Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System from Crisis — and Themselves

Too Big to Fail The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System from Crisis and Themselves Andrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true behind the scenes moment by moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami From inside the c

  • Title: Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System from Crisis — and Themselves
  • Author: Andrew Ross Sorkin
  • ISBN: 9780670021253
  • Page: 366
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Andrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true behind the scenes, moment by moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami From inside the corner office at Lehman Brothers to secret meetings in South Korea, and the corridors of Washington, Too Big to Fail is the definitive story of the most powerful men and womenAndrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true behind the scenes, moment by moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami From inside the corner office at Lehman Brothers to secret meetings in South Korea, and the corridors of Washington, Too Big to Fail is the definitive story of the most powerful men and women in finance and politics grappling with success and failure, ego and greed, and, ultimately, the fate of the world s economy We ve got to get some foam down on the runway a sleepless Timothy Geithner, the then president of the Federal Reserve of New York, would tell Henry M Paulson, the Treasury secretary, about the catastrophic crash the world s financial system would experience Through unprecedented access to the players involved, Too Big to Fail re creates all the drama and turmoil, revealing neverdisclosed details and elucidating how decisions made on Wall Street over the past decade sowed the seeds of the debacle This true story is not just a look at banks that were too big to fail, it is a real life thriller with a cast of bold faced names who themselves thought they were too big to fail.

    754 Comment

    • Kemper says:

      "The only problem with capitalism is all the capitalists.”Herbert Hoover There’s a school of thought out there that many, if not most, people buy into. It goes something like this: The U.S. government is full of a bunch of stupid bureaucrats who do nothing but pass restrictive laws that keep businesses from making money and prevent the growth of the economy. Obviously, the businesses should be allowed to do their thing with no government interference because they know what’s best, and if t [...]

    • Petra X says:

      What the financial crisis in the US essentially came down to was the bankers had the government balls in a nice tight wrench and if those balls got gangrene and dropped off, leaving the whole of the Western world without a banking system and the ensuing anarchy, they couldn't care less because they were filthy rich anyway and would, personally, all of them be more than just all right. (Skip to the last-but-two paragraph if you don't want the lead-up to how).How it works, in a simplified way (the [...]

    • Hadrian says:

      If anything else, this is an entertaining book. Big tough bankers swear and dick around like petty real-estate salesmen from a David Mamet play.It's also a good history of part of the 2007-2009 recession, specifically the collapse and restructuring of the investment banking system. Lehman Brothers is gone, Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch, AIG got money from the Fed, and the survivors rest put an emergency fund together, similar to the private response to the crashes of 1907 and 1929. Goldma [...]

    • Lobstergirl says:

      The strength of Sorkin’s book, which covers the period right after the fall of Bear Stearns (March 2008), up to the TARP infusions of capital (October 2008), is that he synthesized masses of detailed information and assembled it into a chronological story, using multiple firsthand accounts, contemporaneous journalistic sources, and public records. You can imagine him flipping through his enormous Rolodex (an inapt 80s allusion, but I like the image), calling every Wall Streeter he’s ever spo [...]

    • Mahlon says:

      In Too Big to Fail Andrew Ross Sorkin achieved the impossible, he made the 2008 financial crisis accessible to a wide variety of readers. His tightly woven and meticulously researched narrative feels like a movie script, which is why it is no surprise that it eventually became one. Sorkin does a great job in setting out the circumstances that led to the failure of the banks, and then chronicling almost day by day the decision making process behind the eventual bailout. One of the best financial [...]

    • Kerry says:

      I don't know if it's fair to rate the book based on the first few chapters that I read, but I know that my rating is going to be the same IF I did finish it. I just can't. This is NOT a book about the financial meltdown -- if you want something that explains the crisis, you are better off reading (seriously!). This, however, seems more fiction than nonfiction. Seriously? Was the author there in the boardroom when the investment bankers and traders barked to each other frantically to save their [...]

    • AC says:

      Finished -- I imagine this book would be a tough read, since it's pages literally crawl with minor characters -- bankers, minions of the armies of the night but it makes a good listen -- Paulson comes off much better than Bernanke or Geithner -- and the author tries (against Taibi) to rehabilitate Goldman. He makes the case, persuasively, imo -- against the Vampire-Squid conspiracists -- that the media really didn't and doesn't understand how close Goldman itself came to failing (-- so much for [...]

    • Mehrsa says:

      So I teach banking law and I assign a bunch of articles and documentaries on the crisis and I lived through it so nothing in here was new, but I wanted to read this after 10 years to see how well the narrative has aged and also because I forgot some of the play by play. This hasn't aged all that well because it's more of a financial thriller than an analysis. It's also so over the top about lionizing some of these big bad macho bankers and policymakers. Sorkin seems to have a big crush on Dimon [...]

