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When Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, was appointed in 2006 to become the nation's next Secretary of the Treasury, he knew that his move from Wall Street to Washington would be daunting and challenging. But Paulson had no idea that a year later, he would find himself at the very epicenter of the world's most cataclysmic financial crisis since the Great Depres When Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, was appointed in 2006 to become the nation's next Secretary of the Treasury, he knew that his move from Wall Street to Washington would be daunting and challenging. But Paulson had no idea that a year later, he would find himself at the very epicenter of the world's most cataclysmic financial crisis since the Great Depression. Major institutions including Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup, among others-all steeped in rich, longstanding tradition-literally teetered at the edge of collapse. Panic ensnared international markets. Worst of all, the credit crisis spread to all parts of the U.S. economy and grew more ominous with each passing day, destroying jobs across America and undermining the financial security millions of families had spent their lifetimes building. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime economic nightmare. Events no one had thought possible were happening in quick succession, and people all over the globe were terrified that the continuing downward spiral would bring unprecedented chaos. All eyes turned to the United States Treasury Secretary to avert the disaster. This, then, is Hank Paulson's first-person account. From the man who was in the very middle of this perfect economic storm, ON THE BRINK is Paulson's fast-paced retelling of the key decisions that had to be made with lightning speed. Paulson puts the reader in the room for all the intense moments as he addressed urgent market conditions, weighed critical decisions, and debated policy and economic considerations with of all the notable players-including the CEOs of top Wall Street firms as well as Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, Sheila Bair, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, and then-President George W. Bush. More than an account about numbers and credit risks gone bad, ON THE BRINK is an extraordinary story about people and politics-all brought together during the world's impending financial Armageddon.


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When Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, was appointed in 2006 to become the nation's next Secretary of the Treasury, he knew that his move from Wall Street to Washington would be daunting and challenging. But Paulson had no idea that a year later, he would find himself at the very epicenter of the world's most cataclysmic financial crisis since the Great Depres When Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, was appointed in 2006 to become the nation's next Secretary of the Treasury, he knew that his move from Wall Street to Washington would be daunting and challenging. But Paulson had no idea that a year later, he would find himself at the very epicenter of the world's most cataclysmic financial crisis since the Great Depression. Major institutions including Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup, among others-all steeped in rich, longstanding tradition-literally teetered at the edge of collapse. Panic ensnared international markets. Worst of all, the credit crisis spread to all parts of the U.S. economy and grew more ominous with each passing day, destroying jobs across America and undermining the financial security millions of families had spent their lifetimes building. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime economic nightmare. Events no one had thought possible were happening in quick succession, and people all over the globe were terrified that the continuing downward spiral would bring unprecedented chaos. All eyes turned to the United States Treasury Secretary to avert the disaster. This, then, is Hank Paulson's first-person account. From the man who was in the very middle of this perfect economic storm, ON THE BRINK is Paulson's fast-paced retelling of the key decisions that had to be made with lightning speed. Paulson puts the reader in the room for all the intense moments as he addressed urgent market conditions, weighed critical decisions, and debated policy and economic considerations with of all the notable players-including the CEOs of top Wall Street firms as well as Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, Sheila Bair, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, and then-President George W. Bush. More than an account about numbers and credit risks gone bad, ON THE BRINK is an extraordinary story about people and politics-all brought together during the world's impending financial Armageddon.

30 review for On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System

  1. 5 out of 5

    Yaboimazz

    ya boi read dis book right afta mah man tim geithners epic stress test. dis dont hold watah ta geitners tour da force, but paulson does manage ta give is own unique viewpoint of da avents of da 2008 economic meltdown , nom sayin? ya may not digg was hes all about, but mah boi hank lays it down on da line n manages ta put da bush administration in a brand new light. check it out.. . .

  2. 5 out of 5

    William Breakstone

    BOOK REVIEW ON THE BRINK: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System by Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Business Plus, Hachette Book Group, 2010 Reviewed by Bill Breakstone, Somers, NY, May 22, 2010 This is more or less the 12th book I’ve read about the Financial Crisis of 2007—2009. It’s no doubt the last I’ll undertake, but it will have to do for now. I need a break, and have a half-dozen volumes of fiction, biographies and historical prize-winners that I’m looking forward to readi BOOK REVIEW ON THE BRINK: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System by Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Business Plus, Hachette Book Group, 2010 Reviewed by Bill Breakstone, Somers, NY, May 22, 2010 This is more or less the 12th book I’ve read about the Financial Crisis of 2007—2009. It’s no doubt the last I’ll undertake, but it will have to do for now. I need a break, and have a half-dozen volumes of fiction, biographies and historical prize-winners that I’m looking forward to reading in the interim. There have been many accounts of the financial crisis written over the past two or three years, most authored by financial writers and economists, and all both interesting and authoritative. The major decision-makers who dealt with the pending collapse of our financial system have yet to be heard from, as most are still in policy-making positions in government. [I discount Alan Greenspan’s book, as he had departed from decision-making at the Fed well before the crisis developed.] The singular exception to date is Henry Paulson’s book, “On the Brink.” The former Secretary of the Treasury was at the center of the financial storm, along with Fed Chair Ben Bernanke and New York Fed President Tim Geithner, who would succeed Paulson as the new Treasury Secretary in the Obama Administration. All of the other accounts of the crisis refer to Paulson’s role to one extent or another, so this book offers the reader to hear in the first person singular a retelling of the events. Much is repetitive, but the perspective here is the point, and the reader is afforded the opportunity to gain a glimpse of an extraordinary leader, acting in a time of extreme crisis, as few have had to face in public office. What I found most interesting in Paulson’s book was the picture that emerges of the man himself. His background as a giant in the finance industry is well-known to anyone familiar with Wall Street, and his public service record has been widely written about in print and discussed in the media. His personal life has received far less attention, lacking as yet a biography. Paulson quite openly describes himself in these pages— his early family life; his spiritual beliefs; his love of, and shared interests with, his wife Wendy and their children; his interest in nature and wildlife; and his and Wendy’s total dedication to the conservation movement. These are all qualities right there for the reader to discover through the author’s own words. Yet there are other personal traits that become accessible from reading how Paulson dealt with the challenges that he and his associates faced—his relationships with President Bush and the two Presidential candidates McCain and Obama; his relentless work with Congressional leaders in bringing various remedies into effect; and his over-riding dedication to national interests above partisan politics. [At no point in reading the book do his political leanings stand out. That he was a fiscal conservative by nature there is no doubt. But he was not locked into an ideological straightjacket.] The picture that emerges is that of an intensely dedicated public servant; a highly sensitive and feeling human being; a person of immense energy and stamina, though at times the workload had direct and negative physical consequences; and a complete team player whose consultations and problem solving coordination with Ben Bernancke and Tim Geithner were essential in avoiding financial Armageddon. Paulson was widely criticized for changing directions in midstream on many occasions, especially regarding his position on “moral hazard.” Those criticisms were well founded, and Paulson does not argue that mistakes were not made; rather, to his credit, he admits them. One particular mistake was in overlooking or downplaying the emerging public disgust with Wall Street compensation. Perhaps this is far easier to see in hindsight than it was for Paulson and other policy makers to focus in on in real time. But he does hint that he should have had more insight into what was becoming more and more evident as the crisis deepened. In formulating the TARP Program, congressional leaders pressed Paulson, Bernancke and Geithner for limits on executive compensation for employees of participating institutions. The compromise that was eventually reached banned “golden parachutes” for executives of failed companies. But nothing was included in the provisions regarding bonus compensation, and eventual revelations of multi-million dollar payouts to executives at AIG, BofA, Merrill Lynch and other TARP participants, resulted in a public outcry that continues to this day, with ramifications that have turned a great portion of American society against banking interests and Wall Street in general. Now, if one looks back to those bleak days in September of 2008, it would seem that with the continued survival of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs very much at stake, Paulson et. al. had the cards in their deck! Yet they opposed restrictions on executive compensation on the grounds that limiting such would dissuade institutions from participating in the Program, and they deemed maximum participation as essential. With these two giant financial institutions dying on the vine, why did Paulson not think that the bargaining chips were not on his side of the table? So, mistakes were made. Nonetheless, the success that Paulson, Bernanke and Geithner achieved in avoiding a world financial meltdown is surely deserving of thanks from every American, regardless of their political persuasions. This is the main thread that emerges from “On the Brink.”

