Customer Reviews


15 Reviews
5 star:
 (9)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good coverage of the basics.
If you are buying any other books, or reading any other articles on the recent "credit crunch", you should seriously consider getting this book too. The writer is a lawyer, and in very precise plain clear language, describes how each of the new types of financial instrument, from "put" to "synthetic collateralized debt obligation", works, covering why people originally...
Published on 27 Aug 2008 by Too many books

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for some basics
This book has one big plus point - it explains very clearly some of the technical stuff at the heart of the credit crunch. If you want a brief and readable overview of the types of financial instruments (CDOs, credit default swaps etc) that banks have created and how they work, plus some of the detail on on the various market actors, then this is quite a useful book, and...
Published on 2 Mar 2009 by tomsk77


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good coverage of the basics., 27 Aug 2008
This review is from: Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash (Hardcover)
If you are buying any other books, or reading any other articles on the recent "credit crunch", you should seriously consider getting this book too. The writer is a lawyer, and in very precise plain clear language, describes how each of the new types of financial instrument, from "put" to "synthetic collateralized debt obligation", works, covering why people originally developed them, and how people have gone on to use and enhance them. It then covers all the risks that have developed as a result of their use in practice, and briefly covers the overall financial consequences, as far as people understand them. This includes talking about various regulatory failures that have contributed to the crisis.

He then makes an overall estimate of the kinds of losses that are likely. Although the real losses are looking even more serious now, several months later, he gives figures and estimates in his reasoning that enable you to get some kind of overall picture of the problems. His focus is almost entirely on the United States, but the financial instruments used elsewhere are the same, and the regulatory failures similar.

If you are reading other accounts of the developing crisis, this is a very good place to get the basic technical information on what everyone is talking about. Some books leap into explanations, with only very brief, and sometimes misunderstood, accounts of the financial instruments involved. Even if you disagree with some of Morris's points of view or conclusions, his clear account of how each financial instrument works is still very helpful.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, readable account, 10 July 2008
By 
Andreas Kaempf (St. Albans, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash (Hardcover)
I found this very short book (169 pages plus notes) very helpful in understanding what the "credit crunch" is about--what caused it, what the current imbalances in the financial system are, and how it may unravel. It starts further back in time than I would have expected (the 1950s to 1970s), but does this to explain the regulatory and financial stage on which the bubble of credit was born. Financial and economic terms are explained, without dumbing things down. Really excellent.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prescient and a great read, 10 Dec 2008
This review is from: Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash (Hardcover)
I read this shortly after it was published before many of the events in the current financial & economic crisis unfolded. Over the past few months I have seen its reasoning and predictions born out many times. There are still other predictions which only the future will prove one way or the other but having seemed more fanciful at the time of writing to many mainstream analysts now seem anything but. This is the best book I have read on the credit crisis and, whilst I have some background in finance, unlike a previous viewer I didn't think that it overwhelmed with terminology - I thought it explained complex finance in a very readable manner. I was originally a bit suspicious about a finance book written by a lawyer but I have to concede that this is an impressive account.

Once you've read this, if you haven't read it already and are interested for more, JK Galbraith's account of the Wall Street Crash of the 1930's is great reading and very relevant today.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for some basics, 2 Mar 2009
This book has one big plus point - it explains very clearly some of the technical stuff at the heart of the credit crunch. If you want a brief and readable overview of the types of financial instruments (CDOs, credit default swaps etc) that banks have created and how they work, plus some of the detail on on the various market actors, then this is quite a useful book, and cheap in the paperback. And the section seeking to quantify potential losses is interesting, though probably out of date.

I'm less impressed with some of his analysis, which strikes me as a little basic. Even though I'm broadly of the same opinion in terms of his commentary on increasing inequality of the past 3 decades, it's pretty thin stuff (though from memory I think he acknowledges this). In addition I don't really buy the idea of cycles in politics, I think that's an expression of a desire for an understandable narrative more than anything.

And a text moan - the endnotes are presented in a really messy way, all run-on together in big paragraphs which does not make for an accessible quick reference guide. I'm a bit bothered by the reliance on media sources too.

But given the price this is worth picking up if you just want to get your head around some of the basics.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine study of this great crash, 16 Dec 2008
By 
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash (Hardcover)
Charles Morris, an American writer, lawyer and former banker, has written a useful account of the long-building credit crash.

The last three decades saw the most reckless speculation ever, and the greatest global real estate bubble. By 2005, global financial assets - stocks, bonds, loans and mortgages - were worth four times global GDP. Financial derivatives - a form of claim on these financial assets - had a notional value of ten times global GDP, about $500 trillion.

Morris warns that the write-downs and defaults will take a trillion dollars, but due to capitalism's chaotic nature could cost two or three times more. The crash is in every kind of financial asset: there are no firebreaks. Thatcherism's free-market mania for asset stripping, abusive lending, and hedge fund secrecy has ended in ruin.

The USA's accumulated deficit between 2000 and 2006 was $4 trillion, funded by foreign countries, companies and banks. So now all the surplus nations - Russia, China, Japan, the Middle East countries - are moving away from the dollar and, like the pound, it is now in freefall, causing what the Economist called 'the biggest default in history'.

