According to Charles R. Morris, the astronomical leverage at investment banks, with their hedge-fund and private-equity clients, virtually guarantees massive disruption in global markets. A quarter century of free-market zealotry that extolled asset striping, abusive lending, and hedge-fund secrecy will come crashing down with it.
The Trillion Dollar Meltdown explains how we got here, and what is about to happen.
©2008 Charles R. Morris; (P)2008 Phoenix Audio
"In his brief but brilliant book, Morris describes how we got into the mess we are in....Few writers are as good as Morris at making financial arcana understandable and even fascinating." (New York Times Book Review)
"[A] shrewd primer....[Morris] writes with tight clarity and blistering pace." (Bloomberg News)
"Morris deftly joins the dots between the Keynesian liberalism of the 1960s, the crippling stagflation of the 1970s and the free-market experimentation of the 1980s and 1990s, before entering the world of ultra-cheap money and financial innovation gone mad." (The Economist)
Excellent overview of the current financial crisis, which ain't over yet, alas. The author's viewpoint is moderately liberal, somewhat pessimistic but quite judicious and knowledgeable, not given to leftist screed or Chicago School boosterism. As of this writing, the book is also surprisingly current. In the later chapters the acronyms of the credit default swaps and all those new whirligig financial instruments fly by, but you get the idea. It's confusing because it was indeed confusing, even to bankers. Which was part of the problem. You will especially enjoy this book if, like me, you read Greenspan's book and were horrified to hear the man in charge of our monetary machine enthuse over Ayn Rand and gush like a neocon junior staffer over the magic power of markets. Well, we are all neck deep in the "magic of markets" now and will be digging ourselves out for years. Oh, be advised this book is general, in the best sense. More forest than trees. Not a book of details, inside stories, or personalities, which is fine by me. Hope Audible will get more on this topic.
Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.
If you have analytical training, but don't understand modern finance, especially the kind at the hart of the current crisis, this book will explain it starting from basic concepts. It is ideally suited for engineers and scientists who can follow the mathematical concepts without a lot of hand holding, but really need an introduction to the relevant financial insterments.
If you don't understand the difference between a long position and a short position or basic concepts about the stock market or if you don't have some intuition for probability this is probably too difficult a read. If you are a financial professional it's probably too elementary. But for many it will be the perfect balance.
I purchased this book and "The Subprime Solution" by Robert J. Shiller in late September. Both books were published before the financial crisis which started with the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in mid-September. I've listened to both books several times and learn a little more each time. Both predicted the mess that we're in and others to come. If you only have time for one, this is the one to listen to. The subject matter is not easy to understand but Morris does the better job of getting it down to layman's terms while Shiller goes academic. Also Morris' book has a longer time horizon as to what other financial shocks we can expect.
I thought this would be a good book to understand the financial mess Wall Street has gotten us all into. Many of the details are hard to follow. It would be more understandable if you already had an above average understanding of economics and investing.
It's happening now, and we all know it. But very few people can really put the pieces together and figure out just what all the chaos in the financial markets really means. That's what this book does -- superbly. Anyone who wants to understand how derivatives relate to subprime mortgages and credit default swaps, and why it matters, should read (listen to) this book. My highest recommendation!
Its amazing that this book was written before the melt down. It is highly recommended to anyone wanting to know what the whole "sub-prime" crisis is all about. Its more to it than a couple of banks lending money to a bunch of people who cant afford to pay back. The down side to it is that there is a lot of jargon. If you are lost with all this jargon, do some research on wikipedia to understand what CMOs, CDS, etc. are. This would make the listening more exciting. All in all, it is recommended for anyone who is interested to know how we got to this crisi and where we go from here.
I liked the history part which described most of the events that lead up to the current crisis. I wa surprised to find that the "sub-prime" crisis is just the tip of the iceberg and that issues with the CDS are even a bigger problem with 42 trillion USD involved.
If you are into investing at this point 2008 credit crisis - meltdown. and want to know why this bear market and global financial crisis is is not like others in its parameters, and by any way comparable in the hold losses, then this is your guide to enlightenment! Seat down, pick up your coffee as you will entrapped by the storytelling of this economic "trillion dollar meltdown"
I was going to give this book three stars at first. The book contains a lot of good detail on the contributors to recent financial crises. It was written before the fall 2008 implosion which, in a sense, makes it all the more fascinating to take in. However, much of the material is pretty dry and does not lend itself well to an audiobook unless you are able to concentrate on the material. Because I often to listen while driving or on the treadmill, I found myself having to back up a lot as it was easy for my mind to wander. It was that dryness that brought the book down to three stars. However, as I was in the remaining minutes, that rating dropped when the book devolved into a liberal attack on free markets along with a nice helping of "Blame Bush." As the author extolls the virtues of a swing of the pendulum back to big government regulation and anti-market solutions to our financial woes, I wonder how he would respond to the widespread backlash that such actions in the first year of the Obama administration have engendered.
if you have a phd in finance you may understand alot of this. i have a degree in finance and i was just floating along without understanding 80% of this audio book. too much information. the author tried too hard to squeeze every single instrument of finance into this mess. only the last chapter had some comprehensive subject matter and insight. the rest is mostly repetitive and ultra complex financial wall street jargon inter collated with nuances of how and why. avoid this at all cost. what a bore!
"A good listen, well researched."
The book comprehensively covers the crisis - causes, origin, events, fallout and possible future outcomes. The last aspect is slightly overdone - highly cynical/negative expectations. The crisis is unprecedented but follow-on collapses in other asset classes, though quite reasoned is perhaps improbable. These were my thoughts after listening to the book in Mar 2009. Thus far, my opinion seems correct. A great listen to understand the crisis.
"A bit of a struggle"
I am very much into economics and finance, and was looking forward to this. However, I was very very disappointed with this one, and I just could not get into it. I admit that the problem here could be me, maybe I'm just not as bright or as knowledgeable on the subject as I thought. I suspect there probably is a good book in here, but I don't think this can be recommended for people who only have a limited understanding of the subject. Certainly not for beginners.
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