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House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street
     

House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street

3.3 69
by William D. Cohan
 

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A blistering narrative account of the negligence and greed that pushed all of Wall Street into chaos and the country into a financial crisis.
 
At the beginning of March 2008, the monetary fabric of Bear Stearns, one of the world’s oldest and largest investment banks, began unraveling. After ten days, the bank no longer existed, its assets sold under

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House of Cards 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
luv55 More than 1 year ago
If this book was labeled fiction, you would not believe it. Unfortunately it is non-fiction; and was a good learning experience for me. Does it give you great confidence in Wall Street? No, but I will assume this was not the typical Wall Street firm. The stories of greed and power were expected; but perhaps more than I expected. This is just a great learning book for me. I am a novice about the inner workings of Wall Street and the great financial collapse which took place in 2008. I learned more here about credit default swaps, credit default options, and Repo men than in other articles or books which I have read. It is very readable, to the point of not wanting to put it down. If you want to expand your knowledge of what went wrong on Wall Street in 2007 and 2008, this is the book to read.
GenieJH More than 1 year ago
An inside look at the fall of Bear Stearns. I cannot speak to the accuracy of the research, nothing is foot-noted. However, it reads as an accurate, blow by blow account of the fall of this giant, with all of the pathos of a Greek tragedy. The characters are vividly portrayed; this book reads as a slow-motion thriller. Not for general reading, only for those interested in a riveting peek behind the scenes of the action on Wall Street and how giants fall.
nyskier More than 1 year ago
I worked at Bear, and I thought this book had really good coverage of their Waterloo. It may be too finance-oriented for general readers who may not understand repos and reverse repos, but it is great for the cognoscenti.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic, exciting account of the start of the economic downturn, extremely detailed, and told with an engrossing interview style language. It made the complexities of the situation easy to understand.
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durosas More than 1 year ago
So I picked up House of Cards because of the reputation of Cohan from the novel "The Last Tycoons" (which I'm reading now). Overall the book is well written but with a few exceptions. The first is that Cohan launches the reader directly into the final days of Bear Stearns. After the first 100 pages he then, abruptly, slams on the breaks during the very final moments of Bear's death throes and takes us back in time to then provide us with the background into the firm and its key players. The flow would have been much improved had Cohan simply started with the founding of the firm, move into the character development of the key players; Cayne, Schwartz, Spector, & Greenberg and then move into the more recent events. Further, it almost felt like Cohan was resting on his reputation from Tycoons rather then doing what I believe he did which is the hard-hitting, deep dive investigative reporting he did for "Last Tycoons" to get the broad comprehensive, in-depth story. The background is actually painfully short before we again jump back into the more recent events. Also, if one pays attention the majority of the novel is written from what seems like Cayne's perspective. When you contrast the scenes, specifically that of Cayne's role and how it played out with Roger Lowenstein's "When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management" this becomes even more glaring. It becomes even more obvious when you read "Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street" by Kate Kelly. While there appears to be a sprinkling of other viewpoints, mainly Molinaro, Cohan doesn't do enough to counterbalance Cayne's rather expansive and self-promoting personality to live up to the legend he created with "The Last Tycoons".
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