In this tour de force, Cohan provides a minute-by-minute account of the events that brought America's second Gilded Age to an end. Filled with intimate portraits of the major players, high-end gossip, and smart financial analysis, House of Cards recounts in delicious narrative form the dramatic events behind the fall of Bear Stearns and what it revealed about the financial world's progression from irrational boom to cataclysmic bust. House of Cards is the Rosetta Stone for understanding the dramatic and the unprecedented events that have reshaped Wall Street and global finance in the past two years.
©2009 William D. Cohan; (P)2009 Tantor
I like unabridged books because I like the detail of "being there." I won't say listening to this was easy - the material is complex and dozens of characters are involved - but it did frequently have me on the edge of my chair.
An interesting storyline version of the mess that brought down the economy and housing market. I found this version to be a more engaging account than other related books on the subject. Only problem was that it was a true story that affected us all and will continue to do so for at least a generation. The sheer apathy, greed and display of shock at their (the financial sector gurus) own demise astounds the reader. If you are a homeowner who refinanced during the mid 2000s take heed. You're nothing more than milking cow to some greedy creatures higher up the economic food chain.
The story is told in a dry, linear fashion. There is very little 'story' and reads as though it is transcript from some string of interviews.
I guess if you really love accounting and finance this book could work for you.
It's long, long, long, long and long.
The amount of detail obscures the concepts underneath the premise of the book, what happened to Bear Sterns. Was it bridge? Was it writing about bridge? Was it focusing on decreasing expenses rather than increasing revenue stream? Was it a fictional character created by the CEO to get people to save money? Was it the semi-circular desk? Motorcycles? Ferraris?
At the end of the day, I can't tell what the author is trying to point to. Cut this book by 2/3 and you've got something. Where's an editor when you need one?
House of Cards was a thoroughly engaging read(listen). Found the narration to be superb especially the tonality used for CEO Jimmy Cayne's Voice. At some points it felt like I was actually there listening to these guys in their office. The story of hubris and greed is a sad commentary. Such is the case that "bankers/brokers" making ten's of millions of dollar a year were able to destroy a company with 13,000 employees and an 80 years history. Little or no technical jargon. No need to be in finance to enjoy this book. Like to walk when listening to books and was able to walk farther and longer than usual because I found the story so interesting.
I thought this would be an insightful analysis of the events that lead to the collapse of the market. Instead this book is a 25-hour long drivel describing in excruciating detail the daily minutia at Bear Stearns. I really don't care who plays bridge with whom or what Hank Paulson had for lunch. It is absolutely incredible how someone can write a book this long and yet make it largely devoid of content.
I now have a better understanding of how the crash of 2008 was planned and orchestrated. I still feel that the entire crash of 08 has been set up by our government!
This book read like a novel. Very well written. Once I started it, I didn't want to put it down. I am tempted to send a copy to President Obama, since I don't see the administration doing anything to re-regulate the financial industry. William Cohan did a great job of pulling this mess together into a coherent and compelling tale.
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