The US and British governments are turning a debacle into a decades-long disaster, backing their financial capitalists and covering up their problems (hedge funds, like tax havens, do not disclose their balance sheets). Likewise, when Japan's credit and property bubbles burst in the early 1990s, its ruling class defended Japan's financial capitalists, producing a slump that has not yet ended.

Morris urges a bigger public health care sector and a re-regulation of finance, which would be a start. He concludes, "market dogmatism .. has become the problem, rather than the solution." And he urges us to end what Adam Smith called "the disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and powerful - the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good source for learning what happened to our economy, 15 Nov 2009
By 
Mariusz Skonieczny "Author" (classicvalueinvestors com) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I think this book one of the easiest to read on the subject. The author explains the origins of financial instruments such as credit default swaps, and most importantly, how they contributed to the financial meltdown. Since I already had a pretty good idea of what caused the crisis, I found it very valuable to read about different schools of economy and how they played a role in the situation. He argues that the Chicago School of Economics which is based on free market with little regulation failed miserably. However, he acknowledges that this philosophy was the major contributor to prosperity since the 1970s. He believes that now is the time for the government to intervene much more to create prosperity in the future. I enjoyed reading this book.

- Mariusz Skonieczny, author of Why Are We So Clueless about the Stock Market? Learn how to invest your money, how to pick stocks, and how to make money in the stock market
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A short economic history since the 1950's, 6 Nov 2009
In 169 pages, Charles Morris provides an overview of the US economy since 1950's, focusing on the last 10 years and the 2007 crash.

It is easily readable without too much financial jargon and some of the financial instruments widely used in the 2000's (like CDOs) are clearly explained.

The author describes the different crisis of the 90's and 2000's (LBO crisis, 1987 crash, Savings and Loans crisis, 1994 crisis, LTCM, 2007) and explains their genesis by three phenomenons:
- Lack of financial regulation
- Agency problem
- Dominance of mathematical constructs
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balanced, concise and well-written, 17 July 2009
By 
J. Alan "JohnA" (Greater London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A brief financial history since WW2 with emphasis on the last 10 years.

Written by someone who knows the subject from the inside, avoiding unnecessary lingo (still you need to be broadly familiar with financial instruments)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Generally good review of the events leading to 2008 crisis, but..., 17 July 2012
By 
Donald Barlow "Donald" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a generally good and informative account of (most of) the events, some dating back decades, that led to the popping of the credit bubble in 2008. Im a finance professional and so, found it ok, but some may find some of the detail in the examples used a little challenging (not insurmountable, though) but this does not impair the account. What does impair it, for me, a little is the political undercurrent to the book. Anyone following US finance and politics currently can't avoid the significant partisan split over the policies required to get the US out of the current economic slow lane and what the role of government should be. Being no US expert, I don't have a view either way except that it's obvious the debate is heavily influenced by political party ideology and dogma, which generally cheapens it for me and can be incredibly tiresome. So, I was disappointed to read the political overtones to this book (some basic research suggests the author is a Democrat) where he disparages the Chicago school economics of the right as largely responsible (laissez faire, market forces etc) in favour of (a return to) bigger government, to paraphrase (US govt has actually been growing exponentially, irrespective of the politics of the incumbent president, for some decades). To be fair, the politics are not the dominant theme but it does unfortunately tend to cheapen and taint my view of the otherwise reasonable account of the events (some early important events are not given the airtime or importance i believe they deserve. Why?) the book makes. In fact, while no expert, i have read reasonably extensively now about the crisis and its origins and I think the author either deliiberately (for political ends) or mistakenly (benefit of doubt?) places too much emphasis on the economic policies of the right from the 80s onward as a cause of current problems. Most crises like this are usually the product of a confluence of political decisions, events and behaviours, not least of which was Nixon's abandonment of the dollar's gold linkage in the early 70s. I find it is too convenient and simplistic to point the finger at one party and its policies (and "ignore" perhaps THE critical event that set the whole chain of events off). No doubt the hands off approach exacerbated market behaviour, but it was just one factor in a chain of developments started by the much more critical Bretton Woods abandonment. It's odd that the impact of the move away from "sound money" is not given more prominence and sadly, rightly or wrongly, it could lead you to believe this is due to political bias. Its very interesting to read this account, written as the crisis was breaking, some 4 years later. Events have inevitably overtaken some of his (already questionable, in my view) suggestions for recovery (still not totally sure why healthcare, another Democrat dogma, is mentioned. It could be alleged the democrats fixation with healthcare the last 4 years has been a major diversion away from tackling the crisis properly). Consequently, this book won't give you a great view on how this eventually unfolds and it's a shame, for me, that what appears to be political bias diminishes the weight of the authors arguments. A reasonable historical account but that's about it. Could have done better.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars some good bits, 8 Jan 2009
By 
MrB (Newmarket, Suffolk, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash (Hardcover)
It confirms what I suspected: hedge funds and banks are interdependent, and each others' customers. The whole thing, in fact, is a gigantic Ponzi scheme, with them all selling (the same thing)to themselves so they can get bonuses and commissions.

Ok, so the author doesn't explain every concept in detail, but then you can go further with other reading if you really want to get technical. But it was all caused by much more than just sub prime.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash
13.99
Usually dispatched within 7 to 12 days
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews