The Weekend That Changed Wall Street by Maria Bartiromo - Book review
The Weekend That Changed Wall Street
An Eyewitness Account
By Maria Bartiromo with Catherine Whitney
Published: September 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
"How could the best and the brightest in the financial services industry, with their huge compensation packages and ballyhooed brilliance, not see the meltdown coming?", writes Emmy Award winning CNBC business journalist Maria Bartiromo, in her provocative and insightful book The Weekend That Changed Wall Street: An Eyewitness Account. The author describes the tensions, the fears, and the near collapse of the American financial system in 2008, through compelling interviews with the leading players on Wall Street and in Washington, DC, combined with her own personal experiences of those dangerous months.
Maria Bartiromo shares her revealing and very candid discussions with the movers and shakers who played major roles in the near disaster that befell Wall Street, and the entire global stock and bond markets, in those memorable late fall days in 2008. During that time period, with the demise of long time Wall Street icons Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers still in the headlines, the author provides inside discussions with the leading people in the industry. The story Maria Bartiromo uncovers is one of mistakes, greed, and tragic miscalculations of the real value of the securities and derivatives that formed the flawed balance sheets of the financially troubled firms. The week described so vividly in the book was one where decisions were very often made on the fly, the real reasons for the choices made were not discovered until later, and the fate of perhaps the entire global economy hung in the balance. Through it all, Maria Bartiromo asked difficult questions, while seeking and receiving some very revealing and telling answers.
Maria Bartiromp (photo left) utilized her vast list of finance industry and government contacts to recreate the tension filled atmosphere that permeated Wall Street's offices and trading floor during that fateful week. Drawing on that network of individuals, ranging from CEOs, to cabinet members, to regulators, to rank and file staffers, the author develops a fast paced narrative that captures the anxiety and near panic that engulfed both the financial sector and the United States government. The author paints vivid portraits of the many guilty people, whose greed and zest for fast living and little financial oversight, led to the near bankruptcy of some of Wall Street's most prestigious investment banks. The author points out that the problems with the investments were becoming known, but the high living investment bank community could not or would not admit there was a pending nightmare. They even deluded themselves into believing all was well, and the party would last a while longer. As Maria Bartiromo makes very clear, the end was much closer and much more perilous than anyone believed possible.
For me, the power of the book is how Maria Bartiromo presents an intimate and insider perspective of the near disastrous event of a week in late 2008. She brings her keen journalist's eye for detail, and her ability to ask the toughest questions, to extract revealing answers from the people involved. Many of those responses were unexpected, and resulted in responses that provided more information than expected at the time. The author creates a very compelling narrative that sweeps the reader along at the same breathless pace that overwhelmed Wall Street, the government, and the financial media.
Maria Bartiromo not only examines the issues of that fateful week, but also offers insights into the future of the financial community. She considers the very real possibility that the financial leadership failed to learn the fundamental lessons that she and others had gleaned from the events and their aftermath. The author also ponders the questions of the need for more regulation and oversight of Wall Street activities, and whether the choice of bailing out the troubled companies should relieve them of their mistakes. Maria Bartiromo is a firm believer in the capitalist system, and wants the market to operate efficiently but with rules that will prevent any other near disasters in America or the European Union.
I highly recommend the essential and must read book The Weekend That Changed Wall Street: An Eyewitness Account by Maria Bartiromo, to anyone seeking a first hand account of the events of the near financial collapse of 2008. The in depth interviews and conversations shared in the book give the reader a rare glimpse into the thought process of the decision makers at the time. The end result is a spectacular thriller that grips the reader from the very first page.
Read the important and authoritative book The Weekend That Changed Wall Street: An Eyewitness Account by Maria Bartiromo, and relive those dangerous days when Wall Street and the economy came very close to the abyss, and how the same events must be prevented from happening again. This book presents a balanced view, complete with a glimpse of how greed and terrible business practices can lead to disaster for any company, regardless of its size.
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