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Too Big to Fail | [Andrew Ross Sorkin]

Too Big to Fail

A real-life thriller about the most tumultuous period in America's financial history by an acclaimed New York Times reporter. Andrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true, behind-the-scenes, moment-by-moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami.
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Publisher's Summary

The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System - and Themselves

A real-life thriller about the most tumultuous period in America's financial history by an acclaimed New York Times reporter. Andrew Ross Sorkin delivers the first true, behind-the-scenes, moment-by-moment account of how the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression developed into a global tsunami.

From inside the corner office at Lehman Brothers to secret meetings in South Korea and the corridors of Washington, Too Big to Fail is the definitive story of the most powerful men and women in finance and politics grappling with success and failure, ego and greed, and, ultimately, the fate of the world's economy.

"We've got to get some foam down on the runway!" a sleepless Timothy Geithner, the then-president of the Federal Reserve of New York, would tell Henry M. Paulson, the Treasury secretary, about the catastrophic crash the world's financial system would experience. Through unprecedented access to the players involved, Too Big to Fail re-creates all the drama and turmoil, revealing neverdisclosed details and elucidating how decisions made on Wall Street over the past decade sowed the seeds of the debacle.

This true story is not just a look at banks that were "too big to fail"; it is a real-life thriller with a cast of bold-faced names who themselves thought they were too big to fail.

©2009 Andrew Ross Sorkin; (P)2009 Penguin Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

"Andrew Ross Sorkin pens what may be the definitive history of the banking crisis." (The Atlantic Monthly)
"Andrew Ross Sorkin has written a fascinating, scene-by-scene saga of the eyeless trying to march the clueless through Great Depression II." (Tom Wolfe)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1111 )
5 star
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Story
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Performance
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  •  
    Christopher Pentwater, MI, United States 07-17-10
    Christopher Pentwater, MI, United States 07-17-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    88
    10
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    "Too Important not to read"

    This book ate an entire weekend for me. I find the narration of the events to be gripping, and the hour-by-hour time scale during the critical time span between the failure of Lehman and the rescue of AIG to give me a lot of insight into the course of the great train wreck of the financial collapse.

    Sorkin is too sympathetic to the people he is narrating. Ifound myself annoyed from time to time by the gentleness with which he approached his subjects.

    On the other hand, William Hughes' narration was fabulous and upped my rating by a full star. This truly is a case where the quality of the production made the material better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renee Jacksonville, FL, United States 04-25-10
    Renee Jacksonville, FL, United States 04-25-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
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    45
    14
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    4
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    Overall
    "Incredible, Incredible,Incredible..."

    The story is inconceivable but unfortunately true. You feel like the story is happening with you in the room. The writing is great and the narration is perfect. All I can say is wow and if you are on the fence about listening to behind the scenes of the financial mess, get this book. I thought I already heard it before but this book makes your hands sweat with the stress of hearing the downfall of America's old established financial giants. Wow!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew new york, NY, USA 04-13-10
    Andrew new york, NY, USA 04-13-10 Member Since 2006
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    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    "A Terrific Book"

    One of the best books I have listened to in a long time. Easy to follow, and I didn't find myself lost by the number of characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louie 03-28-10
    Louie 03-28-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    29
    12
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    Overall
    "Excellent"

    An excellent tool for understanding the process and rationale of decisions made in the bailout of the wall street firms.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael a delaney 03-26-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    242
    9
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    "big story that doesn't fail to entertain"

    an incredible story, hard to believe it is nonfiction ...... i a know a number of the principals and their behavior as described by the author seems believable although i few people come off looking better than they should have (probably the people who gave the author the most access)...... the narrator mispronounces several terms and a couple of law firm names which is really distracting and embarrassing otherwise great listen

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael Potomac, MD, United States 02-14-10
    michael Potomac, MD, United States 02-14-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "excellent"

    timely. informative. wonderful and insightful character studies of the players who made and (significantly) ARE making policy. Very well written. Somewhat hard to follow the names and characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joanne Burlington, ON, Canada 01-23-10
    Joanne Burlington, ON, Canada 01-23-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
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    40
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    "A business book that reads like a detective novel"

    This is a must-read if you follow financial markets. That being said, I didn't know whether to read it or to "listen" to it. With Christmas cooking and holiday prep, I decided to listen to it and I was not disappointed. A great "listen", the book is more like a detective novel, with non-stop action and a very revealing look at the characters involved in the "Second Big Contraction". I have been recommending this book to everyone I know who is interested in politics, history or just plain story-telling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Allen 01-12-10 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
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    Overall
    "awesome!"

    It will forever be hard to fathom how a few bad investments in a relatively confined sector of the market could have triggered a global "run on the bank";, but that is precisely what happened in 2008. This book is a remarkable piece of investigative reporting that chronicles the bank CEO's;s who were blindsided by the risks that their employees were taking and the civil servants (most of which were former bankers) who were desperately running ahead trying to anticipate where the fire would blow next.

    It is easy to regard this period as a footnote in the history books, but that is only because of the tremendous hurried effort that went into avoiding a complete financial meltdown.

    Sorkin's access is either truly remarkable or he has weaved in a bit of historical fiction into the narrative. Either way, it makes for a fantastic read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    samuel United States 12-21-09
    samuel United States 12-21-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    49
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    Overall
    "idiots"

    this is a mostly gripping account detailing the fall of lehman and the bailouts of AIG et al. its infuriating yet fascinating - but i came away with little respect for most of the players including hank paulsen. its unreal how a small handful of people damaged our economy and its surreal that they will not be brought to justice. despite the author avoiding most of the goldman conspiracy theories its a little telling that they gained the most and are continuing to rake in the dough.

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Philip Basking Ridge, NJ, United States 02-21-10
    Philip Basking Ridge, NJ, United States 02-21-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    37
    5
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    Overall
    "Interesting but mundane"

    These personalities are not as interesting as you'd expect.

    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
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