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Donovan G. Rinker

donoglen

Cambridge, MA | Listener Since 2009

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 13 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2014
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  • Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Liaquat Ahamed
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (491)
    Performance
    (256)
    Story
    (256)

    It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person's or government's control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions made by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of the economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades.

    Toru says: "interesting insight into interwar period!"
    "an economic "memento mori" - wondrous educational"
    Overall

    Four bankers whom time forgot, each damaged in a unique manner, together reflecting the conventional wisdom of the day and a token smattering of unruly disorder: the book tells the story of the Depression, the interwar period, and the desperate efforts of a small gang of men determined to do well by their countries with what tools economics then made available.

    Lords of Finance should be mandatory reading for those bewitched by the wisdom of any era, a humbling testament to celebrity worship of "great, wise old men" - who bumbling, groping, did the best they can in a complex world. The heady economic analysis paints the precise uncertainties with which they grappled, while the human victories and tragedies convey a fair sense of the men doing the grappling.

    Schacht, arrogant and disgraced, emerges as a financial wizard from the broom closet to rescue Germany from hyperinflation (or to claim credit for so doing). Strong, plucked from an auspicious morning trade route to work to the heights of power, then crushed. Norman, painted as eccentric by his incapacity for public performance. And Moreau, saddled with a corrupt mentor, striving to buy time for a France no longer capable of challenging the world. Each played his part in the ensemble, and Ahamed makes a good case for their relevance - but this story of humanized economics as lived, mistakes as realized, and mixed foresight and blindness serves today's readers well - not as a warning about any specific failing, but as a humbling exercise - a "memento mori" for modernity.

    Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, the Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Frank Partnoy
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (130)
    Performance
    (65)
    Story
    (65)

    At the height of the roaring 20s, Swedish émigré Ivar Kreuger made a fortune raising money in America and loaning it to Europe in exchange for matchstick monopolies. His enterprise was a rare success story throughout the Great Depression. Yet after Kreuger's suicide in 1932, the true nature of his empire emerged.

    Donovan G. Rinker says: "excellent Depression era history-biography"
    "excellent Depression era history-biography"
    Overall

    A powerful morality tale - Ivar Kreuger's scams are as relevant today as ever, and the reading of financial biography works nicely.
    Partnoy peppers his biography with colorful history, as well as the occasional tangent (e.g., where did the term "bucket shop" come from?).

    Whereas Ponzi's scheme (and Madoff's variation) are relatively simple pyramids, feasible only when observers opt to maintain their ignorance, Kreuger's methods are far more convoluted, and such methods continue to elude professionals today.

    The reading is accessible, the pacing appropriate, and the lessons learned far more useful than those available in most financial/biographical options.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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