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September 29, 2008

News & Opinion: Business Books For The Current Credit Crunch

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:59 PM – Filed under: Current Events & Public Affairs

Shelf Awareness, a great site that follows the book trade, requested book suggestions that would help explain the current credit crisis.

On Friday, they ran the piece under the heading Meltdown Lit: Recommended Books for the Wall Street Debacle. Please go check out the whole piece. There are great suggestions.

Below is our original submission, which they used extensively for the article:

--The Subprime Solution by Robert Shiller

Shiller's work on housing values is well-known and originally established in Irrational Exuberance. His latest book just released in August describes pretty clearly the mortgage crisis we are in and offers some solutions to get out.

--Essays on the Great Depression by Ben Bernanke

You want some insight into what the current Fed chairman is thinking, reading his perspective on the last event of this magnitude may help understand what he does in this one.

--The Age of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan

Hearing from the latest Fed Chairman might also be useful. Many are laying the blame at Mr. Greenspan's feet. The paperback that was released on September 9th has a new chapter with his thoughts on the current credit crisis.

--When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein

This from a review I wrote:

"Throughout When Genius Failed, financial journalist Roger Lowenstein foreshadows the coming doom and so there is no surprise in how the story of Long-Term Capital Management ends. But what Lowenstein does best is show how blind arrogance brought down the company and almost the entire financial system. Building on the work of two Nobel Laureates and growing capabilities of computer technology, Long-Term Capital Management pushed academic theory further into real-world practice than had ever been done before, and becomes a case study for how markets defy formulaic explanation. Lowenstein’s narrative, while set in the complicated financial market of today, tells an ages-old story many will recognize." (P.S. This was peanuts compared to the current crisis.)

--Smartest Guys In The Room by By Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind

This from a review Jack wrote:

"In my research, I have not found any evidence that anybody colluded to rob the place. Smart, rich, influential men do not deliberately destroy the source of their wealth and influence. Instead, they got trapped in a nightmare of their own creation, or perhaps their own ego. Enron's failure was not deliberate; it was the result of a series of interconnected events. Can this happen again? Sure, when you have hubris at the CEO level, sales peoples’ compensation based on short term success, upper level people totally focused on growth to satisfy short term Wall Street success, an accounting system that supports this concept, and finally an accounting firm that doesn’t do a good job of oversight. Add to this a deregulated industry and watch what happens." (this sounds familiar too).