    • Ldrutman Drutman says:

      This was a book I felt like I had to read – 539 pages of the blow-by-blow of the financial crisis. Or at least what the crisis looked like from the top: It’s really the story of what the heads of the biggest financial firms were up to, and the federal regulators (mostly the Treasury and the Fed) who were trying to prevent the financial sector from collapse.Mostly it just feels like reading about this chaotic charade with a bunch of crazed sleepless CEOs and lawyers and accountants trying to [...]

    • Daiv Shorten says:

      For the lay person looking to learn the basics about the events that unfolded during the subprime mortgage crisis, I actually recommend the HBO original film based on this book ahead of the book itself. Whereas the movie had several illuminating scenes that put the events into vernacular for someone like me, I found that the book was a bit too hard to grasp. Not for lack of effort, as Sorkin is not prone to speaking over anyone's head. Rather, the material is so dense, and the factors so similar [...]

    • Alan says:

      This book made me mighty mad, not only at the despicable characters portrayed in it, but at the author for his adoring, fawning approach to them. More than once I slammed the book down, only to force myself back to it a week or two later. And for that persistence I was rewarded---ever so slightly---by Sorkin daring to approximate analysis in an afterword. To judge by this book, Sorkin never met a Wall Street bigshot he didn’t worship. But worse, his journalistic style is so overloaded with tri [...]

    • Kartik says:

      The tag 'Master Storyteller', should be applied to Andrew Ross Sorkin for this piece of work. It has been a while since a book captured my attention so well as this one did.Sorkin is able to cover the 'history' of the financial crisis in a good amount of depth, switch back and forth between the different 'stages' and bring out the personalities of the key players such as the investment bank CEOs, the NY Fed and the Treasury while at the same time providing enough information about the complicate [...]

    • Rob Smith says:

      If any book from the past several years that has emerged to have critical acclaim across the broad swath of American society from that cottage industry of economic doomsday books, it's this one. Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big to Fail is the crowning achievement of them all, appearing on several "need-to-read" lists for the controversial economic shindig that eclipsed so much of the last year's of the Bush administration. Than why does it come off like the economic and political thriller version of [...]

    • Scott Rhee says:

      Andrew Ross Sorkin's "Too Big to Fail" should frighten and enrage readers, and, for some, it probably will, but for a majority of readers, it will fall into that "grand systemic changes need to be made, but I (an average person) can't do anything to change it" mentality that cripples many of us into petrification and denial. Our heads go back in the sand, and we go about our daily lives as if we didn't have this looming storm over our shoulders. Unfortunately, if history has taught us anything ( [...]

    • Brendan says:

      This book is a great feat of reporting - Sorkin conducted thousands of hours of interviews and obviously put a lot of research into reconstructing all the events surrounding the meltdown on wallstreet in 2008. The book focuses on the Lehman bankruptcy, and then focuses on how the US Treasury and the Fed eventually developed TARP to stabilize the financial/credit markets.So, the book effectively reads like: "X happened, so Y CEO called Z CEO, who then called Hank Paulson, who then conferenced in [...]

    • Ci says:

      An excellent chronicle of the fiasco of 2008. This is a sympathetic group portrait of the major players in the financial crisis. Their failures and success are not as important as their desperate efforts to avert something catastrophic. One should always be reminded of the excellent quote in the end of the book by Theodore Roosevelt's speech in Sorbonne in 1910:"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done the [...]

    • BookSweetie says:

      This book is not too big to read, or even too big to enjoy, provided that you are a reader who wants to be reading the book that is, rather than a long list of possible alternative books about the severest financial crisis since our Great Depression. This book is a reportorial non-fiction style book with a dash of fiction-like drama that is low on the "why" and heavy on the "who" and "who said and did what when." That part is done fairly successfully, although readers should be forewarned of two [...]

    • Wayland Smith says:

      I read this book to fill a slot in a challenge. It's not my usual kinda thing. It has a lot of information about the financial crisis of 2008. While it's informative, you almost need a degree in finance to follow it some of the time, or that's what it seemed like to me. I definitely learned a lot more about those events. I also learned that, from what I could tell, some, if not most, of what happened could have been prevented. It was a combination of greedy/stupid choices on the part of the bank [...]

    • Bob Adamcik says:

      This was a very long and (at times, tedious) read, but in fact informative and worthwhile. The obvious question before reading it is whether or not it is biased, i.e. slanted either left or righta logical question given how the crisis has been politicized. But frankly, I think Sorkin did his homework, and to my unspecialized ear, it sounds pretty complete and balanced. He also weaves a pretty good story to get you through all the minutiae. And I have to say (much as I kind of hate to do so) that [...]

    • DoctorM says:

      There's a variety of military history sometimes called "maps and chaps"--- often vivid, well-researched, and well-written ---that tells you everything that happened in a given battle or campaign, but without any context in politics or social costs. Andrew Ross Sorkin's "Too Big To Fail" is a kind of maps 'n' chaps version of the Global Economic Meltdown of the Year Eight--- a vivid, well-researched, very well-written account of the events that led up to financial chaos in September and October o [...]

    • Elle says:

      Too big to fail è una cronaca dettagliata della crisi finanziaria di Wall Street del 2008, che mise a rischio l'intero sistema finanziario globale e culminò con il fallimento di Lehman Brothers. Il racconto inizia con l'acquisizione da parte di JP Morgan di Bear Sterns, la prima delle "Big Five", le cinque più grandi banche d'affari di Wall Street, a crollare. Questo primo collasso genera una reazione a catena che porterà alla crisi non solo le altre banche d'affari, ma anche società appare [...]

    • Jeremy Stock says:

      An excellent read. I'm curious now to somehow watch the HBO documentary that was made (with the same author?). I felt that the author of this book, though comprehensive in his detail, too often gave an apologetic and even rationalizing explanation as to the motives and intentions of the primary actors in the catastrophic events and decisions that took place. One of the biggest take-aways from this story is that Hank Paulson and Timothy Geithner (government agents) got all the CEOs (of the bigges [...]

    • Peter says:

      I had retired from the Federal Reserve System just before the financial crisis of 2008-2009, but I was aware of many of the issues. This is a solid and well researched story of the crisis.The crisis was a creature of the shadow banking system--the array of investment banks, hedge funds, and private equity funds. It was akin to an old-time run on the bank -- short term credit dried up, financial institutions had to sell assets to meet bills and committed purchases, every institutions stress was p [...]

    • Mac says:

      A play-by-play of the days leading up to and shortly after the financial crisis, centered largely around the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and climaxing with the TARP program. Unlike Michael Lewis, who drew a fascinating and engaging story out of the short-sellers who made a bundle when the building fell down, Sorkin tries to tell "the" story of the crisis in a narrative form. I'm not sure I'm on board with that, considering how close he sets the point-of-view, but it's become a common practice [...]

    • Celine says:

      Never did I ever expect to fall so deeply enthralled with the inner lives of CEO's, Federal Reserve Chairmen and government officials. What I love most is that Sorkin writes so candidly that you find yourself lost in the turn of events yourself. By the end of the book I was pulling for people to whom I never thought I would give sympathy, and rooting against people I originally thought I liked. Definitely worth the read, even if you have no interest in the subprime mortgage crisis.

    • Shivani says:

      Subprime crises- behind the scene! Amazing book. I wonder what all the author would have gone through to collect and collate this kind of information. From Bear Stearns to TARP, everyone involved and the conversations that took place; all so palpable.

    • Jeff says:

      I picked this book up mistakenly thinking it was Paul Bunyan's memoir. It was not, but enjoyable anyhow.

    • jun says:

      The Cannon Fodder, Lehman Brothers- Review of Too Big to FailIn 2008, the lucky Chinese people sheltered under the state-owned system watched a striking and destructive financial crisis resulting from private ownership. While the real estate and financial market became sluggish, the media industry thrived to be the winner with a variety of books, films and television programs. Of which the interview collection - Too Big to Fail under the cloak of documentary produced by the young and successful [...]

    • Youghourta says:

      كتاب يستعرض الأزمة المالية التي عصفت بالاقتصاد الأمريكي سنة 2008 والتي كانت لها تبعات على كل الاقتصاد العالمي.الكتاب مُمّل في أغلبه، تفاصيل كثيرة لا تمت للموضوع بصلة، خاصة ما تعلّق منها باستعراض تاريخ بعض الشخصيات (مدراء بنوك)، الكتاب ضخم (600 صفحة) ولا أرى السبب الذي دفع الكاتب [...]

    • Vitalijus Sostak says:

      This is a solid financial history book that will remain relevant. It's outlining behind the scenes action in the very late stage of 2007-09 bear market - mostly September and October 2008 - two months when asset values started sharply accelerating down and major financial institutions were sinking fast with them. When crisis hit critical depth all former big five investment banks were rescued (in one form or another), along with other financial institutions like commercial banks (e.g. Citi), ins [...]

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