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Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon | [Gretchen Morgenson, Joshua Rosner]

Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon

In Reckless Endangerment, Gretchen Morgenson, the star business columnist of The New York Times, exposes how the watchdogs who were supposed to protect the country from financial harm were actually complicit in the actions that finally blew up the American economy.
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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist reveals how the financial meltdown emerged from the toxic interplay of Washington, Wall Street, and corrupt mortgage lenders.

In Reckless Endangerment, Gretchen Morgenson, the star business columnist of The New York Times, exposes how the watchdogs who were supposed to protect the country from financial harm were actually complicit in the actions that finally blew up the American economy.

Drawing on previously untapped sources and building on original research from coauthor Joshua Rosner, who himself raised early warnings with the public and investors, and kept detailed records, Morgenson connects the dots that led to this fiasco.

Morgenson and Rosner draw back the curtain on Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance giant that grew, with the support of the Clinton administration, through the 1990s, becoming a major opponent of government oversight even as it was benefiting from public subsidies. They expose the role played not only by Fannie Mae executives but also by enablers at Countrywide Financial, Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve, HUD, Congress, the FDIC, and the biggest players on Wall Street, to show how greed, aggression, and fear led countless officials to ignore warning signs of an imminent disaster. Character-rich and definitive in its analysis, this is the one account of the financial crisis you must hear.

©2011 Gretchen Morgenson & Joshua Rosner (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Naming names and taking no prisoners, they drill deep into one of the most disturbing scandals of our time, perpetrated in the name of helping "the little guy." Read it and weep. Read it and vow: Never Again! (Bill Moyers)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (120 )
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4.1 (103 )
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  •  
    Rob Bellingham, WA, United States 01-09-12
    Rob Bellingham, WA, United States 01-09-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Captivating and enlightening story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Reckless Endangerment to be better than the print version?

    Not necessarily.


    Any additional comments?

    As a former commercial banker, I had some idea of the events leading up to the Financial Crisis of 2008, but the depth and breadth of the enabling institutions (e.g., Fannie/Freddie, US Congress, the Fed, etc.) on both sides of the political spectrum was at once enlightening and depressing. I think Morgenstern's history and argument structure is terrific and lacks the lazy criticism seen in so many other places.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Washington, DC, United States 10-24-11
    David Washington, DC, United States 10-24-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Required reading"

    This is an essential look into how Fannie Mae drove down lending standards, leading to the real estate bubble of the last decade and terrible crash that followed. The prose is a bit purple at times, but a great story.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert United States 12-08-11
    Robert United States 12-08-11 Member Since 2011

    sdguy30

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I liked it very much"
    What did you love best about Reckless Endangerment?

    I am new to audible so I don't have much to base my review on, but if you listen to this book you will know what happened to the housing and mortgage market and who was involved.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DS 12-18-12
    DS 12-18-12 Member Since 2015

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best Explaination of WHAT HAPPENED"

    The authors name names, document dates and statements and explain in detail exactly how the financial crisis happened. Alarm bells were rung and ignored by our "leaders" while they cheered and facilitated the lemmings march over the cliff. Great book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen 03-20-12
    Helen 03-20-12 Member Since 2015

    running2remake

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    "So informative"

    This book is so informative, though the substance is infuriating and unbelievable. I am glad that I listened; reading it would have been difficult for me. I liked the performance, feeling a bit comfortable with the voice having realized that he also narrated In The Plex, which I also enjoyed.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex United States 02-16-12
    Alex United States 02-16-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A DIFFERENT VIEW FROM TOO BIG TO FAIL"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a great book with some good insight to the Financial Crisis. Although I did enjoy Sorkin's Too Big To Fail, Reckless Endangerment takes a look at the push from the government (including Dodd & Frank) for affordable housing. If you have read/listened to other Financial Crisis books and enjoyed them, add this to your list, you will enjoy it.


    What other book might you compare Reckless Endangerment to and why?

    Too Big To Fail


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Fairfield, CT, United States 12-11-11
    David Fairfield, CT, United States 12-11-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Good story, felt somewhat biased"
    What did you love best about Reckless Endangerment?

    Reckless Endangerment was an interesting overview of how we find ourselves in our recent financial crisis (at least with respect to issues in the United States). The authors do a nice job of tying individual events of the last twenty years and how they led, foreseeably to our current situation. Overall I enjoyed this book though it felt at times less of an historic review and more of an editorial.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Great overview of recent financial events.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, but I don't think that at all harmed my opinion of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall, an enjoyable book though the perspective felt a bit slanted at times.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 07-25-15
    Paul 07-25-15 Member Since 2001
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    "Required reading for enlightened citizenship"
    Where does Reckless Endangerment rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Of the politically oriented books, this is in the top 3.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Franklin Raines: The poster child for self-enriching political corruption.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    N/A


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not without a bottle of Laphroaig.


    Any additional comments?

    Read this before you vote for anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pipster Texas 06-16-15
    Pipster Texas 06-16-15 Member Since 2013

    Richard

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    "The unvarnished truth..."

    The authors take you through a journey into this financial maze and go point by point letting the listener know what happened, who made it happen and what the effects were over the course of many years.

    If your understanding of the 2007 to 2008 financial meltdown has anything to do with cars, ditches or keys you need to download this audiobook and listen to it…

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elliott 01-09-15
    Elliott 01-09-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Expected more"

    Disappointing – I expected more from the NYT columnist. The book begins with what can only be described as a rant attack on the GSE’s specifically Fannie Mae. The evidence? Large spending on lobbying efforts. No mention of the large amount of money spend by financial industry to eliminate the GSE’s. They then point out the capital requirements advantage held by Fannie Mae due to the assumption of credit risk and the implied backing of the US government. Ok, but that advantage was eliminated with the passing of the 2002 financial reforms. They mention the huge percentage of mortgage market held in portfolio but more importantly guaranteed by the GSE’s. True, but that share was dropping fast after the 2002 reform and the replacement private mortgages did not offer credit risk protection. As a result the majority of the mortgages issued by private lenders held significantly higher risk levels. They mention the financial restatement required by their regulator resulting in $9 billion in losses for Fannie Mae. True. But they don’t mention that the restatement was required because of FASB 133 and the assumption of no ineffectiveness and that KPMG, their auditor, felt that the accounting for hedge trades was correct. The restatement did not change the earnings over time, just the timing of the revenue by understating the value of the hedge transactions. They did not mention that a review committee for FASB 133 has since upheld the interpretation Fannie Mae used by issuing further clarification of the rules. They did not mention the billions in fines assessed to banks and financial institutions due to sales of mortgage pools to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac containing fraudulent underwriting data. Nor did they mention the underwriting restrictions placed upon the GSE’s by charter.
    I am disappointed in the lack of analysis, the lack of supporting data, the overwhelming use of unnamed sources, the heavy reliance on opinion and the personal attacks on individuals. This book has very little to do with the causes of the 2008 financial collapse. I expected more from Gretchen Morgenson.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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