Books that Inspire Me

  • Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial Sys Andrew Ross Sorkin

    12 April 2012

    Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial Sys

    by Andrew Ross Sorkin


    Andrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true behind-the-scenes, moment-by-moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami. From inside the corner office at Lehman Brothers to secret meetings in South Korea, and the corridors of Washington, Too Big to Fail is the definitive story of the most powerful men and women in finance and politics grappling with success and failure, ego and greed, and, ultimately, the fate of the world’s economy.

    “We’ve got to get some foam down on the runway!” a sleepless Timothy Geithner, the then-president of the Federal Reserve of New York, would tell Henry M. Paulson, the Treasury secretary, about the catastrophic crash the world’s financial system would experience.

    Through unprecedented access to the players involved, Too Big to Fail re-creates all the drama and turmoil, revealing never disclosed details and elucidating how decisions made on Wall Street over the past decade sowed the seeds of the debacle. This true story is not just a look at banks that were “too big to fail,” it is a real-life thriller with a cast of bold-faced names who themselves thought they were too big to fail.

    Lesson learned

    Hands down the best book I have read on this topic. Andrew Ross Sorkin has done some of the most complete reporting I have ever seen. The detail he went into seemed as if he was in every room, on every call, and cc’ed on every email during the real estate financial meltdown. I have read over a dozen books on the subject and this is the book I will read over and over again.

    I think everyone should read it, too. It will help truly highlight how Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Tim Geithner saved the world from a complete financial meltdown. Often we hear criticisms about how they bailed out the system. “Too big to fail” walks the reader step by step through how they came to have to bail out the US financial system, highlighting how they really had no choice. The consequence was that they truly saved our financial system.

    What I enjoyed most about all this was learning how the system really works. We all have a big picture of how government and the private sector engage with each other, and Sorkin gives a more micro view into how things really work.

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  • And Then the Roof Caved In: How Wall Street’s Greed and Stupidity Brought Capitalism to Its Knees David Faber

    2 September 2010

    And Then the Roof Caved In: How Wall Street’s Greed and Stupidity Brought Capitalism to Its Knees

    by David Faber


    And Then the Roof Caved In lays bare the truth of the credit crisis, whose defining emotion at every turn has been greed, and whose defining failure is the complicity of the U.S. government in letting that greed rule the day. Written by CNBC's David Faber, this book painstakingly details the truth of what really happened with compelling characters who offer their first-hand accounts of what they did and why they did it.

    Page by page, Faber explains the events of the previous seven years that planted the seeds for the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. He begins in 2001, when the Federal Reserve embarked on an unprecedented effort to help the economy recover from the attacks of 9/11 by sending interest rates to all time lows. Faber also gives you an up-close look at where the crisis was incubated and unleashed upon the world-Wall Street-and introduces you to insiders from investment banks and mortgage lenders to ratings agencies, that unwittingly conspired to insure lending standards were abandoned in the head long rush for profits.

    Lesson learned

    In my view David Faber is one of the best reporters at CNBC due to the depth of his reporting. When he released this book I purchased it right away. I have always said Warren Buffett is an amazing investor because he is such a student of history. As I aspire to be a great investor I try to be a student of history as well. I want to know everything possible about why our markets crashed. In the book, David took me step by step through all the layers of greed that caused the biggest financial crisis since the great depression. David did an amazing job of highlighting we are all at fault. Our government failed us. Greedy bankers failed us. We failed each other by taking loans we could not afford. Mortgage brokers failed us by bending the rules, and so on. 

    What I learned most from this reading was: our mortgage markets are made up of investors passing the buck. No one really tales any risk anymore. We just passed it on to the next person. I hope in the future we solve this problem of passing risk on to the next guy. I also learned as an investor to keep an eye on all members in the circle of capitalism, as you can make wiser personal investments by knowing what is going on downstream. Had I noticed the problems in the bond markets, stock markets, and bank earnings, I might have purchased one less investment property before the crash.

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  • The House of Dimon: How JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon Rose to the Top of the Financial World Patricia Crisafulli

    19 June 2010

    The House of Dimon: How JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon Rose to the Top of the Financial World

    by Patricia Crisafulli


    A behind-the-scenes look at Wall Street's top banker

    Following the eleventh-hour rescue of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon's profile reached stratospheric levels. And while the deals and decisions he's made have usually turned out to be the right ones, his journey to the top of the financial world has been anything but easy.

    Now, in The House of Dimon, former business journalist Patricia Crisafulli goes behind the scenes to recount the amazing events that have shaped Dimon's career, from his rise to prominence as Sandy Weill's protzgzat Citigroup to the drama surrounding his purchase of Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual. Each step of the way, this engaging book provides insider accounts of how Dimon successfully acquired and integrated companies, created efficiencies, and grew bottom-line results as the consummate hands-on manager.

    Lesson learned

    We all think of Mike Jordan, or Tiger Woods as the multi-generational super stars of their sports. In almost every category of life we tend to highlight the super stars. We do this in sports, acting, music, and so on. Very often we do not highlight the superstar CEOs, the leaders who run large companies. With 245,000 employees, and a market moving foot print in almost every market, a super star CEO like Jamie Dimon has the ability to build tremendous wealth world wide. I picked up this book because I wanted to learn more about what it takes to be that super CEO. What can I learn from Jamie Dimon? As an investor how I can spot other super start CEO?

    I really enjoy how the book takes us through Jamie's entire professional life and walks us step by step to how he became the CEO of Chase. It was fascinating how he was able to grow Chase's assets while also being a contributing player in saving the world from total financial melt down.

    One of the things that really stood out to me when reading this book was how Dimon always got his business in order first before focusing on profits. The book describes how he took a step back and made sure the technology that runs Chase banks was unified and cutting edge. By being obsessed with getting the house in order first before chasing opportunity has placed Jamie Dimon among the most admired CEOs. He out competes his competitors by a long shot, and he stayed strong when all other banks were down.

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