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Wall Street: How It Works and for Whom

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  131 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
A scathing dissection of the wheeling and dealing in the world’s greatest financial center. Spot rates, zero coupons, blue chips, futures, options on futures, indexes, options on indexes. The vocabulary of a financial market can seem arcane, even impenetrable. Yet despite its opacity, financial news and comment is ubiquitous. Major national newspapers devote pages of newsp ...more
Published June 17th 1997 by Verso (first published June 1st 1997)
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Oct 26, 2008 AC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: markets
A really stellar book -- it can be download for free here:
His more recent book is also a fine one: After the New Economy
Apr 21, 2012 Kyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
really good. it's refreshing to read someone citing keynes sceptically, and it's a hoot to read about microloans and "local" banking in a book written in the mid nineties, when in 2012 these things are dumb fads all over again.

his suggestions, near the end of the book, are also really good in that they're practical even if they are politically inconceivable. wealth taxes, public spending, increasing friction for financial instruments with fees and capital controls, taking resources out of the m
Rob Trump
Feb 08, 2016 Rob Trump rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good. Worth the price of admission for Chapter 5 alone, which is a mini-macroeconomics textbook both more true to the spirit of Keynes than most high school textbooks and more readable than the actual Keynes of the General Theory. Dense and data-heavy in the same way Piketty is, but with a bolder, and I think better, perspective. Recommended if you're into this sort of thing.
Nick Klagge
Feb 18, 2012 Nick Klagge rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
I started reading this book because I've been reading some left-leaning econ bloggers (Josh Mason, Mike Konczal) and ran across mention of Henwood and this book a few times.

Make no mistake, "Wall Street" is a hard-left leaning book. It was definitely an interesting read, especially because it was written in the mid-90s. I give DH a lot of credit: today, it's relatively acceptable to argue that the financial system does not allocate capital optimally, since the wreckage is staring us in the face
Omar Halabieh
Oct 13, 2012 Omar Halabieh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the title indicates, this book is an introduction to Wall Street - how it works and for whom. The book is composed of seven chapters as follows:

1- Instruments: This chapter covers the range of instruments traded on Wall Street, such as stocks, bonds, derivatives, currencies etc.

2- Players: This chapter covers the main stakeholders including households, nonfinancial business, financial institutions, the government etc.

3- Ensemble: This chapter discusses how the markets are intertwined, with a
Dec 10, 2007 Kent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Kent by: Nim Chimpsky
This is probably the best book I've ever read about economics and you get it for free here:
It's right up there with Anarcho-Syndicalism and Notes on Anarchism.

The most interesting thing about this book is his explanation that there is a major divide in the ruling class between managers and rich families. I always thought they were in it together to screw over the bottom 99%. Managers/companies want a high-growth, inflationary economy (that is generally be
Robb Bridson
Sep 11, 2012 Robb Bridson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting book to read over a decade later because... very little has changed. The supply-siders are making the same ridiculous calls as in the '90s only now in a finger-shaking manner rather than a boastful one-- somehow in either case, they avoid responsibility for the mess that, apparently, people could see coming.

This book can be dry at times, but offers a good outsider look at the financial world and what it's doing to the larger world. In addition it offers a relevant modernta
Jan 06, 2008 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reality
This is a really good book if you want to understand how the financial system works in the U.S. (and by extension the world). As far as I know it's still the best, even a decade after its publication. Definitely comes with a left bias, but it's not just muckraking -- Henwood has mastered an extremely confusing subject and made it halfway intelligible to the layperson. Be advised that this book is long and complicated (not a fault of the writing). The good news is you can get it for free online. ...more
Gerald Weaver
Jul 16, 2015 Gerald Weaver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
best book about Wall Street

You know, that guy Michael Lewis writes these flash books about flash trading and other Wall Street phenomena, but none of them gave me the foundation for my judgment on the place that this book did, that it is a zero sum game, that the money does not go into capital improvements, that it is a great big cash re-distributor that favors the biggest players. Detailed, objective, straightforward, this book is the best book about Wall Street, in its entirety, that someone w
Jun 19, 2016 Claudia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good book in macro and microeconomics. I was quite happy with the results. The author has a very careful to address the uninitiated so that readers can expect a great deal of repetitive content. However, it gives a larger view of what wall street is and how it operates. Politically it leans left but I didn’t find it unreadable, au contraire: The politics are left to a minimum and the book and it seeks an objective view of all major stakeholders and what they do in Wall Street. Rea ...more
Jan 08, 2013 Graeme rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although it was written a decade plus ago, this is the best, most readable, account of the guts of our financial system I'm aware of. The solutions to the massive problems laid out in the book are a tad bit slim, and you are assumed to be somewhat familiar with basic economic lingo. (It is currently out of print, but offered for free online. A simple google search will locate it.)
Aug 05, 2007 Doug rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who have a genuine interest in the nuts and bolts of economics
This book is about the inner workings of economics, from a left wing perspective. Interesting in parts, overly minute in others. Once you get his point that the financial system is smoke and mirrors designed and implemented to protect wealth, the only point in continuing is for all the gritty details. I quit not quite halfway through, but that's says more about me than it does Henwood's book.
Apr 25, 2012 Brad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite simply the best book on the in's & the out's of America's financial industry available. Seriously, set aside those GQ & Rolling Stone puff pieces, and get to the read deal. You can download it for free here.
Bryan Atinsky
Dec 25, 2012 Bryan Atinsky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Modern classic. Very little can be said to have changes since its publication and it is by far one if the best straight forward analyses of the machinations of our economic system. You will definitely come out of it with a clearer knowledge of how things work. Can't recommend it enough.
Jul 21, 2012 Jon-Erik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unbelievably prescient. Written in 1996, this book diagnoses the 2008 crisis, its causes, symptoms, and consequences.
Good undergraduate-level overview of the academic literature on Wall Street and the financial services industry.
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