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

I’ve read a lot of books about the credit crisis from Hank Paulson’s On The Brink [3] to Michael Lewis’s The Big Short [4], 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 [3] 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.