1 month ago by kevin smith
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More About the Author

Andrew Ross Sorkin is The New York Times's chief mergers and acquisitions reporter and a columnist. Mr. Sorkin, a leading voice about Wall Street and corporate America, is also the editor of DealBook, an online daily financial report he started in 2001. In addition, Mr. Sorkin is an assistant editor of business and finance news, helping guide and shape the paper's coverage.

Mr. Sorkin, who has appeared on NBC's "Today" show and on "Charlie Rose" on PBS, is a frequent guest host of CNBC's "Squawk Box." He won a Gerald Loeb Award, the highest honor in business journalism, in 2004 for breaking news. He also won a Society of American Business Editors and Writers Award for breaking news in 2005 and again in 2006. In 2007, the World Economic Forum named him a Young Global Leader.

He hosts three daily business reports on radio that are syndicated nationally called "The Business Brief with Andrew Ross Sorkin."

Mr. Sorkin began writing for The Times in 1995 under unusual circumstances: he hadn't yet graduated from high school.

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