*Too Big to Save*, by Robert Pozen

by on September 27, 2009 at 8:01 am in Books, Economics | Permalink

For the last two years I've been receiving requests — email and otherwise — for a readable, educating book on the financial crisis.  And while various books on the crisis have had their merits, no one of them has fit that bill.  Until now.

Robert Pozen's Too Big to Save: How to Fix the U.S. Financial System is the single best source for figuring out what happened.  It is the go-to book if you are a non-specialist and want to understand: how credit default swaps work, the significance of Basel II, mark-to-market, how the various Fed bailouts operated, the meaning of the toxic asset plans, and many other matters.

This is not so much a presentation of a macro narrative on the crisis as an education manual on the moving parts.  Its value stands above and beyond any particular partisan view.  Pozen, by the way, offers policy recommendations at the rough rate of about one a page and most of them are quite micro.  Even if I do not agree with everything he says, his proposals are unfailingly reasonable and well-argued and grounded in fact in some manner.

You can pre-order the book here

Here is my previous post on the book.

By the way, Pozen does refer to blogs and he even cites blog posts.

1 aw September 27, 2009 at 9:51 am

@ Tyler:

I hope you read this: Could you please avoid making these very generic statements like

“Even if I do not agree with everything he says, his proposals are unfailingly reasonable and well-argued and grounded in fact in some manner.”

What do I learn from this? Nothing, except you left yourself a door open to preemptively disagree. Please, please be concrete or don’t say these things! They are the logical equivalent of ‘I predict rain or no rain tomorrow’. Maybe you should speed down a bit (less posts) and stop skimming books and start reflecting to add some weight.

A loyal reader.

2 anon September 27, 2009 at 1:07 pm

@aw:
Cancel your damn subscription and demand a full refund!

3 JSIS September 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Is that still your opinion on GLB ? Luigi has another take
“The real effect of Gramm-Leach-Bliley was political, not directly economic. Under the old regime, commercial banks, investment banks, and insurance companies had different agendas, and so their lobbying efforts tended to offset one another. But after the restrictions were lifted, the interests of all the major players in the financial industry became aligned, giving the industry disproportionate power in shaping the political agenda. The concentration of the banking industry only added to this power.”

4 Andrew September 28, 2009 at 9:30 am

Thank you for identifying the one book to read, saving me hours of life.

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