Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving and persuasive, but also partisan, 27 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Fighting Chance (Hardcover)
I knew pretty much everything Elizabeth Warren has to say in this book. Almost lost my job at an investment bank when I dared to point out that minorities who qualified for a normal loan were targeted by lenders and mis-sold subprime (though obviously my alleged crime was that I dared use the word "black" in the chat.) And I've also figured out for myself that banks and lenders of all stripes deliberately target with all sorts of "deals" those who will go to break point to avoid bankruptcy. My favorite is the company that will send a refrigerator to your mom in Mexico and charge you three times the normal price in 36 "friendly" installments. Last thing you'll ever do is let your mom lose the fridge. And I also knew that 90% of people who go bankrupt are normal people like you and me whose bankruptcy was triggered by death-in-the-family, divorce or job loss.

Much as this was all "review and revision" for me, I still thought "A Fighting Chance" was as good an explanation of what's wrong with finance as I've ever read. People like to speak about Hyman Minsky's three degrees of leverage, Irving Fischer's debt deflation, Ben Bernanke's global glut of savings etc. but none of that would harm normal people, the infamous 99%, if they were somehow protected from their own ignorance. There just isn't enough greed to go around, merely a fear of being left behind, and that's not what crises are made of. So I buy the argument that a mortgage should have more warnings on it than a toaster and I could not care less that it's by now a cliché. So I'm very satisfied to have been taken through this argument by the woman who invented the cliché.

The bit I had not counted on when I ordered the book was the first part, the autobiographical bit. It was the most moving 100 pages I have read in my 46 years. It was awe-inspiring, uplifting, moving, I'm running out of words here, but I don't think fiction has been written that can match Elizabeth Warren's account of the first 50 years of her life. I wept like I imagine 14-year-olds do when they read Jane Austen. Or like I do when I watch a sad movie on an airplane, at any rate. Probably more.

As part of the bargain, I also read about the politics, but if you've read Neil Barofsky's book about his time in Washington overseeing TARP, it's all repetition. You'll have read it all before. And Barofsky does it better. That said, Elizabeth Warren 100% percent confirms what Barofsky's got to say, and significantly this includes the meeting at the Treasury where Tim Geithner discusses how the purpose of all the mortgage-relief programs is to "foam the runway" for the banks (rather than help people in trouble).

The other eye-opener is the advice Larry Summers allegedly gave her over dinner: the price of speaking your mind is you become an outsider. To make things happen, you need to be an insider, and to be an insider you need to keep stumm.

I can sadly confirm that, from where I'm sitting, it seems like Senator Warren has truly taken this advice to heart. The last part of the book, the one where she's finally running for office and getting a job representing us all in Washington, is quite frankly partisan. Won't bore you with the detail, but I'll reveal for the sake of credibility that I've only ever voted twice in a Presidential election. I cast a ballot for my fellow Greek, Mike Dukakis, in '88 and an absentee ballot for Barack "Change" Obama in 2008 and that's it. And I still thought the last bit of the book was a not-too-subtle piece of cheerleading for the Democratic Party. It's so comprehensive in its inclusion of all constituencies, principles and fads, so exhaustive in the manner no important Democrat gets left behind in terms of being praised (with extra special kudos extended to President Obama), that for a moment I started questioning my judgment of the first 150 pages in the book, the ones that made me nod in agreement and cry in sympathy.

But, no, she's right about everything she's got to say. And the story reveals how she arrived at all those views, so it's relevant, it belongs. The fact that it's moving is a bonus.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in

Review Details


4.8 out of 5 stars (8 customer reviews)

3 star

2 star

1 star

Add to wishlist

(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Top Reviewer Ranking: 625