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I read this book not long after "Too Big to Fail." It has the benefit of being a first-hand account by the senior government official in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis: we learn much more in this book of the background thinking and concerns of top Treasury and Fed officials who were trying to cope with the onset of financial panic and meltdown. Put another way, the book offers much clearer context and explanation of the policy thinking than did the Sorkin book. The book keys on personal conversations and meetings, which keeps it interesting. There are revealing sketches of Mr. Paulson's interactions with Congressional leaders and the President, which show how completely unprepared they all were for the scope and severity of the financial crash. The weakest part of the book is the Afterword in which Mr. Paulson lays out the policy reforms that are needed in order to avoid a like financial disaster in the future. Although a vitally important and urgent reform (and one Congress and the Administration to their shame have still not addressed 18 months after the 2008 meltdown), this part of the book reads like a bland press release from the Treasury Department.
This book is well worth reading for a better understanding of the 2008 financial collapse. It is focused on the response to the financial meltdown at the highest levels of government and industry. It does not, however, provide particular insights into the irresponsible business practices that led to the crisis in the first place.
23 of 24 people found this review helpful
I listened to this as a follow up to Too Big to Fail and did not have much expectation. I was pleasantly surprised. This book provided an in depth view from inside the government. I came away feeling that Hank, Ben and Tim all were trying their best in a situation that kept blind siding them with new problems. It was like the proverbial snowball going downhill. I came away glad that they were in their roles and that they were willing to take chances with big solutions. It will be interesting to see how history judges their actions. We will need to remember that others took over and subsequent decisions may have created different outcomes than originally planned at the time of the original decisions.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful