The Murder of Lehman Brothers: An Insider's Look At the Global Meltdown Hardcover – Oct. 16 2009
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
- Hardcover : 275 pages
- ISBN-10 : 188328371X
- Dimensions : 16.31 x 2.13 x 23.88 cm
- ISBN-13 : 978-1883283711
- Publisher : Ibooks, Inc. (Oct. 16 2009)
- Item Weight : 552 g
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,349,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"This is the only [financial crisis book] that brings Wall Street culture to life and shows how reckless excess was fed by Washington politicians" ""Joe" doesn't pull any punches with his mea culpas about "drinking the Kool-Aid," rationalizing away risks...of delusional financiers,"
"I'm touting this book not only because it rings true about the Wall Street I know, but because it implicates the Washington political leaders who paved the way for Wall Street's excessive risk taking and predatory lending" -----Capital Gains and Capital Games---
"What it does better than anything else is humanize a firm and its employees in a way that's been rare of late." ""The Murder of Lehman Brothers" is a better book [than A Colossal Failure of Common Sense]" "He [Tibman] presents a more nuanced portrait of the firm, its leadership, particularly CEO Richard Fuld, and the rank and file." "So who (or what) killed Lehman? Tibman presents a more complex and shifting judgment, which is one of the strengths of the book." "...moves quickly and inexorably" "...the lesson from Tibman's memoir of Lehman is the profound ambiguity of a seductive culture and an all-powerful, if Wizard of Oz-like leader." -----The Deal Magazine/thedeal.com---
"Tibman has probably written the most user-friendly account of LB’s demise and guide to the economic collapse of 2008."
"His first-person perspective provid[es] a connection with the events and the firm that is missing from the many other books on LB."
"...much of what he has written appears sincere and genuine, written with a welcome bluntness and honesty."
"...if you’re looking for something with a first-hand slant, then this is perfect." -----Civilian Reader --- Stefan Fergus
"Explosive" --N'Digo Chicago Weekly, Matthew Sapaula, Host of Money Smart
PROLOGUE--- While I was not present for what I describe below, the story is true and, at Lehman, was legend, especially among us lifers who broke bread in the executive dining room. On this one page, I have allowed myself reasonable poetic license. Still, as I have known and observed both of the men I describe, I believe I have nailed the tenor of this event. Piled high with the usual paperwork, Allan Kaplan, an old-school senior executive, whom many came to regard as the "conscience of Lehman Brothers," sat as his desk. Dick Fuld, one of the fixed income1 traders, appeared in his office door. Kaplan, as always, continued methodically working through the piles stacked and arranged in perfect right angles before him. He glanced expressionlessly in Fuld's direction, returned his gaze to the work on his desk. Kaplan acknowledged the figure in his office doorway, just loud enough for Fuld to hear, and then ignored him as he continued his progress through the great volume of paper that required his attention, his sanction. Fuld was unable to shuffle his feet in the threshold of Kaplan's office for very long, and like a shark that must keep moving to live, strode to the senior executive's desk, announcing that he required a signature so that he could complete a profitable, time-sensitive trade. Kaplan lifted his head, placed his half-smoked Cohiba in an ashtray and blankly looked at the impertinent, headstrong Fuld. Moving only his lips, he informed Fuld in crisp words that seemed to disappear into the pile of the carpet, that he, Kaplan, from his mile-high aerie, would consider approval of Fuld's trade once his desk was clear of the many piles. Fuld, his veins filled with adrenaline rather than blood, could not sit on this trade. Every second that passed increased the risk that he would lose it. For Fuld, it was all about the moment. In this one, as in so many others, he saw the purpose of his very existence and that of his firm as one: to make money. It was written in stone that no one wanted to rub Kaplan the wrong way. To do so could precipitate unpredictable wrath. But Kaplan was increasingly an anachronism. Time would not stand still to accommodate the outdated approval process that tied Fuld's hands. To consummate the trade, Fuld required Kaplan's immediate sanction. Making the situation doubly frustrating was a clear expectation, undoubtedly shared by Kaplan, that the trade would be quickly approved once the titan's eyes fell on the paperwork. Slam-dunk. But Fuld was tangled in the red tape of this powerbroker, known for his traditional, understated manner, as well as limited tolerance for hotheads who came to him halfcocked, ill-prepared, or disrespectful of the process. Still there was a monetary bottom line and it flashed neon in Fuld's eyes: the trade will not wait. Kaplan, still ignoring him, had become an intolerable brick wall. And so, acting on pure impulse and instinct, the very innards of the best traders, Fuld cleared Kaplan's desk with a single sweep of his arm, scattering the exalted one's neat piles around his desk. Sucking in his breath, Fuld told the implicitly fearsome Allan Kaplan that now he could approve the trade; his desk was clear. If Kaplan flinched, it was not visible to the human eye. But he did fix his stare on Fuld, eyes widening, this, the only discernible reaction. Fuld's cheeks filled with blood as he awaited his fate. Inwardly, Kaplan smiled puckishly. Yes, he was amused and impressed. This Fuld had potential. Kaplan silently reviewed the documents requiring his approval of the insubordinate trader's transaction, and with dispatch, delivered his signature. Fuld rotated on heels of wing tips, utterly in the dark as to what the poker-faced Kaplan had in store for him. Would he even have a job the next day? But Fuld was in the moment, like the best of traders, the risk takers, and held the authorization to trade in his hand. Many years later, in May of 2003, Dick Fuld stood before a packed chapel of mourners, including numerous employees of the firm that Fuld, now CEO, transformed into a major force on Wall Street. He lauded and joked affectionately about Kaplan, making great mention of his deceased colleague's integrity and ethics, and about the suit pants Kaplan belted so high--Fuld affectionately chuckled--that they reached Kaplan's chin. Until a week before, Allan Kaplan had been fully engaged at Lehman, despite a festering illness, serving the firm he had made his second home for thirty-six years. In summing up Kaplan's tenure, Richard Fuld, the hard-assed titan, one of the most powerful men on Wall Street, always bursting with testosterone, choked tearfully on his closing words: "Allan was my friend." Fuld would later honor Kaplan by naming the auditorium on the lower level of Lehman's majestic Time Square tower after him. He wanted to do something. And it was a fine gesture. But the man called the conscience of Lehman had expired. ----- THE pROLOGUE TO THE BOOK ---
From the Publisher
Top reviews from other countries
Due libri completamente diversi.
