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A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Incredible Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers Paperback – 3 Sep 2009
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Lawrence G. McDonald was, until 2008, Vice President of convertible securities and distressed debt trading at Lehman Brothers; his prior career included convertible securities research and sales at Morgan Stanley and the co-founding of Convertbond.com, named by Forbes Magazine as "Best of the Web." Patrick Robinson is the co-author of LONE SURVIVOR and author of many tech-thrillers.
The no-holds-barred account of the destruction of Lehman Brothers, by insider Larry McDonaldSee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
Obviously, I know the end, as it were, but it was written like a thriller meaning that I was still keen to see what actually happened. Very unusual and very well done.
If you would like to learn a little something about how to blow a hole through the odd $60 billion, this is the book to read!
It is written as a personal account, including details of some meetings and conversations so that the reader really has a feel for what was going on internally and what might have happened otherwise.
In short, I highly recommend the book.
It is a quick read - just skim over the author trying to build up his own case for calling himself "clever" as he loves to repeat.
This guy was nothing more than a mid-level trader who had absolutely no position to know what was going on in the Boardroom, let alone in DC. To pass this off as if it is first-hand reporting, when in fact it is some undisclosed mix of conjecture and second-hand information (with very little in the way of acknowledgement to sources, by the way) is just plain dishonest.
If you want to read a thoroughly-researched, well-written book on the subject: Too Big To Fail is your book.
Don't waste your time or money on this.
More than the plot, the content or the stories, I found the hyperactive tone of the book as the most telling clue of why financial disaster struck - to me it betrays a world of excesses, imbalances, hubris and all-rounder shallowness, of people who neither could see their own limits nor possessed any measure of inner balance.
The quality of the writing is unfortunately below par. I struggled most in keeping a logical and chronological flow of the events throughout the chapters. I also found it at time inconsistent: we read of alarm bells striking high and being plainly visible already since 2006, and yet the whole charade continued unabated for two more years. Perhaps such highly visible signs were not so visible after all and it's now all clear with the benefits of hindsight. I would have liked the author to reflect more on why that happened rather than pinning all the blame to Dick Fuld, his cronies and the mortgage brokers shallowheads.
With all that, I enjoyed the book and recommend it.
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