- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Viking (7 July 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670920363
- ISBN-13: 978-0670920365
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 294,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
All The Devils Are Here: Unmasking the Men Who Bankrupted the World Paperback – 7 Jul 2011
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A business book that is as riveting as an adventure novel... a masterpiece (Huffington Post)
When the financial crisis of this decade is being taught in business schools, All the Devils Are Here could be the textbook. (Time)
Grand in scope, overwhelming in detail, this is as compelling as a well-crafted literary novel (USA Today)
Yields a rich and intricate tableau of understanding (Financial Times)
A thorough account of the origins of the financial crisis. Helps explain the most troubling headlines of the moment, as well as those that are certain to come. (New York Times)
Joe Nocera is the best business writer alive (Jim Cramer)
About the Author
Bethany McLean is a writer for Vanity Fair and the co-author of The Smartest Guys in the Room. She was previously editor-at-large of Fortune, and spent three years working at Goldman Sachs. She lives in Chicago.
Joe Nocera is business columnist for the New York Times. He has won three Gerald Loeb awards for excellence in business journalism and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2006. He lives in New York.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a story of the people behind the subprime mortgage crash, and it builds up by discussing how some of the players got involved in the market and manipulated it and profited by it or lost everything. Few of those involved were innocent, whether by being complicit in producing products that they knew would be dangerous or "toxic" as one package was called, or because they were too greedy to investigate what they were buying. From the regulators, the rating agencies, the GSE (government sponsored enterprises), to the banks, mortgage companies even to the borrowers, everyone let greed hurtle them towards disaster.
Some have commented on how difficult it is to read. Yes this is not a quick read but it is fascinating. I have an accounting background but not in banking or treasury and sometimes I could not remember the detail behind a CDO or a Credit Default Swap but the narrative swept me along regardless. Here is tale of greed encouraging men and women to exploit a system were regulation either could not keep up or was not there at all, as new products were created and/or political machinations stopped the few regulators who tried from controlling the monster.
There are also complaints that this is solely concentrated on the US. Perhaps the title as it refers to the men who bankrupted the world is misleading. I for one would have liked mention of the other collapses But I also see it as a strength that the area focused on just the US. If there was too wide a focus then some of the pace of the book might have been lost. And after all this was a book written by Americans for Americans.
Suffice to say that the passage of time has done little to change my view of the core of the book. Primarily focusing on a US-centric view of the financial meltdown, "All the Devils Are Here" does however cast its net to not only cover how the house of cards collapsed around the world, but provides a fascinating history for what various governments and regulatory bodies did wrong over the previous three decades to let it happen.
What's revealed is an infuriating perfect storm of financial de-regulation, government incompetence (if not outright corruption) and a pack of hyaenas in the financial services industry that were effectively left to their own devices with no nobler goal than the lining of their own pockets at the expense of the public purse and their own customers.
I don't normally approve of spoilers in reviews but SPOILER ALERT: the bad guys mostly got away with and if anything has happened in the three years since the book was published it's that they are now back at it, business as normal, just waiting for the public gaze to falter so they can rinse and repeat it all over again. And with the collusion of a bought media and governments of all stripes who rely on third party funding, it won't be long now. Give it another ten years and we'll be due our next financial meltdown.
McLean and Nocera chart the origin of sub-prime mortgage selling back in the 1980s and how the gradual rise (`like creeping slime, which slowly took over the industry') of borderline criminal practices became endemic and to dominate the activities of many huge financial corporations, all afraid to be left behind and miss the free-cash boat. The origins of the `securitisation' process whereby mortgages aggressively sold to people almost certain to default were wrapped up in `derivatives', `credit default swaps', `collateralised debt obligations' and other such esoteric inventions is described with forensic detail: the traditional bond between borrower and lender, and due diligence before granting a loan, were discarded in the scramble for quick profits and commissions. The higher default risk was bundled up and sold on to other institutions around the world which became so far removed from the origin of the product they had little idea of the risks they were taking on. As long as the huge commissions and bonuses continued to be paid to all the players in the game, no-one cared about the eventual consequences and few dared point out the Emperor in reality had no clothes on.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book, but you have to have an appreciation and interest for the subject in general to sit through it, I think. Read morePublished 15 months ago by L. Hvidtfeldt
Brilliant read - hard to put it down. Complicated subject artfully explained whilst not bogging down the pace of the book.Published on 14 Oct. 2014 by Jan
Having read and enjoyed Bethany McLeans account of the Enron debacle, I decided to read All the Devils Are Here, although, needless to say, it is not the first book I have read on... Read morePublished on 13 Feb. 2014 by Elis
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