the mighty have fallen
Too Big to Fail is an
inside story of how Wall Street and Washington fought to
save the financial system and themselves.
by Hatim al Kindi
In Too Big to Fail Andrew Ross
Sorkin, an award-winning chief merger and acquisitions
reporter for The New York Times unfolds the first true
behind-the-scenes, moment-by-moment account of how the
greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression evolved
into a global disaster. From inside the corner office at
Lehman Brothers to secret meetings in South Korea, and the
corridors of Washington, Too Big to Fail is the definitive
story of the most powerful men and women in finance and
politics grappling with success and failure, ego and greed,
and, ultimately, the fate of the world’s economy.
This book deals with several issues during the period of the
US economic recession. First, Why the US government let
Lehman Brothers fail in 2008, but not American International
Group (AIG). Also, how the bailout process proceeded,
starting with AIG and how US financial officials convinced
bankers to take bailout cash.
This book is easy to read and follow despite its 600 pages.
It is a true story not just a look at banks that were ‘too
big to fail’, but a real-life thriller about a cast of
bold-faced names who themselves thought they were ‘too big
Ring side view
Sorkin interviewed more than 200 people, spending some 500
hours with high government officials, Wall Street
luminaries, and others privy to critical moments. These
included Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers, Hank Paulson the
Treasury Secretary (and former Goldman Sachs bigwig) at the
time of the meltdown, Jamie Dimon, George W. Bush, David
Einhorn and the list goes on. Even Jim Cramer makes an
appearance. Sorkin has also managed to gain access to
personal e-mails and confidential documents. Such as the
resignation letter of Lehman Brothers CEO Richard S. Fuld
sent to the chairman of the Federal Reserve of New York,
abandoning his position on the regulator’s board in the days
before the investment bank filed for bankruptcy.
Indeed, this is a unique book. It is not just an ordinary
business book but what his publisher call “a true-life
financial and political thriller,” that includes dialogue of
powerful bankers and top government officials. The genuinely
written details of the events, gives the reader a sense of
living the book. For example, the author describes a
Saturday morning meeting in July 2008 at the Rye (NY)
mansion of Morgan Stanley chief John Mack, during which
Lehman’s Fuld gives hints on the possibility of a
partnership between the two firms. In addition, very few
commentators have managed to shed light on Lehman’s last
days, thus making this book even more unique.
For all of this, if you are a reader of business books, most
especially accounts of the shocking financial crisis, Too
Big to Fail is nothing less than required reading.