A timely, counterintuitive defense of Wall Street and the big banks as the invisible - albeit flawed - engines that power our ideas and should be made to work better for all of us.
Maybe you think the banks should be broken up and the bankers should be held accountable for the financial crisis in 2008. Maybe you hate the greed of Wall Street but know that it's important to the proper functioning of the world economy. Maybe you don't really understand Wall Street, and phrases such as credit default swap make your eyes glaze over. Maybe you are utterly confused by the fact that after attacking Wall Street mercilessly during his campaign, Donald Trump has surrounded himself with Wall Street veterans. But if you like your smartphone or your widescreen TV, your car or your morning bacon, your pension or your 401(k), then - whether you know it or not - you are a fan of Wall Street.
William D. Cohan is no knee-jerk advocate for Wall Street and the big banks. He's one of America's most respected financial journalists and the progressive best-selling author of House of Cards. He has long been critical of the bad behavior that plagued much of Wall Street in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, and because he spent 17 years as an investment banker on Wall Street, he is an expert on its inner workings as well.
But in recent years he's become alarmed by the cheap shots and ceaseless vitriol directed at Wall Street's bankers, traders, and executives - the people whose job it is to provide capital to those who need it, the grease that keeps our economy humming. In this brisk, no-nonsense narrative, Cohan reminds us of the good these institutions do - and the dire consequences for us all if the essential role they play in making our lives better is carelessly curtailed.
"Cohan writes with an insider's knowledge of the workings of Wall Street, a reporter's investigative instincts and a natural storyteller's narrative command." (The New York Times)
"[Cohan is] one of our most able financial journalists." (Los Angeles Times)
"A former Wall Street man and a talented writer, [Cohan] has the rare gift not only of understanding the fiendishly complicated goings-on, but also of being able to explain them in terms the lay reader can grasp." (The Observer)
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An Inch Deep and A Mile Wide
Persons who feat that ultra-liberals might actually decide to do away with Wall Street altogether. Or persons who have no knowledge about what Wall Street does and why it might have some use.
Not only this book very superficial, poorly researched and poorly argued, it's a mile wide and an inch deep. Much of the book makes the author seem like a mouthpiece for Wall Street, rather than an analyst of it. Basically, his contention is that the big banks should not be broken back into commercial and investment banks because customers use the banks currently... as if that were proof that we shouldn't tamper with them. He also argues that it would be complicated to disentangle commercial operations from investment banking. He hates the Volker Rule and much of Dodd-Frank. His entire solution is, unbelievably, to have the banks self-police themselves against taking large risks by tying their personal net worth to the performance of the banks. In other words, require them to lose their net worth if the banks go under. Good luck with that.
None. It is non-fiction.
- Phillip Sheridan