  3. 4 out of 5

    Pavlo Illiashenko

    There are three types of crisis-history-books: macro stories (why it had happened in terms of macroeconomics); third-party-for-broad-public-storytelling (usually written by journalists for non-economists) and first-hand-reminiscences (story by real actors, usually for the broad public). If your interest in topic is superficial, you should read something from second category. Probably, "The End of Wall Street" by Roger Lowenstein. If you'd like to dig deeper, then it is better to make it through "m There are three types of crisis-history-books: macro stories (why it had happened in terms of macroeconomics); third-party-for-broad-public-storytelling (usually written by journalists for non-economists) and first-hand-reminiscences (story by real actors, usually for the broad public). If your interest in topic is superficial, you should read something from second category. Probably, "The End of Wall Street" by Roger Lowenstein. If you'd like to dig deeper, then it is better to make it through "macro" first and "first-hand-experience" later (and "On the Brink" is the best sample of this second step).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    Leaving aside whether Paulson did the right thing or not, my major issue with this book is it almost exclusively based on Paulson's memory, and the memory of "others." There is no bibliography. There are no sources. No datebook. No call sheets. For a non-fiction book about an important event with a massive paper trail, this book stands as an unbelievable, astonishing feat of memory. While I put some stock in the whole idea of he lived through it, he'll remember a lot, not to the extent it would Leaving aside whether Paulson did the right thing or not, my major issue with this book is it almost exclusively based on Paulson's memory, and the memory of "others." There is no bibliography. There are no sources. No datebook. No call sheets. For a non-fiction book about an important event with a massive paper trail, this book stands as an unbelievable, astonishing feat of memory. While I put some stock in the whole idea of he lived through it, he'll remember a lot, not to the extent it would fill a 500-page book. I'd let Paulson off the hook a little on this point, if the book wasn't structured as a day-by-day. Even if Paulson does remember everything accurately in this entire book, I don't know that I'm willing to believe he didn't consult documents to verify information. I would think it would be important to corroborate more facts, dates and times against other sources, during an important time in US and global financial markets. While I don't believe Paulson is knowingly lying in the book, a reader has to read it as he is an unreliable narrator. That makes this book a strange document. (I didn't read this in a day, like I've lied to GR. I don't note the days I start books. I put this down for months on end. I can't even guess how long it took me.)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Richard Wagaman

    I can't help but consider Paulson to be a protected elite. America is not supposed to have "protected elites". Since the market crash of 2007-2009 if Paulson did what several people have said he--lied to Congress--and then said the key Wall Street Insiders the truth, he should be in Jail!

  6. 4 out of 5

    George

    a great book describing the financial crisis, even though I lived through it, it helped me understand the why. I did watch Too big to Fail, and even though what was in there is covered in the book, many of the things in the movie were compressed to fit.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    I just re-read this one because I am trying to find the best post-crisis memoir to assign to my class and this may be one (the contenders are Sheila Bair and Tim Geithner). I think I may like this one the best (especially after the re-reading) because Paulson was such a banking industry insider before and had so much power as a regulator that the perspective is a good one. He feels so bad for the bankers. And he just does not at all seem to feel bad for the mortgage holders that are getting fore I just re-read this one because I am trying to find the best post-crisis memoir to assign to my class and this may be one (the contenders are Sheila Bair and Tim Geithner). I think I may like this one the best (especially after the re-reading) because Paulson was such a banking industry insider before and had so much power as a regulator that the perspective is a good one. He feels so bad for the bankers. And he just does not at all seem to feel bad for the mortgage holders that are getting foreclosed on. Yet he's such a down to earth guy. You like him by the end, but 10 years after the crisis I really wonder what it would have looked like to have another man or woman at the helm--maybe a Liz Warren or a Sheila Bair or any old reformer who while looking at a banking collapse would have thought first about the people and not the banks.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ietrio

    A true visionary! If men like him would not handle the printing press in such agile ways how could Americans continue producing tanks and bombs for the rest of the World? How could the President be able to kill so many terrorists if he were to use his own earnings to buy drones?

