After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead

After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead

4.6 3
by Alan S. Blinder
     
 

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Named one of the Ten Best Books of 2013 by Michiko Kakutani and the New York Times Book Review 

“Blinder is a master storyteller . . . one of the best books yet about the financial crisis.” —The Wall Street Journal

Alan S. Blinder—esteemed Princeton professor, Wall Street Journal columnist, and former vice

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Overview

Named one of the Ten Best Books of 2013 by Michiko Kakutani and the New York Times Book Review 

“Blinder is a master storyteller . . . one of the best books yet about the financial crisis.” —The Wall Street Journal

Alan S. Blinder—esteemed Princeton professor, Wall Street Journal columnist, and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board under Alan Greenspan—is one of our wisest and most clear-eyed economic thinkers. In After the Music Stopped, he delivers a masterful narrative of how the worst economic crisis in postwar American history happened, what the government did to fight it, and what we must do to recover from it. With bracing clarity, Blinder chronicles the perfect storm of events beginning in 2007, from the bursting of the housing bubble to the implosion of the bond bubble, and how events in the U.S. spread throughout the interconnected global economy. Truly comprehensive and eminently readable, After the Music Stopped is the essential book about the financial crisis.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Matthew Bishop
…[a] terrific book on the crisis of 2008…Although Blinder served on President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers, and admits to Democratic leanings, this is not an ideological book. Rather, it is the work of a somewhat frustrated technocrat who has spent his career at the highest tables of academia and policy making, never entirely comfortable because of a tendency to speak his mind.
The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
…Alan S. Blinder's highly readable new book on the financial crisis (yes, a readable book about economics)…benefits from its wide-angle perspective, as well as from its vantage point in time, now that it's possible to assess the fallout of decisions that were being made on the run by White House and Treasury officials under extraordinary pressures. It also benefits from Mr. Blinder's cleareyed prose and nimble gifts as an explainer—gifts that sometimes approach those of Bill Clinton, when it comes to making complicated economic issues and policies understandable to the lay reader.
Publishers Weekly
As the U.S. economy desperately tries to crawl out of its gloomy cave, many still feel the impact of the 2007 financial crisis. Here, noted analyst Blinder (The Quiet Revolution) provides insights on why it happened, covering three critical questions: How did we get into this mess? What was done to correct problems? and have we learned anything? He opens by addressing the rise of unemployment rates and the housing market crash, with Blinder explaining what happened to big players like AIG, Merrill Lynch, and WaMu as they collapsed. He provides a clear critical analysis of the actions authorities proposed to prevent large corporations from crumbling, and offers his own opinion on how to fix the system. Later chapters explain the key weaknesses that predate the fateful summer of 2007, and what happened to the citizens, why the government took the actions it did, and why those policies were wise. As Blinder outlines the causes of the financial crisis, he acknowledges that questions still linger in the public mind: Has history taught us anything, or are we headed for a repeat of this kind of crisis? Agent: John Brockman, Brockman Inc.
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Kirkus Reviews
An experienced economist explains the global financial crisis that began in 2008 and continues. Blinder (Economics and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) has accumulated real-world experience in the political realm of finance as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve board of governors and on President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers. Noting that numerous books have already chronicled the origins and impacts of the crisis, Blinder suggests that his is unique for a few reasons: It is the most comprehensive so far, is less of a whodunit and more of a "why did they do it," emphasizes public policymaking over arcane financial dealings and looks to the future. After explaining the genesis of the crisis, Blinder analyzes the responses by policymakers. In the United States, the policymaking yielded a paradox: financial markets left to police themselves after ill-advised, ideologically based government deregulation needed previously unwelcome intervention to avert complete calamity. But then public opinion seemed to view the federal government as villainous. Blinder does not portray government decision-makers as heroic, but he demonstrates that without their energetic intervention, far more institutions would have collapsed, more homes would have been foreclosed on, and more jobs would have been eliminated. Throughout the book, the author explains nuances unexamined or underexamined in the large number of previous books appearing since 2008. A clearheaded analysis with a final section suggesting that lessons learned from the crisis are already being ignored.
From the Publisher
The Wall Street Journal:
"[Blinder] is a master storyteller... [After the Music Stopped] is one of the best books yet about the financial crisis."

Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times:
"Highly readable... Mr. Blinder draws on the work of many... reporters in his account. But if large portions of After the Music Stopped feel familiar, the book nonetheless benefits from its wide-angle perspective, as well as from its vantage point in time, now that it's possible to assess the fallout of decisions that were being made on the run by White House and Treasury officials under extraordinary pressures. It also benefits from Mr. Blinder's clear-eyed prose and nimble gifts as an explainer — gifts that sometimes approach those of Bill Clinton, when it comes to making complicated economic issues and policies understandable to the lay reader. Direct and concise, Mr. Blinder tells it as he sees it."

Financial Times:
"Blinder's book deserves its likely place near the top of reading lists about the crisis. It is the best comprehensive history of the episode... A riveting tale."

The New Republic:
"For a reader wondering how we got here, and why the people in charge have seemed, often, to be so chary of stringing up the culprits, or tearing down the system, Blinder's book - not least because his fair-minded approach and pragmatic mindset evokes that of America's current regulators - gives us an invaluable insight."

USA Today:
"What does all the knowledge mean to generalist readers? A lot, actually. Blinder is no defender of his economist colleagues or other former and current insiders who caused so much damage - or, at minimum, failed to see the collapse on the horizon. He writes clearly - as well as lots of journalists. That combination makes the book a worthy addition to the literature."

Seattle Times:
“If you want to get between the covers with your favorite econ nerd this season, I recommend Alan Blinder’s After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response and the Work Ahead. Written by the former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, this deserves a place among the top reads on the Great Panic and its aftermath.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer:
"A prodigiously detailed yet generally accessible investigation of the roots of the meltdown, its multiple and continuing reverberations in the United States and globally, and the short-term fixes and long-term remedies required to treat, and then heal, the patient."

President William J. Clinton:
"If you want to understand every aspect of our economic crisis—how we got into it, how we escaped a depression, why we haven't fully recovered, and what we have to do now—read this book. It's a masterpiece—simple, straightforward and wise."

Paul A. Volcker:
"True to his scholarly roots and informed by his practical insights, Alan Blinder has produced in After the Music Stopped both a comprehensive and, mirabile dictu, engagingly readable analysis of the great financial crisis. Whether or not one agrees with every particular judgment, the force of the argument is clear: here we are, four years later, still short of reforms that are needed."

Bob Woodward:
"Alan Blinder is one of the world's best informed and most balanced, sensible economists. His credentials include years as a senior adviser in the Clinton White House, then as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve and as regular op-ed contributor to the Wall Street Journal. After the Music Stopped is the best account available of what really happened in the 2008 financial crisis, why and what it now means for the future."

Mohamed A. El-Erian:
"Of all the books that I have read on the topic—and I have read quite a few—After the Music Stopped provides the most authoritative account of the why, how and what of the global financial crisis. This highly readable analysis takes you brilliantly through the construction of America's fragile house of financial cards, its sudden and dramatic collapse and, as important, the difficult reconstruction and rehabilitation work that must still be done. Whether you are interested in current affairs or in history, read this book if you want an expert and well-written analysis of how economics and politics interacted to create one big mess, not just for America but also for the global economy."

Library Journal
As a former economics adviser in the Clinton administration and former Federal Reserve governor, Blinder (economics, Princeton Univ.) has a lot to say about the causes and consequences of the 2007–09 financial crisis. In a generally chronological account, the author runs through how poor lending practices, coupled with securitization and high degree of leverage, precipitated the crisis. He then covers the ameliorative emergency and long-term policies through late 2012, examining the consequential financial reform efforts with particular attention to the Dodd-Frank legislation. Blinder questions the failure to prevent more home foreclosures. He criticizes Republicans for obstructionism and the Obama administration for not better convincing the public of the necessity for stimulus, deficit spending, and radical Federal Reserve strategies. Looking forward, the text contemplates how the administration and the Federal Reserve will be able to unwind their stimulative policies, touching on the European crisis and concluding with a list of precepts to future crises. Blinder's explanations of complex topics simple, such as moral hazard and quantitative easing, are kept simple. VERDICT This work is highly recommended to all readers desiring a comprehensible postmortem of the economic and political ramifications of the financial crisis.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594205309
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
01/24/2013
Pages:
496
Product dimensions:
6.80(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Alan S. Blinder,one of the world’s most trusted economists, is the Gordon S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University and vice chairman of the Promontory Interfinancial Network.

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