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On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System Audio CD – Audiobook, 12 Jan 2010

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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product details

  • Audio CD: 13 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio; Unabridged edition (12 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600249124
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600249129
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 4.4 x 14.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,469,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'The former US Treasury secretary gives a gripping account of how he battled to prevent complete meltdown in the financial system, with plenty of illuminating detail.' (Financial Times) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

The definitive inside account of the global financial meltdown from the former US Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Olly Buxton on 22 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Disclosure: The author was once my boss, although there is no prospect he'd ever have known that. I was a mere halfling among 25,000. Consequent additional disclosure: by dint of said employment, once upon a time I suppose I helped, in a small way, "the Vampire Squid jam its blood funnel into anything that smelled like money", as it was so enchantingly put in a celebrated Rolling Stone article. It didn't feel like that's what I was doing at the time. Honestly.

Now: seeing as it is perhaps the defining socio-economic and political sequence of events since the Second World War: the-near-collapse-of-the-Western-Capitalist-system-as-we-know-it; the horrifying few months triggered by (but not really including) 2007's "Credit Crunch", which brought down Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG, Washington Mutual and ran such veritable institutions as Morgan Stanley and even the dear old Vampire Squid itself close, it's odd that it doesn't have a convenient label. So let's call it "The Meltdown".

There have been many - and are sure to be many more - rip-snorter accounts of The Meltdown (my favourite, present company excepted, being Andrew Sorkin's Too Big to Fail) but most suffer, at the limit, from the need for well-intended guesswork. For this was a crisis of momentous actions taken by a few individuals and went on largely discreetly and behind securely closed doors. Any journalist, no matter how good her sources, is forced into educated speculation or must rely on hearsay for the vital exchanges. After all, who said what to whom is the real story of our Close Brush With Apocalypse.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DOPPLEGANGER TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ross Sorkin's book 'Too Big To Fail' was the supreme journalistic account of the Bush Administrations fervid attempts to stave off a collapse of the US economy which would have had disastrous consequences for the Global economy. Financial mayhem, of a severity perhaps not encountered before would have ensued. Depression level unemployment, virtual lack of confidence in all financial institutions, runs on national currencies, and a substantial rise in those falling under the poverty line. All of these factors would have contributed to general discontent and even perhaps civil unrest. It would be difficult to provide a better chronicled narrative of these events than Sorkin's book.

However, whereas Sorkin is on the outside looking in, Hank Paulson was on the inside, at the very epicentre of the Government's frantic efforts to find solutions for a seemingly impossible and fast moving series of catastrophic losses in almost every major financial institution and many Blue Chip corporations. Mr Paulson is able to provide a 'fly on the wall' account of not only the fiscal machinations but also an insight into the feverish bi-party negotiations on Capitol Hill for new legislation to facilitate his rescue plans. In fact the two books compliment each other and together provide an excellent rounded account of one of the most critical moments we are likely never to see again - it is hoped.

Along with Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Tim Geithner, President Reserve Bank of New York, Sheila Blair, Chairman of the FDIC and their departmental teams, Hank Paulson worked literally day and night, 7 days a week,for 6 months in 2008 to avert the threatening financial armageddon. And succeed they did but not without quite a few hiccups, confrontations, arguments and near meltdowns.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Morten Pedersen on 2 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover
It might very well have been the smartest career move he ever did. By his own admission, he did not see the credit crunch arriving, and Goldman Sachs didn't start hedging against a mortgage-based collapse until after his departure.

The entire book is a description of attempting to fix an endless line of symptoms - the cause of artificially low interest rates is mentioned in one single line. The storytelling is fast-paced, and the chapters around Lehman's collapse are particularly engrossing.

As can be expected, all controversies are ignored, and explanation of why rather key decisions were made, is kept light - AIG stands out. He also claims to be "opposed to the incentive structure of Wall St" - despite receiving $700m in compensation during his 7 years in charge of Goldman Sachs.

The book seems slightly overproduced, in the sense that some chapters feels as if they were written by committee - to protect everyone's interests.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. E. Oughton on 14 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover
If I had read this biography 3 years ago I would have thought it to be worthy of an Oliver Stone movie. Gripping and insightful. One's worst fears of greed and fear encapsulated in the key players during this still unresolved chapter of the free market evolution. Hank Paulson portrays himself as a mere mortal battling the elements of a global financial meltdown. A man without all the answers thrust into the wrong place at the right time. The politicians involved in the nadir of the crisis re inforce the perception that in times like these their convictions are trully partisan and rarely patriotic. I would like to read a sequal but then this would require the global collapse that to this date has not occurred. The conclusion the system did work and the free markets prevailed...just
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