House of Cards

The author is William D. Cohan and the subtitle is A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street.  It's the story of the recent history of Bear Stearns.  Here is an NYT review.  Here is a Business Week review.  Here is an L.A. Times review; note that all reviews are very positive.

I've read only fifteen or so pages and I'm already convinced it's one of the must-read books relevant to the financial crisis.  The other two books which come to mind are Lords of Finance and The Partnership, neither of which covers the crisis directly but both offer essential background.


Not for those who like happy endings.

I imagine the same author is now busily working on House of Cars, about GM. Or House of Houses, about the real estate bubble.

I think the first lesson of the crisis is that banks, investment banks, and insurance companies shouldn't be running hedge funds larger than the rest of their business. The second is that rating agencies shouldn't be allowed to sell ratings to the highest bidder. The third is that lending abuses like those at Countrywide & IndyMac should be stopped quickly and strongly prosecuted.

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