  9. 5 out of 5

    karl

    Reading this book I became aware how naïve I must have been back especially in 2008 as the financial system in the US lurched from crisis to crisis realizing now that there was so much work going on behind the scenes by collaborative teams from Treasury-Fed-Comptroller-SEC-FDIC and House and Senate. Paulson’s book reads almost like a day by day blow of events from 2007 through the handoff January 20, 2009 to the Obama team. Surprisingly, reading it often got me excited – like a good novel. My onl Reading this book I became aware how naïve I must have been back especially in 2008 as the financial system in the US lurched from crisis to crisis realizing now that there was so much work going on behind the scenes by collaborative teams from Treasury-Fed-Comptroller-SEC-FDIC and House and Senate. Paulson’s book reads almost like a day by day blow of events from 2007 through the handoff January 20, 2009 to the Obama team. Surprisingly, reading it often got me excited – like a good novel. My only critique is Paulson is too nice to too many folks. Possibly Senator Dodd or Governor Palin got itsy bitsy slights, but he had nothing but good things to say about a huge cast of characters – from Bush to Bernanke. I finished the book reflecting that maybe I was too partisan during that time period sitting from so far away from the action and relying mostly on WSJ and CNBC for tid bits. I think it is too easy (at least for me it was) to get sucked in to believing laissez faire has to be followed at all costs (good bye AIG, good bye ML, good bye Fannie, good by GM, good bye Citi) or that folks like Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi are evil (and then you read Paulson talking about good were the intentions and how hard they worked to get legislation through that was important). My biggest surprise was how many telephone calls Paulson had to make daily (one page shows his call log for one day), how often he worked (and well) with Tim and Ben, and how “good” the big bank CEO’s were in letting the Fed-Treasury cram down Government money on them. You wonder if anyone other than Paulson could have pulled it off? I do believe there were systemic risks in the system. I think the crisis would have been worse had the Fed and Treasury not pushed as hard. I am glad that crisis is behind us, and we can back to shrinking the role of the government, and shrinking the leverage and risk taking of not just financial institutions, but also of individuals who borrow.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John

    I resisted the impulse to shell out 30 bucks and buy the hardcover when it first came out. As a bargain bin special for $8 one year later, I am satisfied that I received my money's worth. Books like this have a tendency towards self-justification with limited admissions of error or bad judgement. The value of this book is its portrayal of the sheer panic and confusion that racked global financial markets. While Paulson confidently traces his career from Darthmouth to Harvard Biz to Wall Street a I resisted the impulse to shell out 30 bucks and buy the hardcover when it first came out. As a bargain bin special for $8 one year later, I am satisfied that I received my money's worth. Books like this have a tendency towards self-justification with limited admissions of error or bad judgement. The value of this book is its portrayal of the sheer panic and confusion that racked global financial markets. While Paulson confidently traces his career from Darthmouth to Harvard Biz to Wall Street amassing massive personal wealth and leapfrogging John Corzine to take over Goldman Sachs, he confesses that the financial crisis humbled him. He comes across as a frantic, hyperactive fireman trying to extinguish a forest fire with a garden hose. His perspectives on the political infighting, finger pointing and fragile egos along the New York/Washington DC corridor are quite engaging. Despite his treatment in the press and the looming judgement of history (i.e. the growing consensus that he should have bailed out Lehman Brothers before AIG), Paulson shows a very human side. The Christian Scientist who needs 8 hours of sleep every night and loves to view wild birds in natural habitats can steamroll his way through the Federal Bureaucracy, Congress and Wall Street to get things done. It is troubling to think what might have happened if Bush had appointed a more cautious Treasury Secretary who could not forge allliances with the likes of Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner. Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank. History will judge Paulson somewhat harshly but it becomes easier to forget how panicked we all felt back in the fall of 2008 as the world stared into a financial abyss. This guy jumped into the ring and gave it his best shot.

  11. 5 out of 5

    evan pon

    It took a long time to read this book. The material was interesting - it was great to see what was happening behind closed doors during the financial crisis. It definitely gave me a new perspective on a variety of events and people - the Lehman Brothers failure and George W. Bush to name a couple. I generally felt that Paulson was being straightforward and honest throughout the book, and that he did a decent job avoiding some of the financial jargon that could really trip readers up. A small prob It took a long time to read this book. The material was interesting - it was great to see what was happening behind closed doors during the financial crisis. It definitely gave me a new perspective on a variety of events and people - the Lehman Brothers failure and George W. Bush to name a couple. I generally felt that Paulson was being straightforward and honest throughout the book, and that he did a decent job avoiding some of the financial jargon that could really trip readers up. A small problem I had was just trying to keep track of the full cast of characters. Some of the main ones are listed in the front of the book, but there were plenty of times where I ended up googling someone to find out who they were. The bigger gripe I had was that despite the underlying story being a huge crisis with drama everywhere you look, the book came across as very dry and somewhat tedious. It could be argued that this is a benefit - after all, there's enough drama in the true story, and this is an accounting of the facts behind the scene. However, it felt like I was reading an itinerary, or the minutes of a meeting, rather than a story. It's too bad Michael Lewis didn't collaborate with Paulson on the book. As it is, I'll be checking out The Big Short to see how Lewis dealt with the crisis (albeit from a much different viewpoint).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Near the end of former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's memoir about his role during the greatest financial disaster to hit the U.S. since the Great Depression he writes, "[T:]he crisis did not shake my faith in the free-market system." Along with regularly placed confessions by Paulson letting the reader know that he hated what he had to do and that it went against everything he believed, this is about all the reflection and analysis we get from him, the man at the center of averting, if he i Near the end of former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's memoir about his role during the greatest financial disaster to hit the U.S. since the Great Depression he writes, "[T:]he crisis did not shake my faith in the free-market system." Along with regularly placed confessions by Paulson letting the reader know that he hated what he had to do and that it went against everything he believed, this is about all the reflection and analysis we get from him, the man at the center of averting, if he is to be believed, a financial catastrophe. The who, what, where, and how are all here. Unfortunately, there is no why. He tells us that the needed regulatory control didn't exist, but he doesn't tell you that he, as CEO of Goldman Sachs, was involved in lobbying the government for easing that regulatory control. He writes that letting these Wall Street firms go under would be devastating for the nation, but he never explains to us how letting Bear Stearns or AIG fail would affect the everyday life of the average American. And most importantly, he never explains why the free-market system that he still puts his faith in needed the biggest government bailout and intervention in our history. As a result, Paulson's book is a disappointment and those looking for an understanding and in-depth analysis of the financial crisis should look elsewhere.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Edmund

