Unequivocally the most insightful account of the struggle to salvage the U.S. financial system from the brink of collapse. Andrew Ross Sorkin is a columnist, assistant editor of business and finance news, and the mergers and acquisitions reporter for the NY Times. He is much more than that.
Sorkin displays an unparalleled combination of story-telling, and a breadth and depth of reporting skills that contribute mightily to this epic work. He illuminates the essence of the most profound financial crisis in this nation’s history since the Great Depression. His unique access to key decision makers, Wall Street insiders and government officials serves to set this work apart from other treatments of this subject.
Far and away the BEST non-fiction BOOK on the U.S. financial crisis during the first decade of the 21st century.
My wife and I had the pleasure to host 18 high school students for what we referred to as G-3 — A Global Gathering of Gratitude. We had students from Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Poland, Montenegro, Colombia, Russia, India, Norway and the U.S. Each student prepared a dish from their home country. We had a feast! It was delicious!
A few weeks ago, students wrote “One word” you want the world to hear – on a single sheet of paper. We assembled all the papers on a table in our living room and turned the lights down. We then placed candles across the table top, adjacent to the words. The words represent the hope these students have for the future of this world. Then, each student was given the opportunity to share what they are grateful for and/or a hope that they had this evening….they then lit one candle. Students were NOT required to share their motivation of their heart aloud…most did so.
This image reflects their hearts. Click on the image to make it larger.
In December 2008 Lawrence Summers, soon to become the administration’s highest-ranking economist, called for decisive action. “Many experts,” he warned, “believe that unemployment could reach 10 percent by the end of next year.” In the face of that prospect, he continued, “doing too little poses a greater threat than doing too much.”
And Mr. Summers was right the first time: in the face of the greatest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression, it’s much riskier to do too little than it is to do too much. It’s sad, and unfortunate, that the administration appears to have lost sight of that truth.
Perhaps the best non-fiction financial thriller for 2009 from the mind of David Wessel, the Economics Editor of the Wall Street Journal. The essence of the book is captured in the following quote from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke:
“The only case for an independent central bank in a democracy is that it can take a longer view and do what is in the interest of the people in ways that elected politicians cannot.” P. 271
Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner and Summers – Where did these guys come from? How do they think? How do/did (Paulson) they work with one another when faced with the most unimaginable economic crisis since the Great Depression? It’s all here.
Why? Why did the U.S. and the global economy fall into this crater. Why? Why has the Federal Reserve, The U.S. Treasury and the White House Economic Advisory team implemented the measures they have – thus far?
The manner in which this work evolves makes is a contribution that can be devoured by a broad audience. It is absolutely essential reading for U.S. citizens who yearn for a vastly more informed perspective on the questions posed above.
The frailties of finance and the fellows who flubbed it up
An honestly amazing tour through the lives of the four central bankers (Strong, Norman, Moreau and Schacht) who played key roles during the 1920’s and early 30’s.
If you desire an in-depth look at the role of the key economic players, and the evolution of economic/monetary policies of the U.S., U.K., France and Germany leading up to and during the Great Depression – this volume of scholarly insight is for you.
An excerpt is particularly poignant for the present day perils we are struggling with: “The Great Depression was not some act of God or the result of some deep-rooted contradictions of capitalism but the direct result of a series of misjudgments by economic policy makers, some made back in the 1920’s, others after the crisis set in – by any measure the most dramatic sequence of collective blunders ever made by financial officials…authority at the Fed shifted to a group of inexperienced and ill-informed timeservers, who believed the economy would return to an even keel (emphasis is mine).” Pp. 501 & 503
This is truly a valiant contribution of a depth and breadth of a superbly crafted text, that I’m, quite certain, will inform the minds of students, practitioners, the citizenry and scholars for many years to come. Mr. Ahamed – I look forward to your next contribution.