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on August 20, 2015
There is probably no better book on the financial crisis. The authors leave no stone unturned and manage to go into great detail without being tedious or boring. Best of all, rather than slant the story in favor of one causal hypothesis or another, they present such a wealth of data about who did what, and when, that readers can paint their own picture of what happened.

That said, the word “devils” in the title is misleading. It turns out to be a partial quotation from Shakespeare’s The Tempest: “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.” In the context of the play, a shipwrecked mariner is bemoaning the intensity of a storm (and certainly the financial crisis was a storm) but for those unfamiliar with the allusion, it gives the implication that the actors in the financial crisis were devils – something that the book makes clear isn’t true.

Despite the catchy title, the story is not about devils. As bad, weak, greedy and stupid as some of the players were, the outcome was clearly the result of groupthink, incestuous amplification, or perhaps what author Diane Vaughan called the social normalization of deviance. Everybody got on the same bandwagon, including the federal government. Governmental mandates and quasi-governmental organizations like Fannie Mae were particularly instrumental in driving the buildup of what later became toxic assets.

In summary, if you want to understand the financial crisis and you’re not on a witch hunt, this book is for you.
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on August 15, 2017
A good discussion of the prelude to the crisis and its early days, but it seems the authors felt it was more important to group similar topics by chapter without as much care being taken to make the timeline of all of these inter-weaving events as clear. Frequently the discussion will say things like "In March..." without clarifying the year being discussed and that can be confusing with all of the backtracking going on. The problem is further magnified when you get into the events immediately preceding the crisis. Overall though, a good window into the events and decisions that helped bring about the 2008 crisis.
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on January 19, 2015
I liked the book so much I bought it twice. Well, I guess in reality I read it and proceeded to forget what I read and inadvertently bought it a second time about a year after the first time. That could be because there were so many details, so many characters, so many events that I had managed to forget they were all in the same book. The histories of each company or character are brief and run together so that you may remember some names and recall that specific ones were the "bad guys," but it might take a second reading to remember why they were the "bad guys."

I don't recommend that you buy the book twice, but reading it twice is probably a very good idea just so you can remember who did what to whom.
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on May 1, 2011
I've read a number of books about the recent housing crash, and this book is by far the best. Some reviews have said that it doesn't assign blame. I'm not sure what they were reading, because there is plenty of blame to go around from Wall Street to the rating agencies to Fanny & Freddie to our elected representatives to the regulators... and let's not forget that person you see each morning in the mirror. There's plenty of blame to go around.

This book starts 30 years ago and shows the events and players involved in building the path to this crash. If you already have a simple answer in your head as to who to blame, then move on. This book is not for you. But if you really want to understand the background, then this is for you.

Yes there are a few errors, but nothing significant enough to keep you from understanding and getting the key points. It will help you understand the interplay between wall street, banks, mortgage companies (and their tricks), Fannie & Freddie, the highly structured derivatives, and hopefully you will be much smarter in dealing with some of these organizations in the future.

Highly recommended.
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on May 15, 2014
A very entertaining and insightful book. Similar in subject matter to Michael Lewis's "The Big Short", but this author approaches the Great Crash from the higher-level perspective of the Washington regulators and policymakers. Reading about the near-mutinous activities of the Federal regulators and certain high-level government officials leaves one with serious concerns about the systemic issues with which our regulatory framework is fraught. The sad fact is, at the end of this book, one sees that nothing has changed--and in fact the gates have been thrown open by the Federal government for significantly worse crashes in the future. This book is the perfect complement to Michael Lewis's book and just as important for policymakers to study.
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on March 18, 2018
Excellent book detailing the rise and fall of subprime mortgage lending. How once again financial markets spin out of control when they are allowed to manufacture complex derivative products and promote them as virtually risk free investments.

The best book thus far I’ve read on the crash of 2008
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on April 24, 2011
To start with I really dont know much about wallstreet. The reason I picked up this book is cause I read a interesting article about a group of investors hitting it big around the time of the housing bubble. I thought the article was interesting but I didnt really have a clue about the lingo they were using or understand the story in its entirety. Also I have many friends that lost a lot of money because of the housing market. I really liked this book mainly because it was written for people like me who have no clue how wallstreet works. I have always had this concept that wallstreet is like gambling. After reading this book,,,I can say Im a stronger believer in those words now. Its just like vegas,,,only the house really wins,,,everyone else is just daydreaming. I found that the title is very strong statement about everyone who stole money in wallstreet, but the actual book didnt attack anyone. If anything it kind of let everyone off easy. Its like saying Joe stole a lot of money and left a lot of people homeless,,,but he didnt really know what he was doing so joe is a "ok" kind of guy. maybe its just my upbringing. I wasnt born in the states. so the concept of giving someone my money so it can work for me and he can keep me wealthy is very foreign to me. not to mention i wouldnt know what to do if someone gave me a call letting me know they lost all my money. still i understand that its impossible to point the finger at everyone who had to do with the problem. or to put the blame on just a small amount of people. In the end I think the book was laid out well. Telling you a interesting story and in the end letting you decide for yourself. I liked it,,,,im not sure its worth the price I paid. Taking off a couple of bucks would make it right.
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on August 18, 2013
I have read many books on this subject and I have to say that one is one of the best I've read.
It takes you back to the beginning, the unknown beginning of the entire mess. This solid narrative is well written and well arraigned in the way that each piece Leeds into one another to propeller the story along as if it were a tout and gripping spy novel and hey why not, the details uncovered here are every bit as suspenseful as the a good thriller.
When I was looking for a another book to read after The Big Short (which was good and I do have a review of) I wanted something with a little more detail. I had previously read Too Big To Fail after I watched the HBO original movie and it was great I thought but it focused mainly on what the government did to save the world and I wanted more about what had led to the government having to save the world. All the Devils are Here is almost exactly what I was looking for. It has all the detail leading up to the crises and then sort of just drops off and assumes I guess that you have watched the news or read another book. If you want a complete look then I you have to read two books. I would recommend that you read All the Devils are Here to get the back ground and then read Too Big To Fail to get the details of the crises itself and even then the story (since its so big) is not complete.

I liked this book earnestly but I am torn between the four star rating that I gave it and three stars. I wish I could do three and a half. I ultimately gave it four because I rated the book on what it is and not why I wanted to be.
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on December 8, 2014
Phenomenal job by the co-authors! There was no shortage of players in the financial debacles of the the late 20th/early 21st century. Most of them were well covered by this fast-paced tome. There were more golden parachutes than prison sentences which should be no surprise for those who understand how our legal system works. Even so, there was some justice in the process for all but the "little guy" who lost his home or life savings or both. The book pulls no punches and appears to be well-researched and worth the price of admission.
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This book is an excellent reference book on the near collapse of the U.S. Economic system . Not easy to read because it is packed with detailed information. Clearly there were three factors that led the to catastrophe - A) Greed in the financial services industry, B) Homeowners/Buyers not even trying to understand the financial contracts that they were agreeing to, and C) the Government acting as a catalyst to encourage people to buy houses AND not adequately regulating the financial services industry. One of the best financial books I read in a long time...
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