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

Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System from Crisis - and Lost 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 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 dealbook , an online daily financial report he started in 2001 In addition, Mr Sorkin is an assistant editor of business and finance news, helping guide and shape the papers coverage

Mr Sorkin, who has appeared on NBC s Today show and on Charlie Rose on PBS, is a frequent guest host of CNBCs Squawk Box He won a Gerald Loeb Award, the highest honor in business journalism, in 2004 for breaking news He also won a Society of American Business Editors and Writers Award for breaking news in 2005 and again in 2006 In 2007, the World Economic Forum named him a Young Global Leader

Mr Sorkin began writing for The Times in 1995 under unusual circumstances he hadnt yet graduated from high school

Mr Sorkin lives in Manhattan

[EPUB] ✼ Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System from Crisis - and Lost By Andrew Ross Sorkin –
  • Hardcover
  • 600 pages
  • Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System from Crisis - and Lost
  • Andrew Ross Sorkin
  • English
  • 28 August 2017
  • 9780670021253

10 thoughts on “Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System from Crisis - and Lost

  1. 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 they should happen to step on their dicks, then they should just fail without the government trying to save them To do anything else is socialism That s a nice theory, but there s a huge flaw with it For the most part, a large business is made up of a bunch of short sighted people who will cut their own throats in the long term if it means making money next quarter Don t believe that Enron Worldcom Tyco AIG Bear Stearns Lehman Brothers Etc Etc In 2001 and 2008 we saw what happens when someone doesn t keep a close eye on the companies chasing the quick buck, and the accounting fraud of 2001 was only about ten years after the savings and loan scandals that cost the U.S around 120 billion Where we really get into trouble is when these fucktards have been allowed to run amok, and then the chickens finally come home to roost That s when Joe or Jane Taxpayer, who a few years earlier were sitting there grumbling about the damn guvment keeping the businesses from earning an honest buck, will lose their goddamn minds over the possibility of the government providing cash to these companies to keep the entire economy from going into a death spin They d rather see their 401K shrink to a 1.76 rather than let those greedy bastards get a dime of taxpayer money But no government regulation either So rather than holding our noses and spending 50 billion dollars to save Lehman Brothers and AIG and shore up a few other companies and then passing some sensible regulations to keep it from happening again, the government, fearing what Joe or Jane would say, tried to force a private sector solution and ultimately let Lehman go into bankruptcy Yet after the first domino fell, the panic that spread would end up with the U.S spending over 750 billion to try and stop another Great Depression.This book does a great job of laying out the chaos and confusion that occurred and how we were all teetering on a brink that could have been far worse in 2008 Most of the book is just a straight retelling of the events with what the major players were thinking and what they did, but there s a nice summary at the end that lays out what the author thinks about how it played out and does a fair job of assigning some blame A couple of things especially stuck out to me When the Lehman Brothers execs realized that there would be no government bail out of them, several of them gave angry speeches denouncing the government for not doing I m gonna go out on a limb and assume that a top executive at Lehman Brothers had probably been a hard core guvment sux Republican up until the point they didn t get a check Oh, the irony.The other thing that made me scratch my head was that these companies kept going back to billionaire Warren Buffet to try and get him to invest so they could raise capital Buffett made a few half hearted offers on things he thought he could turn a buck on Late in the game, when TARP had been passed and the original plan was for the government to buy the toxic assets that were dragging down everyone, Buffet sent a letter to the secretary of the treasury where he laid out a plan that would have created a hybrid of a public and private company to buy up those assets, get a fair market value for them, take them off the troubled companies balance sheets and potentially provided a decent return on the tax payer money Buffet even pledged to invest 100 million of his own money and help administer it The plan was shelved when it was decided to invest capital in the banks, but out of all the schemes hatched over those desperate days, it seems like one of the plausible ones.So why in the name of Alexander Hamilton didn t anyone ask Warren Buffett for a plan earlier They all knew he d been too smart to get involved in the mess that was dragging them all down One reading of a Lehman Brothers stock report that the industry had praised just weeks earlier convinced Buffett that he wouldn t loan them any capital All of these companies tried to beg money off him, but no one asked him if he had any ideas to get them out of the mess WTF Here s the best part It s going to happen again Think it can t There s still been no meaningful regulations passed and I will bet a six pack of Boulevard Pilsner that there will be yet another meltdown that will tank the economy and cost taxpayers huge before 2020 Any takers

  2. 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 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 only way I can grasp it, financial pea brain as I am and leaves out the part insurance companies played is that the banks use their money, our money, our deposits, to make money by lending it out as mortgages and business loans They make money on the interest people have to pay for those loans If the standards for getting a loan are pretty lax as they were at the time then a lot of people won t be able to repay their loans and the bank doesn t have the money, isn t earning interest but has a dud house that won t sell for a profitable amount or a bankrupt business So the bank isn t making any money but in an effort to do so, it relaxes restrictions on getting a loan even so even people borrow money and fail to repay it in this depressed economy etc etc etc There is another arm to this banking scam business, that is investment, and here s where the big bucks come in Investment bankers are always looking for good businesses where they can buy shares at a much lower price than they think they will rise to in the future, then they can sell them and realise a profit Of course, there is always the risk they made a wrong judgement call and the shares fall in price and as they are on their way down they have to decide whether to stick with them and hold on to them and hope they will go up some time or get out with a reduced amount Either way the bank is holding on to some pretty worthless stuff, like the houses that got foreclosed and won t sell for the value of the loan and the bankrupt businesses, or they ve taken a loss on the shares either completely or close enough So there you have it, whatever the banks did in a depressed economy they were losing money If everyone were to go to their bank to withdraw all their money they couldn t as the banks have lost some of the money on those unwise deals, and have locked up in loans and investments that might pay up or might also go belly up So some of the bigger investors seeing that Lehmans among other banks looked like they were full of bad debts and old houses and not much cash wanted their money out On Wall Street, people took notice of big investors pulling their money out, and people did, and started to look at the other banks most of whom were in exactly the same position So these big investors were pulling their money out from everywhere and looking to the Far East and points South, North, East and West where the bankers had been regulated by government and not allowed to carry on risking people s money to the degree there was no longer enough to pay people their money back.So the banks couldn t pay back the depositors their money, and like a pack of cards one after the other began to collapse The next thing, the final thing really, was the fear that you and me and everyone else on your street would suddenly wake up and realise what was happening with the big investors was happening to you too and be in the queue at their bank at 9 a.m to withdraw their money And the bank wouldn t have it Can you imagine the scene Smashed ATMs and rioting Businesses would not pay their overnight deposits in the next night, everyone would demand to be paid in cash, shops would not accept credit cards, debit cards wouldn t work There would be anarchy in the streets And the government would fall.The US holds the principles of capitalism far too dear and always sees Communism when nationalisation and regulation of industries is debated, even when, as with the bankers it was obviously needed So before a rescue package could be put together, they had to overcome the Fear of the Bogeyman Once they did that, they could put together a financial package loaning the banks at very favourable terms, enough billions that everyone who wanted their money could get it and their would be enough left over to invest and hopefully restore the banks to their usual obscenely greedy profit making What really swayed them was the fact that the government would fall and they, Bush s Republicans, would 100% definitely be out of a job.So now is the time for regulating the banks and how they spend these vast sums that are being loaned to them But guess what The bankers won t accept any meaningful regulation at all Its fine by them if the banks collapse, they ve all been drawing huge salaries and bonuses often in the millions And knowing the collapse was coming you can be sure their money was holed up somewhere safe So the government had a three way choice One, let the banks collapse and the government along with it producing a Depression so major that it would reverberate around the world and make the depression of the 30s look like some minor thing that happened way back when Two, call the bankers bluff and bail out the banks and regulate their investments so that our homes, our small businesses and our money was safe by stopping the bankers risky behaviour this would have benefited the average person, you and me Three, give in to the bankers, let them invest as they please make huge profits if they could and then awarding themselves multi million dollar salaries and bonuses and throwing us, average Joes, to the pits.The investment bankers said if you put any restrictions on us, we will all leave, we will retire, we will go to other countries banks, we will do as we please, but we will not work in any bank that restricts how we do our business, so we got you over a barrel, either you do it our way or no way HahahaYep By the balls And the average Joe.So the situation now is as it was, seven financial institutions control the banking system of the US and should they fail, well, read the book Just a note, the a country relies on financial products the it is susceptible to a depression If the country relies on manufacturing items people want China, Germany, South Korea etc then its in a much stronger situation Sure it could be hard to raise money to buy raw materials and machinery if the banks go, but what they have sold and have to sell gives them cash coming in Another note, you paid the bankers salaries and bonuses, you paid for their bail out when they did it wrong and you are paying through interest for their salaries and bonuses again What interest does the bank give you on your deposit Essentially, the public is triple screwedWhat are the alternatives to the banking system Buy gold, ingots not jewellery, you don t want to pay for the design, and find somewhere safe to put it, ie not a bank Or money under the mattress

  3. 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 Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley said enough to the investment banking business, and became bank holding companies.This book focuses on the executive personalities and decisions which led to this deal It does a good job of this, with a Woodward Bernstein style look at how deals were made.The problem of this book is the lack of general context how the crisis even happened, with barely any mention of the real estate bubble and only a few pages devoted to derivatives Sorkin here is a fine reporter, now it s time to analyze and see who will be in the right or wrong from this.

