When Genius Failed is the cautionary financial tale of our time, the gripping saga of what happened when an elite group of investors believed they could actually deconstruct risk and use virtually limitless leverage to create limitless wealth. In Roger Lowenstein's hands, it is a brilliant tale peppered with fast money, vivid characters, and high drama.
"Informative and interesting, full of suspense"
Starting from scratch, simply by picking stocks and companies for investment, Warren Buffett amassed one of the epochal fortunes of the twentieth century - an astounding net worth of $10 billion and counting. His awesome investment record has made him a cult figure popularly known for his seeming contradictions: a billionaire who has a modest lifestyle, a phenomenally successful investor who eschews the revolving-door trading of modern Wall Street, a brilliant dealmaker who cultivates a homespun aura.
Until the election of Woodrow Wilson the United States - alone among developed nations - lacked a central bank. Ever since the Revolutionary War, Americans had desperately feared the consequences of centralizing the nation's finances under government control. However, in the aftermath of a disastrous financial panic, Congress was persuaded - by a confluence of populist unrest, widespread mistrust of bankers, ideological divisions, and secretive lobbying - to approve the landmark 1913 Federal Reserve Act.
"Important and Intriguing"
Benjamin Graham developed "value investing", a style adopted by Warren Buffett, one of history's most successful investors. It is based on "fundamental analysis", which quantitatively compares a company's stock price to various measures of financial strength and promise. "Growth investing" is a fundamentally different style that seeks to identify tomorrow's great business successes. Learn the ins and outs, and the pros and cons, of these basic investment styles.
"Lots of information in a quick read/listen"
The End of Wall Street is a blow-by-blow account of America's biggest financial collapse since the Great Depression. Drawing on 180 interviews, including sit-downs with top government officials and Wall Street CEOs, Lowenstein tells, with grace, wit, and razor-sharp understanding, the full story of the end of Wall Street as we knew it.
"Great investigative work, terrible narration"
Financial markets have an impressive history of gains and progress for prudent and judicious investors. But these advances are often interrupted by powerful and sudden setbacks or forward lurches.
When it was founded in 1993, Long-Term was hailed as the most impressive hedge fund in history. But after four years in which the firm dazzled Wall Street as a $100 billion moneymaking juggernaut, it suddenly suffered catastrophic losses that jeopardized not only the biggest banks on Wall Street but the stability of the financial system itself. The dramatic story of Long-Term's fall is now a chilling harbinger of the crisis that would strike all of Wall Street, from Lehman Brothers to AIG, a decade later.
Roger Lowenstein explains how corporations and governments ran up ruinous pension and health-care promises to workers - promises that are now coming due and that will hit America like a tsunami if nothing is done.
Negotiating high benefits means gambling with future finances - and when the farm gets sold out from underneath major corporations or public institutions, it affects all of us, and in ways we might not imagine. With his trademark narrative panache, Lowenstein unravels the truth about how pensions work in America and illuminates the impending crisis.
"More detail than I wanted"