Sunday, July 11, 2010

Books I've Read Recently - The Financial Crisis

I recently finished reading three good books about the financial crisis.  In the order I read them:

The Big Short is about the CDO business, and focuses on Scion Capital's Michael Burry, and  Frontpoint's Steve Eisman, as two who were on the right side of the market. Like The End of Wall Street, which is about the last days of Lehman brothers and the efforts to find a solution to salvage the firm, it will probably make you nauseous as you relive the insanity of 2008.  Lewis and Lowenstein are the two finest financial non-fiction storytellers around, and each of them has another MUST READ book to his credit (Lewis: Liar's Poker, and Lowenstein: When Genius Failed, both of which I cannot endorse strongly enough).    House of Cards is about the destruction of Bear Stearns, focusing mainly on the events of 2007, including the implosion of two internal Bear Stearns Asset Management hedgefunds which were eventually bailed out (and thus had the losses realized) by the parent company.  It's scary to read about how the hedge fund managers, Cioffi and Tannin, repeatedly told their investors that they were expecting a debacle in subprime mortgages and were positioned to profit accordingly - while all the while the fund had the majority of its assets in long subprime ABS.  Cioffi and Tannin were later tried criminally, and acquitted.

These three books are each well worth the time to read for those interested in details of the implosion of the financial world as we knew it.


note:  see my Affiliate disclosure on the side panel.


EconomicDisconnect said...

Agreed, "When Genius Failed" is a wondeful book!

I read the William Cohan "House of Cards" and thought is was bad really. What can you do.

I read "No Gold in Fort Know" by Frank Bishop and it was a weirdly cool little book.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you mean 2008 and 2007 rather than 2009 and 2008?

Kid Dynamite said...

thanks anon - indeed.

Unknown said...

'Diary of a very bad year' is also a pretty good read.

ryanwh said...

I read all three of those and agree that The Big Short is a "must read." But the best book on the financial crisis and how it should change Wall Street, in my opinion, was Panic: The Betrayal of Capitalism by Wall Street and Washington. Highly recommended as a smart and snarky indictment of the subprime crisis, the efficient markets hypothesis, and government in general. And a call to arms to the benefit of looking around, noting the obvious, and saving yourself much headache as an investor.

Anonymous said...

Henry Paulson's, On the Brink: Inside the Race to
Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System.

Robert Dobb