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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
20
Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:£25.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on 7 June 2016
Book is new, perfect outside and it was delivered insanely fast. Really satisfied
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on 11 April 2016
Brilliant book!
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on 27 January 2015
I thought this was a great book ... cogently described by someone in the middle of the financial crisis since 2006. Geithner was first a central banker and regulator at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and then Obama's first Treasury Secretary. Amazing achievement to turn an autobiography from someone with this background into a page turner! He accepts mistakes were made, but he's very clear that extreme austerity cost the tax payer more in the long run than letting temporarily illiquid banks, businesses and countries fail ... and why it sometimes hard to tell the difference between them and the generally insolvent ones! A timely read as Greece votes against austerity.

Of course his critics might have a different view ... I'm not close enough to it to judge.
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on 19 July 2014
story could have been told in half the book?
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on 20 April 2015
Very comprehensive and reads like a story. Excellent detailed anecdotes and punctuated with details and differing perspectives. Very insightful.
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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!
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on 20 June 2015
Great books. Allows one to view and live the greatest crises of our time in an honest way. The choices where hard but ultimately necessary.
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on 27 May 2014
It is a mistake to suppose that you have to agree with an author’s opinions to find the book worth reading! Rather, a work like this should make one question both one’s own and the author’s opinions. This one should be required reading for all bankers, all investors, and all politicians - as should be Margaret Reid’s The Secondary Banking Crisis 1973-5 - and indeed all ought to be able to recite the first three pages of Chapter 10, whatever they may think of the way Tim Geithner tackled his extraordinary tasks. The book is also a very good read for anyone interested in the ways the world works and politicians are prone to behave.
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on 29 October 2015
Excellent
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on 12 May 2014
I found Stress Test worth reading, which according to me is Timothy Geithner's attempt to equitably chronicle the role of all associated decision makers in the 2008-2010 recessionary phase & now that I've read this book, I have more respect for Geithner as a human being)

Timothy F. Geithner, the US Treasury Secretary (2009-2013), former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and currently the President of Warburg Pincus, a global Private Equity investment institution), emphasises the importance of Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP or Federal Bailouts) of 2008 and his role in saving the world from the depths of Economic Depression.

In his first book titled "Stress Test," Geithner constructs a persuasive case for his role as the man most responsible for the TARP (Federal Bailouts) of 2008. Financial bailouts historically were only made available to the commercial banks and not extended to the Wall Street Investment houses, Geithner was the first Treasury Secretary to have made this possible.

Geithner makes the case for TARP in saving the Financial Institutions. He extends the argument to the value of Financial Institutions gaining enormity when the country in question is the United States of America (USA), the largest economy on the planet. The importance of the Financial Institutions grows and reaches epic global proportions when the same nation is facing a crisis, which finds its origins in the core of the same Financial Institutions. The TARP, which then amounted to approximately 700 Billion dollars (and have now reached ~ 8 trillion dollars: all funded by taxpayer money) was released to act as a safety net for the Financial Institutions who in turn are to protect the Tax Payer of the vicious cycle of recession, which if left uncontrolled would have led to Global Economic Depression).

Geithner makes two big admissions

1) He admits that he did not foresee the coming of the "Financial crisis" (especially showcased during a meeting held in March 2008 (the Bears Stearns rescue days), when he objected against the then Federal Governor Kevin Warsh's statement on the fact that financial institutions remained undercapitalized (i.e. the Institutions had too much leverage and hence had too much exposure to potential losses, which could lead to financial apocalypse).

2) His second admission is that he did not grasp the grimness of the troubles, while they were occurring and even after they had occurred. He cites that he was influenced by Citibank's Robert Rubin (who along with Larry Summers had recommended him for the position of President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, despite the fact that he was lacking the desired experience).

Geithner also takes jibes at and thrashes the "moral hazard fundamentalists" fellows who raise concerns that bailing out the financial institutions have encouraged even riskier behaviour. He says that the TARP and other rescue programs enacted in the crisis years were a success because the alternative(s), which no one can ever know would have been far worse.

There are some very good stories of his interactions with the heads of Wall Street banks, most notably with Citibank's Robert Rubin, Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein and with important personalities of the likes of the Oracle of Omaha Mr. Warren Buffet, Ben Bernanke, the then Chairperson of the Federal Reserve, his predecessor Hank Paulson, then and current President Mr. Barack Obama and ex-President Mr. Bill Clinton.

Overall a very good read (I heard it on Audible at 1.5x :) ....Yes, audio is a good way (especially if you happen to make long commute). The audible version of the book "Stress Test" has been read by Timothy Geithner himself (and not by a professional) which, makes it even more interesting for me for some true emotion surface up. Audible offers the ability to vary the read speed, which is useful for 1.0x is usually read relatively slowly and hence one may find 1.5x or 2x to be more compatible (for the brain to absorb without exertion, and consume more information in lesser time).
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