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Review: The Weekend That Changed Wall Street: An Eyewitness Account

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The Weekend That Changed Wall Street: An Eyewitness AccountI’ve read a lot of books about the credit crisis from Hank Paulson’s On The Brink to Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, so I’m pretty familiar with the behind the scenes weekend activity that precipitated the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15th, 2008. In both books, the weekend itself was a tent pole in the larger story but not the sole focus of the book. Paulson’s book focused on the government’s activity, specifically the Treasury, while the Big Short focused on the market players who saw the crash coming and were able to benefit from it.

Maria Bartiromo, long time CNBC anchor, focused on the weekend itself in The Weekend That Changed Wall Street: An Eyewitness Account and taps inside sources who were actually there including many of the top executives in those meetings. If you’ve read any of my book reviews, you know I’m a sucker for juicy insider-type information and this book delivers. Bartiromo has been a fixture in Wall Street reporting and it shows in the people she interviews for her book. If you wanted insider information about what happened that weekend, this is the book to get and I believe few people other than Bartiromo would’ve had the access to write it.

I think that anyone who hopes to speak intelligently about the credit crisis needs to read this book and the two I mentioned in the introduction. The credit crisis is remarkably complex but books like these do a good job distilling the crisis into ideas we can understand, even if we don’t have the financial training. While I consider myself educated, I don’t think I have the necessary tools to truly understand the magnitude of the crisis, yet through books like these I was able to understand what happened, why, and how we almost saw our financial system collapse.

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6 Responses to “Review: The Weekend That Changed Wall Street: An Eyewitness Account”

  1. George says:

    Interesting timing for your post. I just finished “The Greatest Trade Ever” by Gregory Zuckerman which is on the same topic. This book covers similar territory as “The Big Short” so I’ll have to check this out and see the differences.

    “The Greatest Trade Ever” really makes you think about market fundamentals and translates very well to individuals investors.

  2. Steve says:

    LOL, the first thing I thought of was the clips of Bartiromo when Kramer was on Stewart, mainly this part-

    “Larry Kudlow and Jim Cramer and others were seen, in CNBC footage assembled by “The Daily Show,” making absurd, toxic and ultimately tragic predictions about how awesomely awesome the market was about to be, how Bear Stearns would never fail, how turnaround was coming, how it was time to buy. Maria Bartiromo and various on-air soldier ants were also shown sucking up to assorted titans of business in the golden days before the recession began to seem like something worse.”

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/03/11/cnbc

  3. billsnider says:

    I haven’t read any of these books, but have read many posts and articles in magazines and newspapers. One thing they all fail to mention is the role of the individual investor. They have to be thrown into the mix.

    CNBC had a documentary show last year that went to this point. People were buying houses even though they knew they couldn’t afford it. for instance, one guy both a house and intended to flip it ion one year for a $50,000 profit. needless to say this was unrealistic in the long term and he got caught. who’s fault is it? The financial community has some blame here, but so does this investor.

    Jim and others who have read these books. Does it touch on this angle?

    Bill snider

  4. Kalie says:

    I’d love to read your summary or main points of what you learned.

  5. Annie Morris says:

    You might also read A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story on the Collapse of Lehman Brothers by Larry McDonald. It is interesting and he gives a unique point of view from a Lehman Bros. banker.


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