13 Bankers

  • by Simon Johnson, James Kwak
  • Narrated by Erik Synnestvedt
  • 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Even after the ruinous financial crisis of 2008, America is still beset by the depredations of an oligarchy that is now bigger, more profitable, and more resistant to regulation than ever. Anchored by six megabanks, which together control assets amounting to more than 60 percent of the country's gross domestic product, these financial institutions (now more emphatically "too big to fail") continue to hold the global economy hostage, threatening yet another financial meltdown with their excessive risk-taking and toxic "business as usual" practices. How did this come to be - and what is to be done?
These are the central concerns of 13 Bankers, a brilliant, historically informed account of our troubled political economy. Prominent economist Simon Johnson and James Kwak give a wide-ranging, meticulous, and bracing account of recent U.S. financial history within the context of previous showdowns between American democracy and Big Finance. They convincingly show why our future is imperiled by the ideology of finance (finance is good, unregulated finance is better, unfettered finance run amok is best) and by Wall Street's political control of government policy pertaining to it.
The choice that America faces is stark: whether Washington will accede to the vested interests of an unbridled financial sector that runs up profits in good years and dumps its losses on taxpayers in lean years, or reform through stringent regulation the banking system as first and foremost an engine of economic growth. To restore health and balance to our economy, Johnson and Kwak make a radical yet feasible and focused proposal: reconfigure the megabanks to be "small enough to fail".


What the Critics Say

“Johnson and Kwak not only tell us in great detail how the crisis happened...but they see the deeper political and cultural context that permitted carelessness and excess nearly to break the financial system.” (Bill Bradley, former U.S. senator)
“If the wads of money you’re stuffed into your mattress for safekeeping don’t keep you up at night, 13 Bankers will. A disturbing and painstakingly researched account of how the banks wrenched control of government and society out of our hands – and what we can do to seize it back.” (Bill Moyers)
"Our future depends on fixing our financial system; 13 Bankers shows us how.” (Arianna Huffington)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Easy to Understand and Comprehend

My opinion is that I just "read" the Financial History class that everyone should go through. If you want to understand the interplay between politics and finance, this is the book for you. If you want to understand what happened to the market and what can happen, this is the book for you. The author went to great lengths to explain the underlying terms that define the markets and the narrator made it easy to listen to this book for a long time. Well done.
Read full review

- Kyle

Important book...horribly narrated

This is a valuable contribution to understanding the meltdown of the financial sector and the challenges in putting it right again (including getting regulation right...which Congress seems incapable of handling).

HOWEVER, the narrator is unquestionably THE WORST I have ever encountered in over 300 books (and there have been a number of poor narrators). Synnestvedt's narration sounds like he is, in turns pleased, relieved and proud to reach the end of EVERY sentence. The narration becomes so annoying, even painful, to listen to that the underlying content is diminished.
Read full review

- John

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-26-2010
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio