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Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the FinancialSystem--and Themselves Paperback – Sep 7 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Updated edition (Sept. 7 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143118242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143118244
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 14 x 3.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By CLS on Dec 21 2009
Format: Hardcover
Having waded through every not very suspenseful page of this volume, I find it puzzling that no one apparently seemed to have thought it necessary to proofread the text before it was published. I cannot recall the last time I encountered so many spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and examples of sloppy punctuation. Coupled with Mr. Sorkin's fondness for stock phrases and cliche, one comes away from the experience wondering whether some publishing houses now simply regard certain books as being too big to edit. One perception that Mr. Sorkin does confirm, perhaps rather inadvertently, is the degree of self-absorption and lack of concern for the real-world effect of their actions that seems to be the dominant character trait of every senior Wall Street figure he presents. Prices they all know, values seem less familiar.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ian Robertson TOP 100 REVIEWER on Jan. 2 2010
Format: Hardcover
New York Times writer Andrew Ross Sorkin's "Too Big To Fail" is an important book that deserves to be read by all with an interest in the competitive, clubby world of finance. The book begins just after Bear Stearns' forced takeover by JP Morgan and spans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's government bailouts; Lehman's collapse; Merrill Lynch's forced marriage; Washington Mutual and Wachovia's demise as independent banks; AIG's government bailout; and ends with the government's implementation of TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program). The events are already familiar to all, but they are relayed here chronologically in gripping detail, reconstructed through countless interviews and woven together in a story so fast moving and far fetched it seems almost unbelievable.

At one point, during hastily called talks to plug a sudden $50,000,000,000 plus funding shortfall at AIG (yes, that's right, suddenly they were short about $50 billion dollars), one of the investment bankers involved does a quick calculation that his firm could make $2,500,000,000 in underwriting commissions. Is it any wonder that folks on Main Street have a deep mistrust and antipathy towards Wall Street? The whole situation seems too bizarre to even pass as fiction. In the end, AIG was sinking too quickly, and the government bailed them out; the investment banker would have to look elsewhere for a $2.5 billion fee.

Bear Stearns' collapse happened in March 2008, and Sorkin spends the first third of the book providing interesting background detail on the major players, both individuals and institutions, and letting Lehman's precarious situation build.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ila France Porcher on March 5 2012
Format: Hardcover
Inside the Battle to Save Wall Street--Too Big to Fail--is a riveting account of the events leading to the financial crisis of September, 2008 in which the greatest international finance companies in the world teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.

The story is told with a humanity that makes the affairs of the powerful men and women involved understandable, and provides a blow by blow description of exactly what happened on Wall Street when suddenly trillions of dollars began evaporating into thin air, and threatened the entire system of interconnected world finance.

Andrew Ross Sorkin skillfully takes the reader into the meetings and conferences in The Federal Reserve and the great institutions of Wall Street to witness the struggle to solve a crisis that threatened to topple the global financial structure.

He has organized the chaos of uncertainty and panic that reigned, twenty four hours a day during this period, into a well told story that is truly difficult to put down.

We all hope that this incredible affair will have taught the powers that be a lesson that will guide them, not only to prevent the same thing from happening all over again, but that they will correct the grave errors that precipitated the crisis in the first place.

The rest of us ordinary mortals hope to be able to go on enjoying our ordinary lives.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We followed this story as it happened and this book is an excellent accounting of the whole mess. It remains a story with many victims and no perpetrators; justice failed. The well paid executives are still laughing at the people from their secure positions. The author captured the actual feel of the events without being overly dramatic; a true reporter.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peter Frederick on Nov. 24 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have just finished reading the book, and congratulate the author on a fascinating story. The mix of personal information on the principals involved, and the almost unbelievable detail in the actual story, was better than any fictional thriller. At the same time, the horror at the behaviour of many of the main protagonists, with their excessively lavish lifestyles, kept coming to the surface. I can't wait to read it again!
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