Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $17.95
  • Save: $2.39 (13%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
House of Cards: A Tale of... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street Paperback – February 9, 2010

3.5 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews

See all 16 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$15.56
$2.76 $0.01

Get unlimited access to the world's best-selling magazines
One low monthly price, 100s of your favorite titles. > Try Texture FREE
$15.56 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street
  • +
  • Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System--and Themselves
  • +
  • The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine
Total price: $35.27
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From AudioFile

CNBC financial reporter Cohan's account of the sudden collapse of the Wall Street firm Bear Stearns last March is largely interview based. This fine production is undoubtedly only the first of many books on the current market crisis, and Alan Sklar is the perfect narrator for conveying the tough vernacularism of these (almost-entirely) male voices. The cast is large, hard to keep track of, and through the book's long first part--a "minute-by-minute" reconstruction of the collapse--each voice recounts a variation on the same basic epiphany: "We're finished." The voices merge into one, and what comes across most distinctly is Sklar's rendition of the Wall Street personality: brusque, cynical, assured to the point of arrogance--the voice of hubris. D.A.W. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Engrossing . . . a parable about how the second Gilded Age came slamming to a fast and furious end. . . . Riveting, edge-of-the-seat reading.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
 
“Cohan's epic account chronicles a watershed moment in Wall Street history.” —The Boston Globe
 
"Masterfully reported. . . . [Cohan] does a brilliant job of sketching in the eccentric, vulgar, greedy, profane and coarse individuals who ignored all these warnings to their own profit and the ruin of so many others."--Los Angeles Times
 
"A masterly reconstruction of Bear Stearns’ implosion—a tumultuous episode in Wall Street history that still reverberates throughout our economy today. . . . First drafts of history don't get much better than this." —Bloomberg News
 
“This book is so rich, so flavorful, so instructive, and so fully and compelling cast that a reviewer hardly knows where to begin.” —The New York Observer
 
"Cohan vividly documents the mix of arrogance, greed, recklessness, and pettiness that took down the 86-year-old brokerage house and then the entire economy. It's a page-turner . . . offering both a seemingly comprehensive understanding of the business and wide access to insiders. . . . Hard to put down." —BusinessWeek
 
"[A]n authoritative, blow-by-blow account of the collapse of Bear Stearns." —The Washington Post
 
“Cohen’s autopsy uncovers all the symptoms of a walking disaster.” —Newsweek  
 
"A riveting blow-by-blow account." —The Economist
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1 Reprint edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767930894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767930895
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a banker for 20 years and have specific experience with asset backed securities so I think I am better prepared to read this book than most, but certainly not all, people.

Cohan writes with great flair and a style best compared to celebrity profiles in Vanity Fair. He clearly had extraordinary access to former BSC execs, especially Paul Friedman and Jimmy Cayne. It seems like one of these two is speaking in verbatim quote most of the time. I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. That said, I'm not comfortable with the book. It's half the story selected because the bits make for a dishy, dirt rich read. To me, Cohan was more concerned about writing a best-seller than he was about telling the whole story in some sort of reasonable context.

I agree with the reviewer that said the book was rushed into print. The editing, especially in the second half is pretty bad. There are repeated references to antecedent events that must have ended up edited out, e.g. a reference to "the Tuesday 'Times' article" when there was no prior mention of any such article- stuff like that. There are many occasions where the events are conformed to the narrative and Cohan bounces around in time and sequence and new players come into the story seemingly out of nowhere.

I also got the feeling Cohan wasn't a master of his subject matter at times and "blew through" an event or key concept. If I were in the audience and Cohan was presenting his book, my hand would have gone up and I would have said, "Wait a second, . . ."

The first third of the book covers the last 10 days of the firm and spends a majority of its time talking about the repo market, without any explanation of how the market works or what its abundant jargon translates into English as.
Read more ›
15 Comments 444 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
"House of Cards" reports on the collapse of the investment banking house Bear Stearns (America's fifth-largest investment bank), and the beginning of the worst banking crisis since the Great Depression. Cohan's background as an investment banker allows him to cut through the complexity to explain what happened in simple, clear terms.

Bear Stearns had survived every crisis of the 20th century, including the Great Depression - without a single losing quarter - until the end of 2007. In 1997, Bear Stearns had helped pioneer the subprime mortgage-backed security by serving as co-underwriter on a $385 million offering. By the mid-2000s, it was the market leader in this segment.

The focus of the book is the last ten days of Bear Stearns, leading up to its absorption by J.P. Morgan at a fire-sale price ($10/share, down from $167; less than the value of its $1.5 billion office building), greased by $30 billion in Federal Reserve funds. (The Fed was worried that a bankruptcy of Bear Stearns could wreak fiscal havoc around the world.)

Just a year earlier it had been identified as "America's most admired securities firm" by Fortune magazine; in 2006 its Asset Management fees had reached $335 million. Bonuses were in the 8-figure range. Unfortunately, it was also the most heavily invested in mortgage-backed securities. Bear Stearns, like its competitors, financed itself with oversight sources (the cheapest source).

However, when analysts began questioning Bear's viability, given its shaky mix of assets, continued financing for Bear dried up, and it toppled. Amazingly, its chairman was too buy playing bridge and golf to get involved until too late; earlier he had forced out the only many who understood what was going on.
Read more ›
9 Comments 147 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After having much enjoyed books like Liar's Poker and Barbarians at the Gate, I had high hopes for this book, and was much disappointed. It seems like a very good book is lurking within.
I had a summer job on a trading desk and have an MBA, so I have some sense of how the relevant parts of a firm like Bear function. I did not learn more and I think any one with less background would learn less.
To list some things that I think I (and others) might want to know:
1. If Bear Stearns has $17 billion in cash (liquid assets), why is it borrowing about $30 billion every *day*? From whom? Why? What does a firm like Bear do with $30 (or 20 or 40) billion of cash? The author reports how firms like Bear and Goldman do this, but never explains why. He lists the names of firms that supply said cash, but just explains that some banks have deposits (e.g. a B of A type firm) but others like Bear doesn't. Even this explanation doesn't hold much water -- why are Citi and B of A in such trouble then?
2. There is no back story about Bear. It was known as a bare knuckles firm. It's such a contrast to Liar's Poker and Barbarians. I'd argue that it's pretty hard to understand what happened at Bear, etc., if you don't have some sense of what traders do and what a trading desk like. He just tosses in parenthetical conversations with "hey, how are we doing" or "I know things are bad when traders start lying to me", but it would be like trying to understand Mick Jagger without understanding what it's like to be a Rolling Stone. (I'm not saying traders are rock stars, but to cite another example, consider Bonfire of the Vanities -- they do live a different reality than most of us, when they may gamble $500 million or the like, or take home $25 million in salary one year).
3.
Read more ›
1 Comment 50 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street