Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises

Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises

by Timothy F. Geithner


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Stress Test is the story of Tim Geithner’s education in financial crises.

As president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and then as President Barack Obama’s secretary of the Treasury, Timothy F. Geithner helped the United States navigate the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, from boom to bust to rescue to recovery. In a candid, riveting, and historically illuminating memoir, he takes readers behind the scenes of the crisis, explaining the hard choices and politically unpalatable decisions he made to repair a broken financial system and prevent the collapse of the Main Street economy. This is the inside story of how a small group of policy makers—in a thick fog of uncertainty, with unimaginably high stakes—helped avoid a second depression but lost the American people doing it. Stress Test is also a valuable guide to how governments can better manage financial crises, because this one won’t be the last.

Stress Test reveals a side of Secretary Geithner the public has never seen, starting with his childhood as an American abroad. He recounts his early days as a young Treasury official helping to fight the international financial crises of the 1990s, then describes what he saw, what he did, and what he missed at the New York Fed before the Wall Street boom went bust. He takes readers inside the room as the crisis began, intensified, and burned out of control, discussing the most controversial episodes of his tenures at the New York Fed and the Treasury, including the rescue of Bear Stearns; the harrowing weekend when Lehman Brothers failed; the searing crucible of the AIG rescue as well as the furor over the firm’s lavish bonuses; the battles inside the Obama administration over his widely criticized but ultimately successful plan to end the crisis; and the bracing fight for the most sweeping financial reforms in more than seventy years. Secretary Geithner also describes the aftershocks of the crisis, including the administration’s efforts to address high unemployment, a series of brutal political battles over deficits and debt, and the drama over Europe’s repeated flirtations with the economic abyss.

Secretary Geithner is not a politician, but he has things to say about politics—the silliness, the nastiness, the toll it took on his family. But in the end, Stress Test is a hopeful story about public service. In this revealing memoir, Tim Geithner explains how America withstood the ultimate stress test of its political and financial systems.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804138611
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 05/05/2015
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 212,131
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

TIMOTHY F. GEITHNER was the seventy-fifth secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and previously served as president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He wrote this book as a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Bombs 1

