Spotted on (the Open) Market: Financial Crisis Post-Mortems

Much ink has been spilled about what exactly happened in 2008, who did it, and how to prevent it from happening again.  For many writers and journalists, it appears that the best way to recover  lost retirement accounts was to write about it and sell it to you.

So how do we choose the ones that provide useful and interesting insight, and know when to ignore those with faulty post hoc reasoning and useless finger pointing?

One of the more frequently spotted, as John C told our friends at Muni Diaries, is Michael Lewis’ The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine.  Its recent ubiquity is probably a function of its recent publication, as well as its recent coverage by NPR, because we SFers love our NPR!

I’ve read a few excerpts from the book and I found it to be very readable, and from a very interesting perspective.  Despite the gigantic amounts of money being shoved from fist to fist, it appears that only about three  people really understood wtf collateralized debt obligations were (baskets of mortgages and other debt); and they bet on them going south.  It should especially prove interesting in light of the SEC’s recent complaint against Goldman Sachs, because as it turns out one of these prescient guys betting on the instruments’ failure actually helped set some of them up.

How about anyone else?  (Dis)like this book?  Got a better one to suggest?


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