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The Sellout: How Three Decades of Wall Street Greed and Government Mismanagement Destroyed the Global Financial System Hardcover – November 3, 2009
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The most comprehensive anecdotal account to date of the crisis.... Gasparino cuts his way through Wall Street rhetoric and in the process uncovers in considerable detail how blind profit-making ambition led to the destruction of the markets. (New York Review of Books)
“Gasparino has consistently broken news on some of the biggest financial scandals of recent years, including the fall of Martha Stewart, Henry Blodget, and Jack Grubman. As anyone who reads the business pages knows, Charlie is one of the best reporters in the field.” (Mark Whitaker, former editor, Newsweek)
“Gasparino describes, in page-turning detail, a Wall Street world of ruthless financial titans.… No collection of courtroom documents will ever tell the story…as well as Mr. Gasparino does.” (Wall Street Journal, on King of the Club)
“A tough outsider willing to go to battle with anyone--colleague or contact-in pursuit of the story.” (Financial Times)
“An especially aggressive reporter.” (Vanity Fair)
“Gasparino is credited with breaking some of the more titillating tales of Wall Street misconduct.” (New York Post)
“Born in the Bronx to a construction worker and a housewife, Gasparino has risen from his working-class roots to become one of the most influential business reporters at work today.” (PR Week)
“Charles Gasparino sees the guts of Wall Street and the wreckage it leaves behind, day in and day out.” (San Antonio Express-News)
From the Back Cover
The definitive account of Wall Street's stunning collapse
From critically acclaimed investigative journalist and CNBC personality Charles Gasparino comes a sweeping examination of the most recent volatile, anxiety-ridden era in our nation's socioeconomic history. The Sellout traces the implosion of the financial services business back to its roots in the late 1970s when Wall Street embraced a new business model predicated on taking enormous risks. It shows how a backwater business involving the trading of risky bonds packed with mortgages showered countless billions in profits on the financial industry but sowed the seeds of its ultimate demise. Gasparino walks readers through Wall Street's three-decades' love affair with risk, revealing a trail of culpability—from the government bureaucrats who crafted housing policies that encouraged homeownership, to the Wall Street firms that underwrote and invested in risky debt, to the mortgage sellers who handed out loans to people without the financial wherewithal to pay them back, to the homeowners who became convinced they could afford mansions on blue-collar wages. The ongoing tumult in financial markets and the global economy began when some of our most esteemed financial institutions, our government, and even average citizens abdicated their collective responsibilities, eventually selling out investors and selling off the American Dream itself.
In the spirit of classics such as Barbarians at the Gate and Liar's Poker, this page-turning narrative captures how avarice, arrogance, and sheer stupidity eroded Wall Street's dominance and profoundly weakened the financial security of millions of middle-class Americans. Eye-opening and engrossing, The Sellout provides the most thorough investigation to date of this latest gilded era.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's almost impossible to understand what happened on Wall Street in 2007 and 2008 without going back in time to the 1970s, the era in which investment banking changed forever. And that's what Gasparino does in this book, making it one of the most valuable books about the financial crisis published so far that the general reader is likely to find. Its nature is likely to come as a surprise to anyone who is familiar with the author only from his television appearances; while it has all the gossipy insights into Wall Street that Gasparino has always delivered (including Jimmy Cayne, the former CEO of Bear Stearns, offering him what Cayne described as a joint in an elevator one day...), it thankfully goes well beyond that. The scandalous tales about daily life on the Street are there to entertain and amuse us, sure, (along with a reasonable degree of self-promotion) but the author combines that with solid analysis and insight into the role played by the evolution of structured finance and the failures of risk management.
Most significantly, Gasparino pays attention to history, specifically to the way that a handful of bond market honchos transformed the mortgage lending market from a local business into a Wall Street affair. He weaves together the strands of the narrative deftly, showing how politics in Washington and greed on Wall Street combined to turbo-charge the level of risk-taking and then a series of risk-management failures. Andrew Ross Sorkin's book,[...] is more elegantly written and works as a great chronicle of the months that lay between the collapse of Bear Stearns and the near-apocalypse of September 2008, six months later, but a lot of the historical context needed to understand why those events unfolded as they did is missing.Read more ›
I think Gasparino covered most of the major issues, the lack of mark-to-market accounting, the hubris, and most importantly stupid assumption that many of us tried to warn various financial institutions was incorreect (that house prices can and do go down, but in 2004-2007 most mortgage involved people had almost a Jonestown belief that it couldn't happen and anyone who thought it could was defective). He gets it right that many of us were of the belief that Greenspans last act of integrity was in 1995 when he made his irrational exhuberance speach.Read more ›
Charlie Gasparino is like the TMZ silo of CNBC. He may not be a pure gossip columnist, but the fact that some of what he reports is true does not make it a whole lot more compelling than Entertainment Tonight or E! True Hollywood Story. Gasparino is a bulldog, and he has an impressive career resume. I actually thought his last book (King of the Hill, about former NYSE head, Dick Grasso) was quite good. For some reason, The Sellout left me wanting more.
There is the possibility that I am becoming fatigued. I have read no less than 10,000 pages thus far about the economic crisis of 2008, and the book I read immediately before Gasparino's was also 500 pages (though far, far better). I found The Sellout to be incredibly redundant, and staggering in its over-simplification of nearly everything he attempts to describe. The book's basis thesis is that Wall Street has been increasing its risk and leverage levels for decades (an incontestible fact), and that Wall Street has been "bailed out" by the Fed and the Treasury before (though despite over 200 references to the Long Term Capital Management escapade of 1998 - no joke - it is incredible how unsuccessful he is in actually connecting the dots to the 2008 meltdown).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent Book - After reading this, no one could ever support Hillary or the Obama Administration. They were watching this horrible event from an overhead drone broadcasting live... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ronald E. Underwood
Maybe not the easiest read, but a very good read - probably should be required reading. One of the things mentioned that I remember most is de-bunking that some of these people... Read morePublished 7 months ago by E. Alexander
The best book about what really happened in 07-08. This was not about anything thing greed and ego.Published 22 months ago by Kindle Customer
I enjoyed this book it gives a great time line and fact file on the immense excess of these investment crooks.It seems the only thing bigger than their pay was their egos!Published 23 months ago by John E
Educating yet read like a novel. Gasp'o has a unique sense of what is meaningful and real. I'll look at his other works.Published 24 months ago by Benjamin