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Publisher's Summary

The ongoing tumult in financial markets and the global economy began when some of our most esteemed financial institutions, our government, and even average citizens abdicated their collective responsibilities, eventually selling out investors and selling off the American Dream itself.

From critically acclaimed investigative journalist and CNBC personality Charles Gasparino comes a sweeping examination of the most volatile, anxiety-ridden era in our nation's socioeconomic history. The winner of the 2009 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for Books, The Sellout traces the recent implosion of the financial-services business back to its roots in the late 1970s, when Wall Street embraced a new business model predicated on enormous risk. Gasparino reveals a startling trail of culpability - from the government bureaucrats who crafted housing policies to the Wall Street firms that underwrote and invested in risky debt, to the mortgage sellers who indiscriminately handed out loans, and finally to the homeowners who thought they could afford mansions on blue-collar wages.

©2009, 2011 Charles Gasparino (P)2011 HarperCollinsPublishers

Critic Reviews

"The most comprehensive anecdotal account to date of the crisis.... Gasparino cuts his way through Wall Street rhetoric and in the process uncovers in considerable detail how blind profit-making ambition led to the destruction of the markets." (New York Review of Books)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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It takes effort to distill the "big picture"

In my opinion the book spends too much time profiling the personalities of those running the banks. No doubt their risk-taking and competitive personalities contributed to the near global meltdown. But that's just part of it. I wish there was more explanation of the system as a whole, more explanation of processes and terminology. The same concepts were repeatedly referred to in different terms. I found that confusing. The book would have been better with wider story arcs and wider perspective, and less focus on the day to day actions of individual players.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Spellbinding!

Would you listen to The Sellout again? Why?

Excellent detail and structure laid out as a story, very well written.

What about Thomas M. Perkins’s performance did you like?

Great voice and enunciation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Nails on a chalkboard

Literally, every third sentence had a mispronounced word. It was absolutely infuriating. It's pronounced Saul-oh-man Brothers, not Salmon Brothers!

  • Overall
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  • Scott
  • Roseville, CA, United States
  • 04-09-12

Comprehensive History of the Securities Collapse

What made the experience of listening to The Sellout the most enjoyable?

The author was thorough in his research tracing mortgage backed securities, which many of us might assume to be recent inventions, back to their beginnings several decades ago up and the invention of 'junk bonds' created to buy out, break up and sell off highly successful companies purely for profit. The author also describes the personalities of traders as compulsive gamblers and the myriad factors that led up to the great fiscal collapse requiring the major banks and investment banks need to be bailed out or sold out.

What did you like best about this story?

It's a real history with amazing personalities and a culture of greed so pervasive that it's amazing it lasted as long as it did.

If you could give The Sellout a new subtitle, what would it be?

or.. Greed Really Can be a Very Destructive Thing.

Any additional comments?

While lengthy the writer was able to hold my interest how well he describes the various individuals. It is an amazing bit of history and journalism.

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