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A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 21, 2009
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“...gives the readers a visceral sense of what it was like to work at Lehman Brothers and the fateful decisions and events that led to the company’s death spiral...”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Highly readable…A Colossal Failure of Common Sense largely rings true. It expresses the anger that many former Lehman employees still feel toward Mr. Fuld. And it convincingly characterizes the investment bank as a house divided against itself, between the bears who had foreseen bubbles and the bulls who wrongly believed that this time was different.”
“... describes a CEO acting as if his firm was too big to fail.”
—Wall Street Journal
“...poignantly told...from an insider [who] witnessed, often in amazement and disgust, the corporate dysfunction and hubristic leadership that led to [Lehman’s] demise.”
“...engaging and even funny.”
About the Author
LAWRENCE G. McDONALD is a managing director of Pangea Capital Management LP. He was, until 2008, vice president of distressed debt and convertible securities trading at Lehman Brothers. He ran an extremely successful joint venture between the firm’s fixed income and equity divisions and was one of Lehman’s most consistently profitable traders. McDonald is also cofounder of Convertbond.com, named by Forbes magazine as “Best of the Web” from 2000 to 2003, specifically citing it as the Web’s premier source for convertible securities information, valuation, and news.
PATRICK ROBINSON wrote Lone Survivor with the U.S. Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell.
From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.
Top customer reviews
Larry also gives a personal recount of his life before Lehman Brothers, and in doing so it reads like any fiction novel where you can follow the development of the protagonist and this adds an emotional element to the story - something that is not often correlated with financial deals! Larry was immersed in the main elements of banking practices that led to the financial crisis and so can give a very experienced and comprehensive recount.
For anyone wanting to learn about the financial crisis I would say this would be the perfect place to start.
That being said, the author provides a very good insider's perspective on the inner machinations of a Wall Street bank. The infighting at Lehman is unbelievable and even worse, some of the senior managers had actually anticipated and warned Fuld of the upcoming disaster to no avail. The author does a great job of shining a spotlight on the culture of the trading desks, loan originators and senior management at an investment bank.
If, however, you're looking for an insightful book on what happened to Wall Street during the 2008 financial meltdown, there are much better books. The best, in my opinion, is Andrew Ross Sorkin's "Too Big to Fail". Bethany McLean's "All the Devils are Here" is also quite qood, along with William Cohan's House of Cards (which is focused on Bear Sterns). Overall, the last third of this book provides the reader with an original perspective from someone who's future is tied to an employer led by an arrogant and aloof leader, but the first two-thirds of the book are really not worth it.
More frustrating is the author's constant insistence that he and a small group of people predicted the housing crisis and tried heroically to save the company while others put their heads in the sand. Such claims need evidence, but there is none.
There are some interesting sections but is unreadable because the author insists on returning to this self serving theme.
investment bank. It is a tale of very bright energenic people and how hubris, intimadation, excess ambition, along with industry and goverment
failure inevitably led to disaster.