Top positive review
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Read with an open mind
on 2 June 2014
When initially diving into this book, I was expecting it to be exclusively a defence of Geithner, by Geithner. Whilst still of the opinion that he might possibly be giving undue emphasis to certain actions and decisions, whilst glossing over others, I was pleasantly surprised how readily he was willing to put his hands up and admit to his mistakes.
This book should definitely be required reading for anyone who thinks he knows what caused the 2008 crisis and who thinks he knows how to prevent future crises. Geithner makes it very clear how a combination of a vast number of factors, many unrelated, worked together to cause the events of 2007 onwards. He doesn't try to pin the blame on any one subset of all the actors, but tries to explain clearly and concisely how actions taken (or not taken) led to the events discussed.
He does throw in some interesting anecdotes and asides, but I feel he could have gone a little further to give a more human touch to all the events that unfolded. I found it particularly amusing how many administration officials were under the impression that he was an ex-Goldmans banker, whereas he had never worked for any bank in any capacity.
I do share his despondency about how difficult it will be to enact the desired changes to make our global financial system safer going forward. My conclusion would definitely be that it would be better to attempt to fix the US political system first. Then and only then could any meaningful supervision and regulatory authority for the financial system be put in place. Almost unbelievable that US politicians would push hard for greater supervision of all consumer finance firms, just not those offering car loans, or greater supervision of all banks, just not the two biggest in the particular State that the politician represents.
All in all, a great read, but just be aware that the author, on balance, will want you to be sympathetic to the subject!