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

4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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  • Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System--and Themselves
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Updated ed. edition (Sept. 7 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143118242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143118244
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 3.6 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"...comprehensive and chilling..."

"...his action scenes are intimate and engaging..."
-The New Yorker

"Sorkin's prodigious reporting and lively writing put the reader in the room for some of the biggest-dollar conference calls in history. It's an entertaining book, brisk book...Sorkin skillfully captures the raucous enthusiasm and riotous greed that fueled this rational irrationality."
-The New York Times Book Review

"...brings the drama alive with unusual inside access and compelling detail...A deeply researched account of the financial meltdown."

"...meticulously researched...told brilliantly. Other blow-by-blow accounts are in the works. It is hard to imagine them being this riveting."
-The Economist

"Sorkin's densely detailed and astonishing narrative of the epic financial crisis of 2008 is an extraordinary achievement that will be hard to surpass as the definitive account...as a dramatic close-up, his book is hard to beat."
-Financial Times

"Sorkin's book, like its author, is a phenom...an absolute tour de force."
-The American Prospect

"Andrew Ross Sorkin pens what may be the definitive history of the banking crisis."
-The Atlantic Monthly

"Andrew Ross Sorkin has written a fascinating, scene-by-scene saga of the eyeless trying to march the clueless through Great Depression II."
-Tom Wolfe

"...Sorkin has succeeded in writing the book of the crisis, with amazing levels of detail and access."

"Sorkin can write. His storytelling makes "Liar's Poker" look like a children's book."
-SNL Financial

About the Author

Andrew Ross Sorkin is the award-winning chief mergers and acquisitions reporter for The New York Times, a columnist, and assistant editor of business and finance news. He is also the editor and founder of DealBook, an online daily financial report. He has won a Gerald Loeb Award, the highest honor in business journalism, and a Society of American Business Editors and Writers Award. In 2007, the World Economic Forum named him a Young Global Leader.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover
Everyone lives by their own rules. Everyone has their own reality and the reality that the leaders of the American financial system is warped. Reading Mr. Sorkin's book about the men who should have been fired yet still control this industry is fascinating. They include the likes Dick Fuld of the failed Lehman Brothers, John Mack of Morgan Stanley, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, and John Thorn of Merrill Lynch. Then there's the guys who are supposed to regulate them, men like Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke. Despite their evil, Mr. Sorkin has reader relating to their ambitions, their triumphs and their despair. They seem like good guys that another guy could sit down with and have a nice chat. First though, that guy would have to have access to the best restaurants in New York, a car and driver at his beck and call, a personal jet, a multi-millionaire dollar flat bordering Central Park plus another mega-get-away home plus attend company retreats in exclusive hotels around the world. Theirs is a reality based on limitless greed and a total ignorance and concern for the plight of everyone else in the world who cannot afford their own jet. It's the savings of these people that were lost in a gamble for multi-million dollar bonuses that would be earned whether those gambles paid off or not. When the financial system was in crises, all these guys could think about was saving their own necks and the beauty of Mr. Sorkin's book is that he makes it all understandable. Sickening but understandable.
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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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