    If you’re looking for a book that details page by page – day by day the events building up to the global credit crisis and subsequent recession read this. Say what you want about Paulson, he obviously has a head for dates and numbers. Unfortunately: literary skills - Not so much. On The Brink can’t seem to make up its mind whether it’s an autobiography, political polemic or factual work. Ultimately the mish-mash comes out as an apologetic piece which seems more about Paulson trying to prove himsel If you’re looking for a book that details page by page – day by day the events building up to the global credit crisis and subsequent recession read this. Say what you want about Paulson, he obviously has a head for dates and numbers. Unfortunately: literary skills - Not so much. On The Brink can’t seem to make up its mind whether it’s an autobiography, political polemic or factual work. Ultimately the mish-mash comes out as an apologetic piece which seems more about Paulson trying to prove himself to critics. He even provides an exemplar of one of his 12+ hour days. I have absolutely no doubt that this man worked his butt off during this difficult time but that’s no excuse for writing a confusing non-fiction work which is impossible to discern between memoir and text-book. Overall the most interesting parts are where Paulson discussing his interactions with the two presidential candidates during 2008, however the lack of any philosophising (usually you can’t get people to stop once they start writing on the subject) or extrapolation past ‘what we did in response to this crisis’ makes On the Brink an extremely dull read. Perhaps Paulson thought it would broaden the appeal of his work if he didn’t get into too much discussion but personally I would prefer to read a work that I disagreed with then one that bored me to sleep.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    The bailouts were complicated. Even reading the WSJ, I couldn't follow everything that was happening. This book does a great job of spelling it out in a way that one can follow. The writing is honest, with praise for both Bush II and Obama, and criticism of several members of Congress. Paulson doesn't hide the physical effects of the stress he was under. Most authors would. Paulson has some tremendous blind spots. Some bank activities are really just gambling. That should be stopped. The only ment The bailouts were complicated. Even reading the WSJ, I couldn't follow everything that was happening. This book does a great job of spelling it out in a way that one can follow. The writing is honest, with praise for both Bush II and Obama, and criticism of several members of Congress. Paulson doesn't hide the physical effects of the stress he was under. Most authors would. Paulson has some tremendous blind spots. Some bank activities are really just gambling. That should be stopped. The only mention of the speculative element is in a question from Bush II. The big banks need to be broken up, probably based on geography. Great narrator.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    This was an excellent complement to Tim Geithner's "Stress Test". Paulson, Geithner and Bernanke were the key players in mitigating the impact of the 2008-09 financial crisis, and the dedication, teamwork and diligence they and their staffs applied to the enormous issues we faced were nothing short of remarkable. Even just six years later, it's impossible to imagine their being able to get Congress to do what it did to supplement their herculean efforts, it's become that much more dysfunctional This was an excellent complement to Tim Geithner's "Stress Test". Paulson, Geithner and Bernanke were the key players in mitigating the impact of the 2008-09 financial crisis, and the dedication, teamwork and diligence they and their staffs applied to the enormous issues we faced were nothing short of remarkable. Even just six years later, it's impossible to imagine their being able to get Congress to do what it did to supplement their herculean efforts, it's become that much more dysfunctional in Washington. I won't attempt to hide my bias: these men kept our financial system from going down and causing untold pain in the broader economy. I'm as much a free-market capitalist as the next economic conservative; but, working in the investment business before, then and now, I recognized the risks we faced that went largely unperceived by the general public and media. As unpalatable as many of the solutions appeared on the surface to be, we had no good alternatives and no time to keep looking for more of them. On the narration: great choice of narrators - he didn't sound much different from Paulson himself, and he read with great pace. Nice forward read by and interview of Paulson included.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Drew Johnson

    Part Biography, Part Analysis of the financial crises. Due to the crises, he was forced to do things he didn't believe in (government intervention) to save something he did believe in (our free market financial system). He didn't create the problem but worked diligently to rescue our financial system. It could have been much worse but for his efforts. He made mistakes but as I consider the totality of what he did against the backdrop of the breadth and depth of the problems we faced, I am gratef Part Biography, Part Analysis of the financial crises. Due to the crises, he was forced to do things he didn't believe in (government intervention) to save something he did believe in (our free market financial system). He didn't create the problem but worked diligently to rescue our financial system. It could have been much worse but for his efforts. He made mistakes but as I consider the totality of what he did against the backdrop of the breadth and depth of the problems we faced, I am grateful for his work as Treasury Secretary. I believe his motives were genuine and his work ethic and dedication are beyond reproach. Writing was a bit hokey and awkward at times and there were times I wanted more depth on arcane financial information but for the most part I thought he struck a good balance. I'd recommend to anyone. Obama and Bush came off looking better than I would have thought. McCain and Palin look like the buffons I suspected they are.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kim Scripture

    Written with his mother's advice in mind..."if you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, don't say anything at all"...so in this book, all the bureaucrats are strong, all the politicians are good looking and all the bankers are above average. Ok, so he can write a book that deftly avoids being critical of anyone. And as such, all book really does is document, on a broad scale, the major events of the Great Recession from the view at the top. No great insight here. But I did like his aft Written with his mother's advice in mind..."if you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, don't say anything at all"...so in this book, all the bureaucrats are strong, all the politicians are good looking and all the bankers are above average. Ok, so he can write a book that deftly avoids being critical of anyone. And as such, all book really does is document, on a broad scale, the major events of the Great Recession from the view at the top. No great insight here. But I did like his afterward where he summed up what he thought the next steps should be to address the situation to avoid such a severe problem again. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that any of his suggestions are taking deep root.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Stalk

