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Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street Hardcover – May 12, 2009
"Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002)" by David Sedaris
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Wall Street Journal reporter Kelly expands on her 2008 three-part series, written just two and a half months after the collapse of financial giant Bear Stearns, with an hour-by-hour account of the crisis that goes behind the stock prices and into the meeting rooms of top executives as the crisis comes into horrifying focus. A kind of "dysfunctional family, driven by greed and a complex code of internal politics," Kelly expertly breaks down Bear's vulnerability as a leader in mortgage-backed securities, with "one of the heaviest debt loads of any firm on the Street." As word got out that the firm was in trouble, a wave of panic selling sent the stock plummeting to $60 on the second day of the crisis (after securing Federal Reserve funding) only to bottom out at two dollars a share in fire-house-sale offer from J.P. Morgan. Enlivened by graphic descriptions of executive disarray and cameo profiles of scrambling financiers as they come to appreciate the magnitude of the disaster they unleashed (COO Friedman, when asked by NY Fed Geithner how bad it was, answered "Very. End of the world bad."), this riveting account puts the ensuing worldwide financial crises in stark perspective.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most of it is just sensational journalism and all you read is they have meetings to discuss merger with mostly JP and Flowers.
There is nothing you will gain from this book that you haven't already read in the newspapers or heard about it in the news. Oh right, this book is a compilation of WSJ articles.
Although I do like the background stories of the heads of Bear, the background on Dimon (JP's CEO) was actually the most fascinating. However, having said this, it really took me out of the current happenings when they go back into the past unexpectedly. I say 50% of the book comprise of these background stories so basically you're left with only 100 or so pages of the current fiasco.
I would think the most important thing to get out of a book like this is why they failed and so gain some insight and perhaps avoid such future situations. But there is nothing on this. It was basically, boom they need money to payoff clients and they don't have it. Consumer confidence perhaps? Whatever it may be, you won't get it from this book.
This book by Kate Kelly, unlike a number of other business books lately, is carefully and well written. Not a word is wasted. With sparse, direct and blunt prose, we get a contoured sense of many of the key players not only at Bear but also we get a sense of Paulson, Geither and Bernanke.
The writing is stark and unadorned, but it serves its purpose, and the ultimate effect is that she has authored a book that literally is hard to put down.
An important contribution to the rapidly growing library that will allow us to get a better understanding of our current financial crisis.
Although I enjoyed reading this book, I would recommend it only for those looking for a fast and intense read.