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The Wall Street Journal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It: What You Need to Know About the Greatest Financial Crisis of Our Time--and How to Survive It Paperback – January 27, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Wall Street Journal
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness (January 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061788406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061788406
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,134,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A very useful beginning for those who are perplexed and anxious about the financial crisis—pretty much everybody.” (Library Journal)

About the Author

The editor of The Wall Street Journal's Money & Investing section and editor in chief of TheStreet.com, Dave Kansas is the chief markets commentator and a personal finance columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the author of The Wall Street Journal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It, The Wall Street Journal's Complete Money & Investing Guidebook, and TheStreet.com Guide to Investing in the Internet Era. He lives in New York City.


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Customer Reviews

I found the book very interesting and well written.
Robert Frost
This is a great summation of the recent problems concerning the mortgage crisis and credit crunch.
R. Spell
The book drones on and on about everything you already know, or can very easily find.
Dave Walz-Burkett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Robert Frost on February 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first book I have read on my new Kindle. The author, Dave Kansas, is a former editor of the Wall Street Journal. The book is a concise and unbiased examination of what exactly has happened to the economy as well as a brief discussion on what an individual should currently do to protect their investments.

The book starts by giving a brief history of risk - specifically examining how changes in investment strategies created new risk markets and thus new avenues for profit, leading to the bundling and selling of high risk mortgages that largely kicked off the economic decline. From there proceeds a discussion of derivatives, private-equity, and leverage.

Chapter three deals with the 'canaries in the coal mine' that should have been taken note of before the collapse of Bear Stearns. Chapter four deals with the cascading impacts such as the takeover of Fannie and Freddie and the death of Lehman Brothers.

Chapter five is about where we go from here. Chapter six shifts to the individual and which types of investments are protected. Chapter seven is about debt and Chapter eight provides advice for the individual, based on their age.

Scattered throughout the book are mini-biographies of the names and faces involved, such as Timothy Geithner, Warren Buffett, and Alan Greenspan. At the end of each chapter is a summary in the form of an FAQ.

I found the book very interesting and well written. What to many would sound like a rather dry subject is given in a fast paced narrative.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Gary O. Clement on February 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
I stopped cold when I saw "The Wall Street Journal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It" on a bookstand in the Pittsburgh Airport in January 2009. Browsing through it, not only could I scarcely believe how quickly it was written and brought to market, I could barely believe how clearly it outlined our current economic environment.

Another thing became clear - that Dave Kansas, from his perch as a journalist with The Wall Street Journal, TheStreet.com, and FiLife is one of the few writers who could have written this book.

Kansas captures the historical background to the cataclysmic month of October 2008 using the recent examples of the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the Russian crisis of 1998, the U.S. internet and technology bubble of 2000-2001. More pointedly, he delves into the implosion of hedge fund Long Term Capital Management (LTCM), the shortsighted policies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the creation of, and dependence on, credit-default swaps (CDSs), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), and collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs).

Kansas's conclusion: October 2008 was predictable. In fact, many of the firms swirling at the epicenter of the current crisis knew they had serious trouble brewing, but couldn't, or wouldn't, take action to avert their fate.

In early 2009, nothing can hide how much our world and our financial markets have changed. Venerable financial firms have either ceased to exist or been swallowed up by stronger, more prudent, players. We are all left to deal with the aftermath.

We've got to deal with the aftermath as we deal with our individual and collective behavior.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By William Whipple III VINE VOICE on June 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book by Dave Kansas (formerly an editor at the Wall Street Journal, among other things) covers the financial turmoil and recession that erupted in September 2008 and continued into the next Administration.

Kansas does a good job of explaining why a speculative bubble developed. The basic ingredients were easy money, a widespread conviction that housing prices could only go up, and a willingness of banks, investors, and home buyers alike to borrow beyond their means in hopes of windfall gains. He declines to assign the blame to any particular group, e.g., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, concluding that although these quasi-governmental entities "played their part, so did the Wall Street banks that concocted investment instruments that would turn toxic."

The sequence of events in 2008 is well covered, with background information on some of the key players and layman's language explanations of the complex financial instruments that were involved, e.g., credit default swaps. Nothing really new, but this is a concise and useful summary.

Of course, the story continued beyond the cutoff point chosen for this book (apparently January 2009), and readers may be put off that major developments - such as the $787 billion stimulus bill and the prepackaged bankruptcy filings of Chrysler and General Motors - are not mentioned. Such is the inevitable consequence of getting out a book about "the greatest financial crisis of our time" (per back cover copy) so quickly.

The author's predictions for the future shape of Wall Street are rather sketchy, e.g., he foresees "a handful of behemoths and a number of minnows [specializing] in key areas such as advising on mergers or helping companies go public," with the "firms in between" struggling to survive.
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