    His view appears to be that a lot of very smart people worked very hard to prevent a global meltdown. However, for those of us who lived through it, it appears he was pretty much clueless -- rolling from one emergency to the next and never getting ahead of it. Ironically he writes that on 8/9/2007 "the crisis in the financial markets arrived from a corner he did not anticipate-- housing" and yet the FDIC, the states, the government agencies are suing almost any bank in the country for loans they His view appears to be that a lot of very smart people worked very hard to prevent a global meltdown. However, for those of us who lived through it, it appears he was pretty much clueless -- rolling from one emergency to the next and never getting ahead of it. Ironically he writes that on 8/9/2007 "the crisis in the financial markets arrived from a corner he did not anticipate-- housing" and yet the FDIC, the states, the government agencies are suing almost any bank in the country for loans they made as early as 2004. So bank managers should have known things were going wrong in 2004 but the Secretary of the Treasury and former CEO of Goldman Sachs had no clue until 8/9/2007? Hard to believe.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nishant Deshpande

    the short sellers are out killing the banks, the world is about to collapse, the market must be sent a strong message, arbitrary mergers... x300 pages. then some not-so original ideas on how to reform the system... mostly boiling down to "keeping peoples skin in the game". anyone who believes in the efficient market hypothesis should read this.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David Glad

    Part history, part revisionist history, quickly begins to sound like self-fulfilling prophecy. Funny too how he makes no mention in the book of his 2007 efforts to try to partner with money managers to buy up as much as $100 billion in subprime loans and "stabilize" those so-called structured investment vehicles. They didn't bite, so it quickly fizzled.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jean Adelson

    Painful read for me. It is proof that he is an idiot and unsuitable for the job of Treasury secretary, so reading about one bad economic decision after another was very hard to stomach, especially since the book came out so soon after the crisis. I had to keep putting it down. The only person dumber and less suitable is Geithner, a fact that is also apparent in this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Hal

    Paulson reveals that he is a closet democrat. Had great things to say about Pres Bush, Barney Frank, Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner and himself. He didn't like McCain. Difficult read but lots of good info.

  23. 5 out of 5

    I

    Good book if you are looking for a step by step response of US govt institutions of 2008 crisis. However, there are no bad guys in the book which is sad. Paulson goes to great lengths to show every banker as statesman material

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Rogerson

    Not impressed Paulson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I had no idea how close we were to economic catastrophe in 2008. Read this book and learn how ideology almost sent us into the abyss, and how George Bush may have saved us all.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bojan Tunguz

