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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 (110 )
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4.2 (93 )
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4.1 (94 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rob Bellingham, WA, United States 01-09-12
    Rob Bellingham, WA, United States 01-09-12 Member Since 2011
    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
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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
  •  
    Helen RUMFORD, RI, United States 03-20-12
    Helen RUMFORD, RI, United States 03-20-12 Member Since 2010

    running2remake

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    DS NH 12-18-12
    DS NH 12-18-12 Member Since 2012

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Holland, TX, United States 03-02-14
    Jim Holland, TX, United States 03-02-14 Member Since 2010

    Jumps on his bed while licking the bottom of one foot. He persists in this life affirming act despite interference from the head nurse.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "We Shudda Saw it Comin'"

    This is a worthwhile read for those of us who brood over the meltdown of 2008. It’s written for people who are not stupid but not well informed about the dodges of high finance. Admittedly, a few bank/government machinations are difficult to follow in the text, so that a reader must back up a bit and re-read, but that does not happen often; the authors set most of it down in clear English. They explain “derivatives” formulas well, when they pop up, so even I can understand them. The text begins in the 1980s, works its way forward, dumb move by dumb move, enabler legislation by enabler legislation, to the day when seawater floods over the gunnels of gigantic economic ships and they plummet to the ocean’s bottom. The books contention is that business and government manufactured their own submerged mines—out of greed, power and influence, ideologies, and bureaucratic ineptitude—strewing them as they went because it gained them political advantage and (in the case of the finance boys) because they just didn’t give a damn in their rush to make millions. Sound familiar? Ecce Americanus. Financial “wizards” and Washingtonian “public servants” played paddy-cake and you-scratch-my-back for twenty years before the fleet sank. The mines didn’t go off until the original ships’ officers were safe, dry, retired, and very rich. The crew drown, of course. God bless you Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barney Frank, and James A. Johnson. May history give it to you up the wazzu, like the events you precipitated did to so many of us.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MargH Spencer, MA, United States 09-10-13
    MargH Spencer, MA, United States 09-10-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Technical issues"
    Any additional comments?

    The story was good but the book kept turning itself off. It performed poorly. I've listened to many books and this is the second time overall this has happened. Guess I just picked the wrong book. I'm returning this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. E. Bunnell Odessa, TX United States 04-22-13
    D. E. Bunnell Odessa, TX United States 04-22-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Name dropping without describing causes"
    What was most disappointing about Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner ’s story?

    The authors believe that individuals (that they name and blame in "Reckless Endangerment") are the cause of systemic failures. If this were true, then by stopping a single person, or small group of people, a system failure could be avoided. Who have we killed/arrested/detained recently? Has that stopped the problem? System problems are caused by culture - "Boomerang" is a much better book describing the cultures that promote economic problems. Laying the blame on a small group of people, without describing the conditions that allowed and promoted them to misbehave is not very prescriptive.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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