Sunday, February 13, 2011

Audio Book Review: Fool's Gold: The Inside Story of J.P. Morgan

I do a lot of driving, so to make the time in my car productive, I listen to a lot of audio books. Last month, I listened to The 4-Hour Workweek
after already having read the printed version of the book. My audio book for the last couple weeks has been Fool's Gold: The Inside Story of J.P. Morgan and How Wall St. Greed Corrupted Its Bold Dream and Created a Financial Catastrophe by Gillian Tett. This is by far the most thorough and complete book on the financial meltdown. The book has widespread depth and breath of what took place, not only in the United States but also in Europe.

The book covers in extensive detail SIVs, CDOs, super senior tranches, senior tranches, mezzanine tranches, junior tranches, ABSs, CSOs, CBOs, synthetic CDOs, shadow banks, and much, much more. (Don't worry if you don't understand what any of this means, the book will explain it to you.) I personally like all this detail, because it gives me a better understanding of what went on. But the book is not about definitions, it is about the people and the companies involved, the investment banks and the commercial banks. J.P. Morgan wasn't unscathed, but it survived, now as JP Morgan Chase (JPM).

The book covers the complete history of the bank and the economy going back to the 1980's all the way to the present. Although I haven't read the book in printed form, I think Fool's Gold would be an interesting volume whether you listen to it or read it.

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