    The book wastes no time on lengthy introductions or narrative preambles. The very first sentence is a direct question from President Bush to Paulson. ("Do they know it's coming Hank?" - "they" being Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and "it" being the seizure of the control of those companies by the government.) The overall narrative style of the book is very direct and conversational, which makes for an easy and straightforward read. This tone of voice is at odds with the more deliberate and cerebral The book wastes no time on lengthy introductions or narrative preambles. The very first sentence is a direct question from President Bush to Paulson. ("Do they know it's coming Hank?" - "they" being Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and "it" being the seizure of the control of those companies by the government.) The overall narrative style of the book is very direct and conversational, which makes for an easy and straightforward read. This tone of voice is at odds with the more deliberate and cerebral image that we've got of Paulson from his public appearances. In my opinion, this is one of the virtues of the book - I don't think I would be able to sit through this many pages of Paulson's monotone, and all the technical jargon would have been unbearable. Instead, we get a very personal and personable account of one of the most difficult moments in the history of US financial system. Paulson is also very generous with bringing up details of his own life, which make him even more relatable. My personal favorite was his admission that he needs eight hours of sleep at night. It may be a small thing, but I believe that good night's rest is severely underappreciated and undervalued, especially in high-power circles like the financial sector. In the chapter on Paulson's personal life before joining the Bush administration we learn about the main highlights of his biography. The chapter is not long, even though Paulson has enjoyed a very versatile and interesting career. He had worked in Nixon administration, but since then has largely stayed out of politics. His family is very liberal, which makes for some interesting conversations at the dinner table and family reunions I'd imagine. The chapter on the economic and financial turbulence that preceded the great banking crash of 2008 is very fascinating and educational. Even though it deals with many subtle and technical topics, it is written extremely well and even people who have never been exposed to the inner workings of the financial system should be able to follow it without much difficulty. Even so, it is impossible to keep track of all the moving parts that constitute such a complex system, so if you feel that you still don't understand everything that went wrong, you are not alone. It is doubtful that even those who were in charge of situation at the time fully appreciated the problems that were brewing. The chapter on Bear Stearns crisis in March of 2008 is a fascinating study in behind-the-scenes happenings of one dire crisis. Most of the most important events happened over one tumultuous weekend, and this chapter details all of the relevant negotiations that were going on at the time. We are led to believe that the bailout of Bear Stearns was inevitable, and the least evil of all options that were on the table at the time. Paulson keeps stressing that a failure of the government to act at that moment would have had major serious ramifications for the entire financial sector (a theme that he comes back to throughout the book), but he doesn't go into the details of why in fact this would have been the case. By late March, however, it became increasingly obvious that another major financial institution was working under an increased strain. Lehman Brothers was having major difficulties, and unless something got done about it the company was headed for a collapse. However, it is still not entirely clear why this should be the government's problem. A collapse of such an important player would certainly have dire consequences and would unsettle many investors, but it is not clear that this would cause the collapse of the entire financial system. Meanwhile, the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continued to simmer, with no immediate political solution in sight. When the summer rolled in, the crisis with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was coming to a head. For better or worse the requisite government measures that Paulson was proposing had much more support among the Democrats than Republicans. This is not surprising at all - they were in control of Congress and had much more leverage which to use to get their own legislative agenda through, including the very unpalatable block grants. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were becoming amenable to government's terms, and by the end of summer it started to seem that the worst was over. Unfortunately, the sense of calm was not to last. In September it became obvious that Lehman Brothers would not survive and to Paulson and others in the Treasury Department it became an imperative to work out a deal with private buyers to rescue Lehman. Paulson insists that during the negotiation with the potential buyers the position of the US government was very clear: there will be no government financing of the rescue. However, the very fact that the government worked so industriously and doggedly at rescuing Lehman must have sent a signal to anyone that government felt that it had to do absolutely anything in its power to help Lehman survive. It is hard to imagine that this not have a very strong impact on potential buyers when they were looking into their options. At the very least it would have made them extremely skittish to risk their own money to bail out a competitor when it was more than likely that the government would eventually have to do the same without their help. In fact, there was no legal way for the government to help, but that was not exactly clear to the potential buyers. In the end the most serious potential buyer, UK's Barclays, decided against buying. After that the faith of Lehman Brothers was sealed; they had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy within a week. And that's when the wheels really started to come off the cart. The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers sent shockwaves through the World markets that no one had anticipated, or so are we led to believe. Soon enough investors around the world started having doubts in solvency of other major investments banks, and it started to look like all of them might soon be under the peril of having to declare bankruptcy. The whole World financial system, so it seemed, was on a brink of total collapse. The consequences of such a dire predicament would have been catastrophic indeed, on par with the Great Depression, or worse. We also finally learn where the $700 billion dollar TARP price tag came from. In a nutshell, if the total value of all the mortgages in the US is $11 trillion, and only about 10% of those are in a peril of imminent foreclosure, then about $1 trillion would sound like a reasonable amount of money that needed to be available for a bailout. However, $1 trillion sounds pretty bad, so if you can make it look like much less than that it would politically be much more feasible to get the Congress to foot the bill. Many pundits in the media had suspected as much, but it's good to finally get a confirmation from Paulson himself. To me at least, it looks rather sketchy that the secretary of the Treasury would be making such off-the-cuff estimates of required funds. I would have much preferred that there were a much more solid technical analysis that had led to this number. Most of the rest of the book is a blow-by-blow narrative of how Paulson worked with various government officials, prominent politicians from both houses, and top-level bankers on coming up with the plan and legislation that would help prevent the total financial collapse. This narrative can be rather gripping and high-paced at times, but there are also moments when it overwhelms with technical details. However, these details in my opinion are absolutely necessary for the purpose of this story. Fortunately, there is a glossary of all the terms and acronyms at the end of the book. There is also a list of all the main protagonists at the beginning. Unless you are complete political and economic information junky, you will definitely appreciate both of these lists. In one aspect this book may not be able to achieve its goals. In terms of pure politics, the narrative raises many red flags for those who have a nagging suspicion that Paulson is in fact a committed big-government Republican, or even worse - a RINO. He is a bit too quick to praise some very prominent Democrats (like Barney Frank, Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, etc.) and is either mute on characterizing some Republican political operatives (Karl Rove), mostly critical (John McCain), or largely critical (Sarah Palin). His appraisal of President Bush is rather too defensive (He's a good guy, honest!) and seems to be geared more towards appeasing liberals (including all the members of his immediate family) than towards reaffirming his standing with the small-government conservatives. In fact, Bush is the only Republican politician that features even remotely prominently throughout the book. His attitude towards Chinese government officials is a bit troubling as well. I understand that as the chairman of Goldman Sachs he had built his reputation and fortunes by working closely with Chinese market, but it's a not a good sign when on several occasions a Chinese official that Paulson interacted with comes across as a more market-oriented of the two. I might be misreading those particular anecdotes, but my gut-level impression supports the notion of Paulson being a big-government politician, his repeated support for free markets notwithstanding. The final chapter of the book ("The Afterward") is a bit puzzling as well. It is not strictly speaking an afterward of the policies that had been implemented, but more of a chapter dedicated to the lessons that he took home from the crises. Most of those lessons seem very plausible, but I feel that there is an inherent contradiction between some of his positions. On one hand he decries the fact that the top ten US financial institutions control some 60% of the overall market, and yet he calls for an increased control and regulation. The last time I checked it is exactly the excessive regulation that is favorable to the existence of few big companies. The smaller ones just don't have enough resources to invest into the ever more burdensome regulatory compliance. However, the strangest aspect of the afterward is that there is no reappraisal of TARP and other controversial policies that had been talked about in this book. A year has passed since Paulson left the office, and even thought it still might be too early to make a complete analysis, certain general comments could have been made. As is we are left to make up our own mind about the legacy of those policies. In particular, I would have liked to hear his take on other major financial interventions that have happened under the Obama administration. Many of those policies, rightly or wrongly, see TARP as the template on which they were based. I was really surprised to find Paulson mum on this subject. All of the shortcomings aside, this is an extremely fascinating and very readable book. It gives a first-hand account of the epicenter of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and the seriousness of the situation is very palpable from every page. The dire situation could also be compared to some other non-financial crises, like the Cuban Missile Crises for instance. In fact, I think it would even make a good movie. It would be fun to see who would get to play Paulson.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rodney Harvill