Firefighting è scritto dal trio Bernanke-Geithner-Paulson, i sommi protagonisti, a dieci anni di distanza dagli eventi, con lucidità analitica e un certo senso di autocompiacimento.
Qui, dietro lo pseudonimo, si cela un ex dipendente Lehman, testimone impotente che racconta i fatti a pochi mesi di distanza.
Non è ancora arrivato il momento dell'analisi, c'è però tutta l'intensità emotiva di chi in poche settimane scopre che il suo mondo, la sua azienda, i suoi risparmi e la sua stessa carriera stanno andando in fumo.
Alcune dichiarazioni di Paulson riportate in questo libro sono molto diverse dalle considerazioni da lui esposte in Firefighting.
Davvero una lettura e un confronto interessante.
account of leading us through the Lehman years, but anybody not closely associated with the firm has got to find the read rather boring....you get sick of hearing what a great firm it was and would have survived without the commercial real estate positions of Fuld and Gregory. Written by an guy from the investment banking side of the business and fails to entertain us because of a lack of trading side insight.
It is easy in hindsight to point fingers at various people involved in the financial crisis. But to do that would require many fingers and many hands. The lesson to learn is that bubbles are hard to see coming, and then when things go wrong they go wrong fast and unexpectedly.
I would recommend this book if you are a student of the literature of the financial crisis, and have read a number of the other more broad and factual books about it. This book then gives some personal and close up perspective.
The general theme to the book seems to be how "unfair" it was to let Lehman go bankrupt. Although the author makes some legitimate points, such as Secretary Paulson's lack of a plan for the crisis and uneven treatment of other institutions, I think there is a fundamental flaw in his logic. It's true that other companies like AIG and Bear were helped out of a jam by the government, but Lehman was also assisted by the government in that both Bernanke and Paulson tried hard to facilitate the sale of Lehman, albeit unsuccessfully. And using the author's logic, if you had different 5 robbers that held up 5 different elderly pensioners, and at the five separate trials, 4 were acquitted and one found guilty, is that "unfair" to the convicted robber? Not in my opinion, yet this seems to be the case that this author is making. Lehman (like some of the other banks) was virtually criminally negligent in their business dealings and paid the price. Other banks escaped that fate, but that doesn't make Lehman's demise "unfair". And would Goldman Sachs (Paulson's old firm) been treated differently? We'll never really know ... Goldman divested itself of much of that toxic stuff, an act with it's own moral problems, but nonetheless, Goldman was not in the same mess as Lehman. And as for the subtitle "An Insider's Look at the Global Meltdown" ... not really. The book deals almost exclusively with Lehman's problems and doesn't explain much else. Certainly, books like "13 Bankers" or even "And Then the Roof Caved In" do a far better job at that.
The best thing about this book (and most others I've read regarding the crisis) is the point they make about "free" and unregulated markets: That they DON'T WORK. That's not to say I'm anti-capitalist, just that a sensible amount of regulation (especially regarding transparency of book-keeping and disclosure of what risks certain investments may have) is necessary to prevent the systemic damage that this crisis caused.
It is authored by an insider who worked at Lehman and has great knowledge of investment banking. Around page 55, he begins to discuss the complicated financial instruments that got us all into trouble: CDOs, Swaps, Mortgage backed securities. His explanations are lucid and enormously helpful.
Also praiseworthy is the author's critique of Lehman itself, and his discussion of inside politics, mistakes that were made and other aspects of the downfall.
The lesson here to the reader is Patience. The prologue and first few chapters are painful reading.
My only criticisms are:
The book is not well written. There are many grammatical errors, typos, poorly constructed sentences, and a general abuse of punctuation which ultimately distract from the information the author intends to convey. I had the feeling that it was not edited by anyone, or even proofread, for that matter.
Secondly, the thesis is contradictory. First the author blames senior management for the downfall--specifically the inattention to risk management, the exposure to dangerous financial instruments and real estate portfolio--but in the penultimate chapter the author dumps it all in Paulson's lap. Some of the more recent books take a more balanced approach in trying to come to terms with who was to "blame."
There is much repitition in this book. To reiterate, it suffers terribly from the lack of a good editor.
But it is important in the sense that it represents a contribution to the archive of how to assess the near-cataclysm that happened last year.
I feel it was generous to award this book three stars. It is hard to justify spending nearly twenty bucks on this book when there are superior, more realistic books on this identical topic.