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156 of 183 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Page Turner, November 18, 2009
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This review is from: Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System---and Themselves (Hardcover)
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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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 6, 2010 5:14:52 AM PST
Portis123 says:
Dont blame the shortsellers but the greedy bankers and incapable politicians who created this mess. Blaming the shortsellers is like blaming the flies that there is sh** on the street.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2011 7:22:05 AM PST
You might want to consider reading, "Lehman Brothers' Dance w/ Delusion." The book delves into Lehman's deeply rooted risk-management problems from a former managing director's and mortgage-backed bond salesman's point of view. It is a narrative of how Lehman's senior management blithely ignored the lessons from previous market crises--an unpredictable tale of how Lehman and Wall St. failed to distinguish its own delusion and went awry.
As ForeWord Clarion Review puts it: "an insider's perspective--a uniquely personal view of the underbelly of the financial world. As such, it is interesting if not compelling to see how Lehman unravels."

Posted on Jun 15, 2011 5:25:50 AM PDT
Very helpful review. I'm getting the book. "Some in Congress"? Seems to me we are ruled- not governed. I dnt vote to give the banks that lose money free money. TARP app was one page- no notary. Food stamp app- 18 pages & notorised.

Our politicians are lap dancers in 3 piece suits. It's a dog & pony show @ the Potomac Politboro for their corporate cronies IMO. But thanks for the review :)

Posted on Jul 28, 2011 8:32:41 AM PDT
C. Green says:
@Stan Dziedzic--STOP SPAMMING EVERY FINANCIAL BOOK WITH PLUGS FOR YOUR OWN BOOK. It is completely inappropriate, tacky and frankly desparate and pathetic. Market your own book elsewhere--and as someone who has read every book I can get my hands on about the 2008 meltdown, you've just ensured I will never go near your own.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 28, 2011 9:03:28 AM PDT
Alice Daly says:
Hi, C. Green.

What other book might you recommend on this topic?


Posted on Oct 6, 2013 1:13:50 PM PDT
Pilsner says:
In numerous financial collapses through the years, those who foolishly bet on unsustainable booms afterward try to shift blame for their foolishness onto the short sellers. Short sellers predict busts, and profit from them, but they do not cause collapses of healthy markets. They are the messengers, the ones who say that the emperor has no clothes. It is easy to blame the messenger - but not accurate.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 26, 2014 3:25:06 AM PDT
Obion1884 says:
Bravo. Sorkin, at base doesn't get the big picture. Even a cursory review of his background shows neither practical experience nor academic credentials. The latter may not count for all that much but it might, just might have enabled him to read a Balance Sheet and P & L.
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