House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street

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Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street

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Click for availability and more information House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street, by William Cohan
Click for availability and more information Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street, by Kate Kelly

Two complementary books about the fall of the investment banking firm Bear Stearns--called the Rodney Dangerfield of Wall Street by some--are worth reading. William Cohan's House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street is the more comprehensive of the two. He offers a full history of the firm and its principals through its March 2008 demise, detailing how a combination of poor and inattentive governance, excessive risk, and many other factors lead to its fire sale to JP Morgan for less than the value of its headquarters. Whether you are a follower of Wall Street happenings or not, Cohan's journalist style makes this a page-turning read.

Equally engaging is Kate Kelly's much briefer account of just the last three days of the same events in Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street. It focuses, in even greater detail, on the last 72 hours that the firm, the Fed, the Treasury, and prospective buyers maneuvered to keep the collapse of Bear Stearns from causing greater damage to the financial markets. Both accounts offer an insider's view of the larger-than-life personalities that ran the firm and the free-wheeling, iconoclastic culture that led to its acquisition.

-Barbara O-G

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This page contains a single entry published on June 16, 2009 8:11 PM.

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