In the WSJ, David Wessel has a long adapted excerpt from his forthcoming book. Which reminds me: there are a lot of books on the financial crisis coming out this fall, some of which will be required reading, most of which will not. Wessel's book will definitely be required reading—Wessel was able to interview Bernanke for the book, so it'll be the closest thing we have yet to Bernanke's side of the story. Here are the books that, as it stands right now, I'm planning on reading:
Hank Paulson, On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System (Nov. 2, 2009). Also required reading, for obvious reasons. David Wessel, In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic (August 4, 2009). Michael Lewis, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (Nov. 2, 2009). Andrew Ross Sorkin, Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System from Crisis—And Lost (Sept. 22, 2009). I've never been very impressed with Sorkin—his grasp of finance leaves a lot to be desired—but I'll give him another shot. Lawrence McDonald, A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers (July 21, 2009). The first Lehman tell-all.
As you can see, lots of "inside" stories. I'll probably skip Charlie Gasparino and Charles Geisst's books. I'm sure I know what both of them say already. Roger Lowenstein was supposed to write a book called The Six Days that Shook the World, about (obviously) Lehman Week, but apparently that's been changed and now he's writing a book on the broader crisis called, The End of Wall Street, and it won't be published until 2010. That's unfortunate. I would have liked a detailed, blow-by-blow account of that epic (and horrific) week. Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera are also writing a book about the financial crisis, but I don't know when that's supposed to be published. A closely related book on my reading list for this fall: Ken Rogoff & Carmen Reinhart, This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (Oct. 21, 2009).


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