1 An American Abroad 23

2 An Education in Crisis 37

3 Leaning Against the Wind 75

4 Letting It Burn 118

5 The Fall 162

6 "We're Going to Fix This" 211

7 Into the Fire 258

8 Plan Beats No Plan 311

9 Getting Better, Feeling Worse 351

10 The Fight for Reform 388

11 Aftershocks 439

Epilogue: Reflections on Financial Crises 493

Tribute to the Crisis Team 529

Acknowledgments 539

Author's Note 543

Notes 545

Index 559

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Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Other reviews for this title are typical Republican propaganda. Judge for yourself and don't listen to Boehner/Limbaugh fanatics.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't believe everything you hear about this book. Most of these B&N 'political pundit' commenters haven't even opened to the first page. Geithner's book is a surprisingly well written book and calling it propaganda is simply ignorant. This book is not only a detailed account of the 2008 crisis but also a personal narrative of Geithner's feelings and opinions. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about financial matters and crises. Again, don't dismiss this book because of what others have said. Open it up and judge for yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having just finished the former Treasury Secretary's book, I have to say that it was a very entertaining read and very informative. Unlike many of the journalists and talking heads on TV, Geithner's book discusses the financial crisis from the inside. Anecdotes in the book are backed up through conversations with co-workers, family, and others working closely with him. Not only does the book paint a very different picture of Geithner than what much of the media did during his tenure, it also helps give the reader a sense of his background and why he made the choices he made. In fact it also left me with quite the reading list of books to move on to after this one (Lombard Street by W. Bagehot, Manics Panics and Crashes by C.P. Kindleberger, Complicatiions: Notes from the Life of Young Surgeon by Atul Gawande... and the list goes on). While I realize a pessimist may view my review as patronizing, I find hard to believe that most of the 1-Star reviewers have even read the book. It would appear that most of there opinions are a product of what someone else has told them about Geithner rather than reading it for themselves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book and was very engaged.. Good writing and very informative. It gives you an understanding of the stress that was happening at the time. My only question is "how about the housing market". Why is it still such a problem and should the government have done more for the housing market? The book is good and I would recommend.
NomadGorman More than 1 year ago
Mr. Geithner has written a great and important book! It's a compelling read! If more people will take the time to read this book and to really think about what he describes, it is likely that the anger, polarization, distrust and misunderstanding about the federal government and the Obama administration will be reduced. Also more of us will understand the functions and missions of the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department. Mr. Geithner explains in a clear and readable style the saga of the financial crisis and the actions that were taken during the crisis and after by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury to keep the financial system operating, quell the panic, and support the economy to prevent a full scale depression. He continues to describe the process for developing the financial reform legislation that became the Dodd-Frank Act and also the legislation to provide a stimulus to the US economy as a whole, the American Recovery and Reinvestment act. Most poignant are his reflections on his regrets; the aspects of his service to the USA that did not turn out as well as he had wished. He describes the inadequacies of the government's programs to come to the aid of people who had lost their homes due to the explosion of the housing bubble. He also wishes he and the rest of the economic team had done a better job of explaining their recovery strategy to the American people. It is really impossible for most of us to comprehend the peril we faced or the actions that were taken at anything but a pretty superficial level. The system is just too complex! Also it's really not possible to comprehend the immense amounts of money (100s of billions of dollars) that were involved. For me, the most remarkable aspect is that Mr. Geithner's whole career prepared him to lead the rescue operations that he and colleagues implemented to save us from a much greater economic disaster and enable recovery to proceed. Thank you Mr. Geithner! PS I recommend that anyone interested in understanding the financial crisis should also read Paul Krugman's "End this Depression Now!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stress Test explains how the US got into the financial crisis and how the Obama administration led to recovery.  This book is very detail orientated.  This book is great reading and you learn the history of the financial crises.  The Tea Party is me motioned in debt and the part that congress played.
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RichardLRL More than 1 year ago
Stress Test is a very thought provoking, detailed description of the story behind the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and the REAL reasons which led to it. It is a before, during and after story - a long book but a very worthwhile read!
ryeLee More than 1 year ago
Special interest groups with their talking points can be so dishonest. Timothy Geithner is now my hero. Great book about a great American Patriot. So glad I read Stress Test.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and enlightening read. This is a great follow-up to Hank Paulson's book &quot;On the Brink&quot; .  Thank you Tim Geithner for your service. 
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Artemis- More than 1 year ago
I proudly have not read this book. I say that because of the clear dishonesty that was put before us by the Secretary of Treasury Geithner. Stress Test my **s. Geithner's credibility is completely lacking. He is a &quot;moral hazard&quot;. Geithner's total lack of concern for the working and middle class population of the USA is shocking. To me, it was treason. The programs he developed for hardworking homeowners was so thinly veiled. Karma is waiting for him. The sad truth is that his marching orders were provided by Obama, to me, an even bigger disappointment. Geithner spent years at the NYFed as a lackey for the Wall St titans, never a second &quot;regulating&quot; them, as he was appointed to do. He now works at a Wall St firm, one of the oldest around, presumably as a reward for handing over trillions to Wall St. His entire agenda upon taking his Treasury Secretary position was to help out his friends on Wall St, when that was over, he resigned and took his reward position. For better reading material, access the AIG statement of facts documents filed with the Washington Federal court that can be found on nakedcapitalismDOTcom website. While those may not entirely reflect reality, they are likely a LOT closer to it than one would find in Geithner's book. Better yet, watch the trial if you can.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gave this as a gift. The reader finds it dry but enjoyable. Author is knowledgable about the subject. It gives the information he wanted and expected.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a marvelous history of the Great Recession. God bless you, Mr. Geithner, for your courage and wisdom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Geithner is rewriting history.  A better account by Bill Isaac, Senseless Panic.  Geithner spent more time on the phone with Goldman Sachs than the FDIC.  Not an honest official and certainly not a public servant.  We will all suffer in the future from his corrupt contributions.  Also see Sheila Bair's book.  Isaac's book is endorsed by Paul Volcker, the last great central banker
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No. Good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone can write a book and that is what Timothy did. Should have discussed WHY we bailed out the banks that caused our economy and the housing market to fail.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't waste your time on Geithner's ongoing justification for bailing out Wall Street at expense of average Americans. Read Picketty's Capital, Elizabeth Warren's A Fighting Chance instead
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't waste your time on Geithner's ongoing justification for bailing out Wall Street at expense of average Americans. Read Picketty's Capital, Elizabeth Warren's A Fighting Chance instead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is just more smoke blowing from a political tool. Only people who like being taken for suckers will find this drivel interesting. If you want real insight into the financial world I would recommend something like Capital As Power or the Automatic Earth blog.