The Weekend That Changed Wall Street by Maria Bartiromo
As a fan of CNBC’s “American Greed,” I am almost as fascinated by business scoundrels as I am by serial killers. So it was with great interest that I picked up this book by anchor Maria Bartiromo that chronicled the fall of Lehman Brothers, the humbling of financial giant Merrill Lynch and the government takeover of AIG.
Vastly simplified, the author explains in layman’s terms why the financial markets came tumbling down in mid-September 2008. (Condensed version: Regular folks who shouldn’t have gotten mortgages got mortgages and then couldn’t afford them. Financial geniuses who should have known better than to give them mortgages were having too much fun making money to consider the inevitable.) And while she remains journalistically objective in placing blame, her insights into the personalities and dealings of some of the key players are revealing.
Although she makes no predictions about the future (“…we are still trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix the system that failed”), the author staunchly defends our free-market capitalist system as the best there is, stating, “For my part, I choose to be on the side of freedom.”
And while I’d like to see more dire consequences for the fat cats who squandered our trust and ruined the financial futures of thousands of Americans, I’m afraid I have to agree.