    Whenever I read memoirs of controversial political leaders, I tend to wear my skeptics glasses. Such books, after all, represent their final opportunity to justify their motives and decisions. That said, although I was deeply uncomfortable with Paulson’s decision to bail out Wall Street banks and still am, I found him to be a sympathetic character. After all, he had left a highly lucrative position as CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs to serve as Treasury Secretary for George W. Bush out of a se Whenever I read memoirs of controversial political leaders, I tend to wear my skeptics glasses. Such books, after all, represent their final opportunity to justify their motives and decisions. That said, although I was deeply uncomfortable with Paulson’s decision to bail out Wall Street banks and still am, I found him to be a sympathetic character. After all, he had left a highly lucrative position as CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs to serve as Treasury Secretary for George W. Bush out of a sense of duty, something that I, a war veteran, can respect. Although I disagreed with his choices to bail out various financial institutions and still do so, I appreciated his willingness in this book to explain his reasoning. For example, early on in the financial crisis, he did not have statutory authority to invest government money in money-losing ventures. As a result, he was able to bail out Bear Stearns, in the midst of a liquidity crisis (It had assets that could be liquidated if necessary but was unable to get the short-term financing it needed to pay its bills at the time.), but was unable to rescue Lehman Brothers because of the poor quality of the collateral it had to offer (Its actual value was significantly less than its book value.). He rescued AIG because he was initially under the impression that it was facing a liquidity crisis, but ultimately it had a capital problem. In other words, he made his decision to bailout AIG based on an incorrect understanding of the actual situation. Mr. Paulson has been accused of playing favorites with the Wall Street banks, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in this case. Wall Street was his natural habitat and what he understood. He honestly believed that a collapse of Wall Street would have caused businesses throughout the nation to curtail their operations and possibly fail when their source of financing dried up, and he may well be right about that. At any rate, it is unfair to accuse someone of improper motivations when other factors can just as easily explain his choices. Mr. Paulson repeatedly claimed that the bailouts went against everything he believed in, which appears to be laissez-faire capitalism with minimal government involvement. In some way, his description of his choices reminds me of a presidential election in which I am dissatisfied with the choices, often deeply so, and looking for a third option. People will often say that I just need to hold my nose, which usually just irritates me and hardens my resolve to find a third option. That said, I fully understand other people’s willingness to hold their noses and vote for the lesser of two evils and typically do a better job of respecting their choice than they do of respecting mine. Faced with a crisis situation and crisis timing, Paulson saw two highly unpleasant choices (financial collapse vs. bailouts) and made his decision. I don’t know if there was a third option that he was unable to see from the midst of the crisis. What might have been the most interesting and definitely entertaining part of the book was his interactions with politics. The crisis occurred in an election year and he had to coordinate with Congress, the president and the presidential candidates. Decisions that seemed reasonable to him sometimes blew up in his face because they didn’t seem reasonable to other stakeholders, whether representatives and senators facing reelection or presidential candidates trying to gain support. I remember John McCain suspending his campaign so he could return to Washington and help with the crisis. As Mr. Paulson describes it, it was pure gambit, an attempt to look like he was taking the crisis more seriously than Barak Obama. As it turned out, the Democrats set a trap for him, and he stepped right in it, leading to a farcical scene in a meeting with senior government leaders that rivaled a Saturday Night Live spoof for its comedy. At the close of the book, Mr. Paulson offers suggestions for modifying the financial regulatory system as well as how the finance industry does business. I have no idea if they would work and don’t even know if any have been implemented in the decade since the crisis; however, I definitely think they should at least be taken seriously by policy makers. When he wrote the memoir, he clearly wanted to get back to laissez-faire capitalism with appropriate industry and government rules to properly manage such issues as systemic risk without introducing new problems in the efforts to avoid the old ones. After all, it was a failure to understand and manage such risk that led to the crisis in the first place.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Adam Ford

    A good record of the recent financial collapse, but too little introspection. Yes, I know it is easy to stand on the sidelines and find fault with the benefit of hindsight. But Paulson in this book has precious little criticism of himself--every mistake was unavoidable, every decision was the best one possible at the time with the constraints of time, information and power. Paulson is a free market Republican who will be remembered for the biggest government intervention into the markets in the A good record of the recent financial collapse, but too little introspection. Yes, I know it is easy to stand on the sidelines and find fault with the benefit of hindsight. But Paulson in this book has precious little criticism of himself--every mistake was unavoidable, every decision was the best one possible at the time with the constraints of time, information and power. Paulson is a free market Republican who will be remembered for the biggest government intervention into the markets in the history of the modern world. He actually comes out and says that he believes we need greater government regulation of the financial sector. If you buy the premise that the banks are the key to stability in the market, Paulson and Bernanke and Geitner should not have let Lehman Bro.s fail. Paulson justifies allowing Lehman go down while saving AIG the next week (literally) because Lehman's assets were bad (all the toxic mortgage debt) while AIG's assets were good (subsidiary insurance companies around the country). Therefore AIG was a good bet to pay off the money the Fed injected eventually while Lehman was not a good bet to pay off any money injected. But the AIG bailout (alone, not counting all the other bank bailouts under TARP) was $85 billion dollars. There were approx. 2.3 million foreclosures started in 2008. If you took that $85b and gave paid it towards defaults on those 2008 foreclosures, you would have $37,000 to put towards each loan. TARP was $700 billion dollars. There were about 7 million foreclosures during the years 2008 through 2012. If you took the TARP money and applied it towards those foreclosures, you would have had $100,000 that you could have put towards every foreclosure. I find it hard to believe that if every homeowner was offered payment assistance up to $50,000 and principal reduction of $50,000 they wouldn't have found a way to make it work and stay in the home. I'll bet over 80% would have, meaning foreclosures would be lower than typical rates in good economic times. Of course there is a moral hazard problem--what stops people from going into foreclosure just to get the mortgage help. It is a good question and I'll bet Paulson could have come up with some sort of answer. But the thought never seems to have crossed his mind to help homeowners. And if they had, maybe Lehman's assets wouldn't have been so toxic. Maybe Lehman wouldn't have needed bailing out in the first place. This is a story of trickle down economics in the extreme. Homeowners got little to no relief. I know this from first hand fighting in the trenches to help people save their homes. The government was not a significant help at all to the average family. Politics: Paulson's account of the White House cabinet room meeting with McCain and Obama is hilarious. If you remember McCain suspended his campaign to rush back to Washington to address the crisis. He tried to get a debate scheduled later that week canceled. It was a desperate move for a man who knew he was losing. After the President thanked them for coming (he really didn't want them there, it was McCain who forced his hand by calling for the meeting in the press without approval), he turned to the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (as is protocol in these meetings, the President speaks, then the Speaker of the House). Pelosi said they had been working with Paulson (this was true, Minority Leader Boehner had been unable to help becuse his GOP caucus was all wrapped up in tea party mania during the campaign--it was bizarre the GOP Executive branch working with the Dem Legislative branch to save the economy while the GOP legislative branch was completely ineffective and awol). Then Pelosi said that Obama would speak for the democrats and Harry Reid voiced assent. Obama was well prepared, according the Paulson, and he spoke eloquently ("without notes, much less a teleprompter", Paulson adds) giving a summary of the problem, the various plans put forward to address the problem, and the desires of the Dems to modify the plans (more help for homeowners, more limits on executive compensation). With these changes, "the Democrats will deliver the votes" on TARP Obama said. Then Obama set a trap for McCain. He said that Paulson and the congressional Democrats had nearly worked out a deal and only had a few sticking points to iron out (this was true--it was Paulson and Barney Frank doing most of the negotiation, with Nancy Pelosi brought in for key points). Obama then said that it was very dangerous to start over now, even greater danger in making the deal political by injecting the Presidential candidates into the somewhat fragile negotiations. Paulson said "It was brilliant political theater." Obama and the Dems had backed McCain into a corner. He could upset a nearly done deal, or he would have to say the Dems and the WH had a deal that didn't need his help. Either way he would look like a fool. Then the President turned to McCain and said "I think it only fair to give you a chance to speak next." McCain said: "I'll wait my turn." Paulson's comment: "It was an incredible moment in every sense. This was supposed to be McCain's meeting, he called it, not the President who had simply accommodated the Republican candidate's wishes. Now it looked like McCain had no plan at all. . . It was a political gambit." Everyone stared at McCain and he stayed silent. Boehner said he didn't have the votes for any plan. The meeting started disintegrating with people talking over each other. Sen. Shelby (R-AL) stood up and stared waiving papers over his head saying he had the opinions of hundreds of economists who thought TARP was a bad idea. The President shouted him down: "This is a time when we have to act. We don't have time for congressional hearings with a bunch of economists!" Finally Obama's voice rose above the many heated exchanges going on: "I'd like to hear what Senator McCain has to say since we haven't heard from him yet." The room fell silent. McCain glanced at a single note card he had in his hand and made a few general points--that there were merits in the different plans (without saying which merits from which plans), that Paulson was moving in the right direction, that Boehner was doing the best he could to move his caucus. Paulson writes: "McCain's comments were anticlimactic, the say the very least. His return to Washington was impulsive and risky and I don't think he had a plan in mind. If anything, I think his plan came back to hurt him as he was pilloried in the press afterward and in the end I don't think his maneuver significantly influenced the TARP legislation process. . . when it came right down to it, he [McCain] has little to say in the forum he himself had called." After McCain's non-comments, Sen. Baucus (R-MT) and Speaker Pelosi started "yelling at each other" about whether it was Senate GOPs or House Dems who should get credit for tax relief in the TARP bill. Paulson writes: "The room descended into chaos as the House and Senate members erupted into full fledged shouting around the table. [Barney] Frank started to loudly bait McCain, who sat stony faced: 'What is the Republican proposal?' he said, 'What is the Republican plan?' It got so ridiculous that Vice President Cheney started laughing. Frankly I had never seen anything like it before in politics or business--or in my fraternity days at Dartmouth for that matter. Finally the President just stood up and said: 'Well, I've clearly lost control of this meeting. It's over.' As everyone left the room I was appalled and disheartened. I had witnessed conduct I had never imagined before." Very tragi-comic stuff. I can't believe how easy President Bush was to run over in a meeting--Paulson makes clear he would never have allowed it were he in charge (neither would Cheney or Obama or McCain IMHO). Paulson went to where the Democrats were gathered in the Roosevelt Room and famously got down on one knee in front of Pelosi and tried to do damage control: "Don't blow this up." Pelosi responded: "We're not the ones trying to blow this up." In the end, the Democrats delivered most of their members voting for TARP 140-95. But Boehner couldn't deliver the tea party crazy Republicans who voted 133 against to 65 for. TARP failed. Later, as things darkened (the DOW dropped 777 points on the day TARP failed, the S&P lost 8.8%, both the largest single-day drops in history--NASDEQ dropped 9.1%, its third biggest drop in history), and after the GOPers could claim they voted against it before they voted for it, on the second try TARP passed. Final analysis: Paulson is a very smart and hard working and good man. But his is part of the Wall Street system. His work did save the economy from a sharp crash. But it didn't help the average families very much. Wall Street profits (and pay) are going through the roof while the common people struggle. I wish he had turned his talents to helping average people instead of preserving the status quo for the fat cats.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul Szydlowski

