From Bob Woodward’s (All the President’s Men) prolific pen now comes The Price of Politics. In this volume Woodward sets out to report how the Obama administration, Democratic and Republican legislators sought to remedy the economic meltdown. Woodward provides a hour-by-hour, day-to-day, blow-by-blow account of the negotiations between the three and it is one scary tale. Readers brave enough to continue past the second chapter will learn what the debates were like, how the negotiations progressed (if negotiation is the proper term) and how the talks broke down. Sometimes I read passages that just made me want to throw my hands up in amazement. Other times, passages brought on pure disgust. I will not repeat comments made by other reviewers. Suffice it to say, that anyone interested in how the legislative process works, decision making in general, or organizational behavior will be rewarded for wading through this book. If you don’t want grinding detail, don’t open this volume. If you do stay for the entire show, you will be rewarded for turning these pages. The reading of Boyd Gaines is excelent.
There are a number books available dealing with aspects of the financial crash. I have read a stack of them, but in Crash of the Titans Greg Farrell takes a different direction by telling the story from the perspective of Merrill Lynch. For years, Merrill was been a breed apart on Wall Street. Yet, the firm went under and was purchased by Bank of America (which is another story). The most interesting passages for me dealt with the management culture of Bank of America and how Merrill was managed after acquisition. In the postscript, Farrell provides a brief analysis of what went wrong and what it might mean. Essentially, he concludes that poor management decisions are not necessarily evidence of fraud. At least the Merrill stock price had some residual value. Farrell, who also authored Crash of Titans, Greg Farrell Corporate Crooks: How Rogue Executives Ripped Off Americans and Congress Helped Them Do It!, can really tell a story. It is helpful if the reader comes to the book with some understanding of the housing crisis, but the book can still be informative without that knowledge. The narration of Dan Woren is excellent.
William Cohan in House of Cards tells the sordid tale of the fall of Bear Stearns during the economic disaster of 2008-2009. One of the world’s oldest and largest investment banks went belly-up in a matter of days and Cohan spares the reader no details. This book is an autopsy, a crime scene investigation, an analysis of greed and simple stupidity. The book might run a little long for some (468 pages) and contain more detail than others might prefer. It is an eye-opener though worthy of every citizen who wants to be informed about the caliber of people who ran one of the premier investment banks in the world. Goodness! The reading of Alan Sklar is excellent.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
An interesting story of the life of David Petraeus showing how he learned from one assignment and applied the knowledge gained to the next. A good over view of the wars in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. The book also allow an insight into the sacrifice a high ranking officer wife and family must make. Petraeus's wife was the daughter of a famous General so she knew what was expected of her. The book tried to give a favorable view of the war in Afghanistan but I was left with a feeling we should have approached this problem differently, we expected to much from a tribal culture. Paula Broadwell is a person one should keep an eye out for she may become a leader herself. James Lurie did a good job narrating the story. This is a good book to understand the making of a famous General and to get more in-depth insight into current affairs.