As soon as the financial crisis erupted, the finger-pointing began. Should the blame fall on Wall Street, Main Street, or Pennsylvania Avenue? On greedy traders, misguided regulators, sleazy subprime companies, cowardly legislators, or clueless home buyers?
According to Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, two of America's most acclaimed business journalists, the real answer is all of the above-and more. Many devils helped bring hell to the economy. And the full story, in all of its complexity and detail, is like the legend of the blind men and the elephant. Almost everyone has missed the big picture. Almost no one has put all the pieces together.
All the Devils Are Here goes back several decades to weave the hidden history of the financial crisis in a way no previous book has done. It explores the motivations of everyone from famous CEOs, cabinet secretaries, and politicians to anonymous lenders, borrowers, analysts, and Wall Street traders. It delves into the powerful American mythology of homeownership. And it proves that the crisis ultimately wasn't about finance at all; it was about human nature.
©2010 Bethany McLean (P)2010 Penguin Audio
Winston Churchill called World War II the ???preventable war.??? He was referring to the failure of Britain, France and the US to stop Hitler at an early stage before he had accumulated such power and momentum that he could not be stopped short of a major war. Those who had looked closely at Hitler???s Germany were very concerned. Those who remained preoccupied with their own immediate interests preferred to overlook the risks of Nazi Germany.
This excellent book makes clear that much the same led to the financial crisis of 2008. Those who looked closely at the growth and sordid practices of the subprime lending business were appalled and concerned that it could not end well. Those who preferred to look the other way were the only people who could and should have stopped this financial monster early on: the major Wall Street firms, the ratings agencies, FNMA and FHLMC, and the federal banking regulators. All of the private firms allowed their immediate interests in profits, bonuses, and competitive standing to blind themselves to the huge potential losses they would face when the market finally came to appreciate the ludicrous credit quality of the subprime loans on their books. The federal regulators in turn showed insufficient interest in the abuses in the subprime market that were brought to their attention early on by states attorney general and other private parties. The regulators had no clear grasp on what was going on and did not take steps to address the problem until it was too late.
The book is the best and most comprehensive I have seen on the causes of the 2008 financial crisis.
This book is well written, well researched and informative. It's a shame that the narrator didn't bother to learn how to pronounce a key word [used at least 500 times]; it's shameful that the editor didn't catch the problem.
as you might expect from well respected journalists. This is not, "The Big Short." They go into depth on a couple of the players. Definitely not a feel good book. Spoiler Alert: the epilogue ends with, "Maybe we'll get it right next time." I think they forgot to include, "Either way we'll make a boatload of money." Very in depth reporting of a very long process that will affect us for a very long time.
I know that a lot of books have been written (and I’ve read my fair share of them) and conversations/debates have been had in regards to the housing meltdown and what caused it and who’s to blame. This book, All The Devils Are Here” by Bethany McLean, is by far one of the best books that I've come across and does an excellent job in bringing together all of “the culprits” and various parties involved and “laying blame” appropriately where it belongs.
As the author points out, Human Nature is something that can be easily manipulated, and hard to control, but it’s always at work. That had a role to play in all of this as well.
I know that most of the “housing crisis” is behind us now, but let’s just hope that we've all learned our lessons (we probably won’t remember them or course… it’s human nature as well), can benefit from lessons learned, and now move forward to a better overall society.
Most definitely. Not only is the book thoroughly researched, but coupled with the writing of McLean and Nocera and Boutsikaris' narration, makes this a remarkable read. I felt like a fly on the wall. Just excellent.
I've listened to many books narrated by Boutsikaris and I'm pretty sure he could make the audio version of the white pages compelling.
A complete history of everything that went wrong.
This book provides a reasonably unbiased view of the policies, the good intentions, the abuses and the sheer ignorance that preceded the financial crisis of 2008. It discusses the American Dream and how it evolved into the current ideal of home ownership and how politicians flew that flag in order to curry favor with voters and how the financial institutions rushed in to take advantage. It doesn't point fingers as much as it tells the story about a system built to fail from the start.
I've read a couple of books about the financial crisis and what makes this book stand out is the fact that it goes way back in time, long before anyone had ever thought of a credit default swap or even the sub-prime bubble and details the policies, government infighting and good intentions that formed the foundation for what was to transpire much, much later.
Yes, I probably will read it agian. There are so many characters involved in the obscene public rip off to bail out the banks and wall street after the government set the pins up in the first place. When I cool down I will listen to it again.
its breadth. I have read quite a number of books on the meltdown and the bailout, most focused mostly on one aspect of it, this book covers the home loan industry, the elected officials, regulators, banks, government entities like fannie mae, wall street...as the title says.
This is a good primer for the financial meltdown, although it is not as chronoligically organized as I would have liked. There was an obvious positive bias by the author toward a couple of characters in the book which made me wonder if they were previous employers or perhaps helped with inside info for the book. Anyone reading this book will find it difficult to find much compassion for any of the characters, or for that matter, anyone in this country who had an inside knowledge of what was going on and did nothing. The truth be told, all the devils are still here.
Tell us about yourself!
A wonderful account on how the housing bubble was set in motion (a long time ago) and how everyone -- Fannie Mae, politicians ("The American Dream" of home ownership), credit agencies (Moody), mortgage companies (Countrywide), insurance underwriters (AIG), investment bankers (Merrill Lynch, Solomon Brothers), investors -- were responsible for putting one of the most complex and potentially devastating financial bubbles in history.
Another over opinionated mammal
This was a thinly veiled white wash trying to lay the blame for the financial crisis at the feet of Fanny-Mae and portrays the private investment banks almost as victims. The author ignores that the finical verticals that created the crisis were created and employed by the private investment banks. And that those banks where the ones that kept using them even when as the economy was tanking.
In the top ten of my non-fiction list.
I have listened to him before and except for a few disagreements about pronunciation, he is very good.
When I read about the power of lobbyists.
I loved putting this all together and realizing that the build-up to this debacle happened over a 35 year span. I realize that where there are men/women, there is greed. Where there is power, there is greed. Where there is temptation there is greed. I also realized that in most situations people are reactionary rather than visionary. Listen to this book and you will learn a great deal about how our government functions. Maybe time for an overhaul.
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