An exposé on the delusion, greed, and arrogance that led to America's credit crisis.
The collapse of America's credit markets in 2008 is quite possibly the biggest financial disaster in U.S. history. Confidence Game: How a Hedge Fund Manager Called Wall Street's Bluff is the story of Bill Ackman's six-year campaign to warn that the $2.5 trillion bond insurance business was a catastrophe waiting to happen. Branded a fraud by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, and investigated by Eliot Spitzer and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ackman later made his investors more than $1 billion when bond insurers kicked off the collapse of the credit markets.
©2010 Christine S. Richard (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I keep seeing Ackman's name in the news and it's interesting to see how many of his predictions, even some that have come to light and resolved since the book was written, have shown to be true.
Well it's written like a who-dunnit. It's non-fiction, but far from dry.
She's a really good narrator. Very clear and keeps the pace moving. She's reading a story that has mainly mail protagonists and very few females but she does a great job and keeps it honest.
No. You've got to lean into it a bit. A lot of names and information to keep straight.
All are villains in this world. The wizard of Oz (Municipal Bond Insurance Corporation), is caught choreographing the fantasy. David (Bill Ackman, the wicked shorter) slays Goliath (MBIC). The multiple regulatory bodies mimic Snow White in her sleep mode. And Warren Buffet tries to put Humpty Dumpty (today's economy) back together again. The prognosis? Well, the Wizard has changed his name and the show goes on. Stay tuned for the next instalment. There's an election on the horizon.
Although there are many short comings with this book, the fact remains that I could not put it down. However, I found the author's style of writing frustrating. She starts out with one scenario, then quickly flashes back to another point in the past or future that appears to have no connection, at least to me, as a lowly member of the 98%. This works well for fiction but not for non fiction which requires explanation and examples. The book should have been much longer. Also, the narrator's voice is screechy at times and again this detracts from the material under discussion. At the beginning of the second section of the book, the narration breaks down altogether for a few minutes? Sentences/paragraphs are missing and this left an extra gap in my understanding. It sounds like a bad phone connection. That being said, I have read at least a dozen books dealing with the meltdown so I was not totally in the dark.
Suffice to say this work is reminiscent of Harry Markopolis' No One Would Listen wherein a quant (math whiz) spends about ten years spelling it out for the regulators so that they can put a stop to Bernie Madoff before he bilked thousands of investors out of sixty billion dollars. Now that we know that regulation is frowned upon by corporations and Alan Greenspan on down, it has become clear that investors and citizens would be wise to listen to the whistle blowers of society, no matter how unsavory they may appear to be. Are they not, when all is said and done, the supermen/batmen in our midst? The regulators are owned by the corporations and vice versa, so let Superman fly and heed his presence!
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