    This was the third book I've read on the 2008 financial collapse ("The Big Short" and "All the Devils Are Here" being the other two) and while some may find it dry, I thought it was the best of the bunch, reading like the financial thriller it was. The most important takeaway from reading these books is that the financial crisis cannot be pinned upon any one party. And neither can the bailouts. This does not absolve either party of complicity, because each played their own role. Democrats sought This was the third book I've read on the 2008 financial collapse ("The Big Short" and "All the Devils Are Here" being the other two) and while some may find it dry, I thought it was the best of the bunch, reading like the financial thriller it was. The most important takeaway from reading these books is that the financial crisis cannot be pinned upon any one party. And neither can the bailouts. This does not absolve either party of complicity, because each played their own role. Democrats sought to make it easier for low-income people to get the subprime loans and resisted restriction on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, thereby providing the raw material for a financial dumpster fire. Meanwhile, Republicans supported minimal regulation that permitted Wall Street to turn those subprime loans into countless convoluted Structured Investment Vehicles (SIVs), turning the dumpster fire into a raging inferno. Everyone's at fault. That said, it's fascinating to hear all that was going on behind the scenes as one potential disaster follows another. The reports we heard on the radio hardly did justice to the frantic efforts going on to prevent a complete collapse of the financial system. And being reminded that money market funds had "broken the buck," meaning that blue chip companies like GE and Procter & Gamble faced the possibility of failing to make payroll highlights just how dire the situation was. Those who lament the bailouts and deficit spending that prevented a replay of the Great Depression would do well to learn more about the threat we faced. Bottom line, the crisis was everybody's fault, the economy that the Obama inherited was not his fault, and the debt we have as a result is our responsibility. We will be better off once we stop playing politics and start behaving responsibly. Pointing fingers at others gets us nowhere. This book is a good starting point to understand why that's true.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tariq Ali

    Got a burst of inspiration to finish this book after putting it down almost 2 years ago. I am glad I finished it after I completed ‘The Big Short’. It really puts things into perspective. This is one of the most important books I think i would have ever read or will ever read about the financial crisis of 2008. Its gives an insiders view of what was taking place behind the scenes and allows me to understand just what is required in this profession and dynamic way in which you must think in order Got a burst of inspiration to finish this book after putting it down almost 2 years ago. I am glad I finished it after I completed ‘The Big Short’. It really puts things into perspective. This is one of the most important books I think i would have ever read or will ever read about the financial crisis of 2008. Its gives an insiders view of what was taking place behind the scenes and allows me to understand just what is required in this profession and dynamic way in which you must think in order to overcome challenges and expound on solutions in extremely mitigating circumstances.

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