Customer Reviews for

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

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Too Big to Fail has topic that can't fail to interest business readers

Andrew Ross Sorkin's book is a good overview of the recent financial crisis, much as Bryan Burroughs' "Barbarians at the Gates" succeeded at capturing the deal-making insanity of the RJR Nabisco buyout two decades ago.

The book is a little superficial in its relianc...
Andrew Ross Sorkin's book is a good overview of the recent financial crisis, much as Bryan Burroughs' "Barbarians at the Gates" succeeded at capturing the deal-making insanity of the RJR Nabisco buyout two decades ago.

The book is a little superficial in its reliance on a few key participants for most of the narrative and anecdotes.

I worked in the bond rating industry for nearly 10 years, and I was surprised that Sorkin didn't explain why there's no input in the book from any people from that industry. It would have helped explain the critical role the rating agencies play in the overall operation of the financial industry, particularly the structured financings that played such a big role in this crisis.

I suspect it was hard to get people to speak on the record when lawsuits still haven't all been completely filed, but it would have been nice if Sorkin had tried to get more detailed explanations from the people most responsible for the dilemma, people structuring and rating the mortgage-backed securities that helped cause the fall of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.

It also would have been helpful if he had been able to get some insurance industry experts to give him more insight into how AIG got itself into the business of insuring credit default risks that sank the company even while its primary business of traditional insurance lines remained solid and profitable.

The publisher must have been rushing to get the book out, because, to my surprise, there were a number of proofreading failures in the book, including misspellings and grammar errors that should have been caught. There was even a page where the same sentence, in slightly different form, appeared twice in a row.

Despite these shortcomings, I found the book an interesting read on a complicated subject, and since Sorkin clearly had unprecedented access to people like the Treasury secretary and the head of Goldman Sachs, it's almost certain to be regarded as the most authoritative account of what these people experiencedm at least until and unless they write their own memoirs.

posted by PodcastSteve on January 2, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Recommended as a companion to other books on the financial crisis

I feel the author is very soft on the executives of the very companies who brought about the financial crises of 2008 - 2009. He never goes into any of the root causes - the various accounting and packaging practices of bad loans, why the mortgages were issued to peopl...
I feel the author is very soft on the executives of the very companies who brought about the financial crises of 2008 - 2009. He never goes into any of the root causes - the various accounting and packaging practices of bad loans, why the mortgages were issued to people who were obviously incapable or unwilling to repay the loans. Ne never addresses the deceptive practices of mortgage companies.

There is a lot of quoted conversations, leading me to believe that he fictionalized actual conversations; he repeatedly states what various executives "believe" but it seems that is HIS, the author's, projecting his own empathy into the story.

It is a good chronology of events for a limited period of time. It does make interesting reading, albeit you may develop undue sympathy for the executives paid many tens of millions of dollars a year as you read about their psychological stresses at the possibility of their greed-driven efforts crashing down about them.

I expected more hard facts about the crisis from a journalist of Sorkin's stature. I do recommend reading it, though. It is easy reading, although you will have to remember many different names (but he helps with that) and what banks they are associated with. But to get a good understanding of the crisis, you need to read something else.

posted by My_Last_Clancy on August 16, 2011

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  • Posted August 16, 2011

    Recommended as a companion to other books on the financial crisis

    I feel the author is very soft on the executives of the very companies who brought about the financial crises of 2008 - 2009. He never goes into any of the root causes - the various accounting and packaging practices of bad loans, why the mortgages were issued to people who were obviously incapable or unwilling to repay the loans. Ne never addresses the deceptive practices of mortgage companies.

    There is a lot of quoted conversations, leading me to believe that he fictionalized actual conversations; he repeatedly states what various executives "believe" but it seems that is HIS, the author's, projecting his own empathy into the story.

    It is a good chronology of events for a limited period of time. It does make interesting reading, albeit you may develop undue sympathy for the executives paid many tens of millions of dollars a year as you read about their psychological stresses at the possibility of their greed-driven efforts crashing down about them.

    I expected more hard facts about the crisis from a journalist of Sorkin's stature. I do recommend reading it, though. It is easy reading, although you will have to remember many different names (but he helps with that) and what banks they are associated with. But to get a good understanding of the crisis, you need to read something else.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    highly recommended

    I had seen the movie, but wanted to read the book to get a more detailed view. This book reads like a mystery novel! I had such a hard time putting it down. Having it on my nook made it so easy to carry around, so that I could read it whenever I had waiting time. I expected the book to be more political (although the movie wasn't) but there was only the mention of President Bush when Paulson had to confer with him and again only a few words about McCain and Obama. This is all about Wall Street, the infighting, the coldness, the sadness, the dealing - all of it. This book really helped me, an outsider to the finalcial world- to understand this world and the people in it.
    A great read.
    Velma Kohl

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 9, 2010

    hmmm

    good one

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2013

    Books great--- Barns and noble sucks

    basically, i cant read the epub on any device unless im running a nook app. the darn DRM is stopping me from doing it. If you do buy it make sure to get it put on the device you want that has the ability to enter in the password and username to access it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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