  4. 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 spoken to since his intern days He goes inside Lehman CFO Erin Callan s head and real estate records to find out that she borrowed 5 million on a 6.48 million condo at 15 Central Park West, designed by Robert A.M Stern We see the suspicious question marks circling in Warren Buffett s head as he talks with Lehman CEO Dick Fuld about possibly buying a stake in Lehman We get Jim Cramer s point of view on a meeting with Fuld and Callan about short sellers Fuld is hoping Cramer will talk bullish about Lehman on CNBC, but Cramer doesn t trust what they re telling him Morgan Stanley, tasked with examining Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac s enormous mortgage portfolios to determine how bad the damage is, ships all the data to.India, where Morgan Stanley has an analytic center 1,300 employees there will pore over it Apparently Sorkin is talking about hard copies here The weakness of the book is that it s as if the entire crisis of 2008 unfolded in a vacuum, divorced from the enormous real estate bubble, mortgage frauds, toxic assets, complex derivatives, deregulation, and banker greed that caused it Sorkin never explains the origins of the crisis in financial or macroeconomic terms, aside from the briefest sentence here and there The securitization of mortgages, and collateralized debt obligations CDOs , are explained in less than two pages of a 600 page book There are so many trees here, and we spend so much time examining bark and leaves, that I wouldn t be surprised if many readers had no idea what the forest itself looked like The degree of detail is about as granular and exhaustive as it gets I think Sorkin explored every phone call, landline or cellular, that every Wall Street executive made or took during the crisis When the executives go to their favorite restaurant, San Pietro, we find out what they ate Sorkin never fails to tell us whether someone lands at Teterboro Airport, or Westchester.There are juicy quotes, and some juicy gossip We find out who hated whom Who thinks who is really stupid No one thought SEC chair Christopher Cox was up to the job, and Citigroup s Vikram Pandit doesn t shine as luminously as some of the other bulbs John Thain is greedy as all get out Tim Geithner has six pack abs Hank Paulson calls his penis Herman p 346 , which I wish I didn t now know At the height of the crisis Geithner was so intent on having banks merge to solve their liquidity problems that some CEOs began referring to him as eHarmony Geithner can t stand FDIC chairwoman Sheila Bair, who he thinks is a media grandstander, and he subtly mocks her on a conference call At a tense emergency meeting between the Bush cabinet and Congressional leaders on the TARP plan, arguments, shouting and finger pointing erupt Dick Cheney watches silently, smiling If you actually want to know what the financial crisis was, and why it happened, read Bethany McLean s book All the Devils are Here The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis Unlike Sorkin, McLean is an investigative business journalist She tells a great story, and she underpins it thoroughly with nuts and bolts explanations.

  5. 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 books I ve read

  6. 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 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 and Paulson He also seems to credit Fuld with a lot good faith than I remember him exhibiting Though Sorkin is right that Lehman probably should have been saved too I do think it s an important read for those people who don t remember the crisis for example, my students were in middle school And many of them believe wholeheartedly in market discipline again So I guess I will have to assign and until they realize how little stomach we had for market discipline on the brink of disaster.

  7. says:

    The level of detail is astonishing in this comprehensive insider s look at the 2008 financial crisis including the failure of Lehman Brothers and the response of government regulators This book will be an undeniable resource for historians in the years to come Unfortunately that same level of detail also cripples the book somewhat, making it too unwieldy and dense to be fully appreciated by the average reader.

  8. says:

    I have 5 books on the 2008 financial crisis and this is the largest However, it wasn t Too Big to Fail Mostly a waste of my time but I finished it and will give it 2 Stars If you want to know what some of the people on Wall Street and a few in DC were saying and doing, you will be satisfied You won t learn anything about what caused the financial crisis and you really don t get any detail on the plans to save the system Just make a plan , give me your Plan B , call that guy , make a deal , come up with a solution , blah, blah, blah Not surprising that this guy has written a slanted, partisan account but it is a gossip column than a useful history He treated favored players to positive coverage he wants to get them on as guests on his morning financial show If you want a great explanation of the origin of the financial crisis, read The Big Short Inside the Doomsday Machine or the first 37 pages of The Sellout How Three Decades of Wall Street Greed and Government Mismanagement Destroyed the Global Financial System Not this book.

  9. says:

    It was very interesting as well as enlightening read More will told by the native readers but as fas as my own perception about the book is concerned, I got a lot to learn and understand about the functioning of USA economy and the big time players who influence the system.

  10. 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 Wikipedia seriously This, however, seems 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 asses Was he a fly on the wall when one of those big shots rolled down the window, lamenting how tired he felt due to jet lag, after schmoozing clients in India I find it troubling that the book is written like a suspense novel instead of a factual account and analysis of the actual event.The book is not badly written I can fully understand why people love it However, I find it disturbing, that it seems the author was depicting all these movers n shakers as some kind of tragic heroes There is this subtle hint of admiration in the author s story telling Playing recklessly with other people s money, raking in record high , crashing the system, bailed out by taxpayers, and NOT penalized in any way or form wow, the glory, the excitement These are criminals and parasites, not some fallen angels I don t need and want to know their wonderful history of climbing the corporate ladder, and yet, it seems the book is exactly about that, all the tedious details of their lives and ascension Shocking Of course, maybe I am just biased.

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