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Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  284 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
The acclaimed "New York Times" bestseller-updated for the second anniversary of the collapse of Bear Stearns
The fall of Bear Stearns in March 2008 set off a wave of global financial turmoil that continues to ripple. How could one of the oldest, most resilient firms on Wall Street go so far astray that it had to be sold at a fire sale price? How could the street fighters
ebook, 256 pages
Published May 12th 2009 by Portfolio (first published 2009)
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May 28, 2009 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of a Cliff Notes version of William Cohan's book, House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street. But what I liked about it was that it was paced so fast that you are really able to get a sense of the urgency facing the main players at the doomed investment bank.

I think it was Joss Whedon that said about the The Civil War that the reason why we're so interested in The South is because they lost. No one cares about the victors in a struggle, it is the losers with whom w
Maverick Vincent
Feb 18, 2014 Maverick Vincent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kelly's account of the last few desperate days of Bear Stearns is a spectacle of investigative reporting. Her writing is terse, masterful in its pacing, and at times even eloquent and poignant. The descriptions of financial instruments and mechanisms are lucid without being encumbered by needless details such that even casual readers with little to no background in the subject would have little difficulty in understanding the events that unfold in the report. The surgical precision of Kelly's ac ...more
Apr 19, 2014 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
...a story of one of the financial firms that failed during the Great Recession. The book focuses mostly on the last hours of Bear Stearns, from Thursday, March 13, 2008 to Sunday March 16, 2008. The fall of Bear Stearns was extremely fast - the issue became critical on late Thursday afternoon, and a hastily arranged shotgun marriage with JP Morgan Chase occurred over the weekend. The book, while it at times reads like a newspaper article, still captures the tension and the personalities during ...more
Mar 22, 2010 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have to give this book 5 stars for information. If you are like me, you are aware that everything kind of took a dive in 2008 when it came to the economy. However, the first big bond bank to go down was Bear Sterns. Followed shortly by Lehman brothers. This book is about Bear Sterns and the 72 hours it took to collapse.

72 HOURS!! That's it. At the beginning of 72 hours it had almost 20 billion dollars and shares were $57 each. At the end of 3 days it was completely broke and it was sold
A book written about the last 72 hours before Bear Sterns failed - by Kate Kelly who was The Wall Street Journal's beat journalist covering the events as they were happening in March of 2008. She has captured the culture of the place (Bear known for having PSDs as employees: Poor, smart and having Desire to be rich! unlike other 'lvy league only' kind of street firms), motivations of the cast of characters and stakeholders (Bearn's own employees, FED, Treasury, JP Morgan and other trading counte ...more
In the course of 3 days in March 2008, the investment firm Bear Stearns went from the fifth largest investment firm on Wall Street to the brink of bankruptcy. How could a company of such prestige fall so hard in so little time? Kate Kelly, a Wall Street journalist chronicles and explores this event in detail, helping readers understand. In short, Bear Stearns ironically fell due to failures in risk management, a supposed strength of the former investing house. Where banks like Goldman Sachs keep ...more

My Rating – 3/5

Summary –

“Street Fighters” gives a blow by blow account of the last 72 hours of Bear Sterns. The book is an extension of Kelly’s acclaimed series of articles written for The Wall Street Journal.

Review –

Continuing with my latest obsession, this is my fifth consecutive book on 2008 meltdown. Street Fighters recounts the mad scramble at Bear Sterns, considered as the brashest among the Wall Street investment banks to save it from going under. It
Joseph Scavone
I don't want to come off as a DB but I'm probably going to. I was shocked how little I enjoyed this book. I felt there were some technical errors and wasn't broad enough. The view the reader got was from the top, I feel the author was enthralled with the money and power within the executive floors and missed a huge part of the story. With a title like "Street Fighters" I expected to hear more about, and would have empathized a lot more with the guys in the trenches but cared little about a multi ...more
Jun 06, 2013 Jamie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this after reading the big short. It was a great followup. This book covers only the last 72 hours of Bear Stearns. It was almost gripping even when you know how it will end. Will they figure out a way to stay afloat? Which deal will they take and why? And it offered such an insight into so many of the personalities at play. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am still amazed at just how quickly and how easily it was for them to go bankrupt. And you wonder, over and over again "Who exactly is to b ...more
Jul 13, 2009 Maggie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good little snapshot of the beginning of the 2008 fall of Wall Street. It highlights the personal panic/relief that many employees felt in the last hours of Bear Stearns more so than the greater market machinations. What it really conveys is how absolutely terrifying and crushing it must have felt to have worked at Lehman just prior to its bankruptcy months later (unlike Bear, Lehman didn't get the last minute deal to avoid bankruptcy). Along the same lines, it shows that Paulson, Bernake, and ...more
Jun 07, 2015 Ingrid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been fascinated by the world of high finance-probably because it has always been enshrouded with mystery. I've never fully understood this boys' club, and while a lot of this went way over my head, Kelly's account of the last 72 hours of Bear Stearns was equally thrilling and informative. I knew the ending, but I read enraptured by the fast paced environment, and think I better understand the bailouts, the declines, the crises.
Carl Phillips
Kate Kelly is a writer for The Wall Street Journal. The book grew from a three part series Kelly did for The Wall Street Journal. She details the final, frenzied last three days of Bear Stearns in March 2008. Bear Stearns was the 5th largest investment bank in the country and management was arrogant and greedy. They paid themselves excessive salaries and at times "didn't play nice." I wanted to better understand why the financial crisis happened and this book gave me a better understanding of th ...more
Jul 15, 2009 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want to learn how a cash crunch in 2008 destroyed Bear Stearns, this book will be the text book on the history of it. The author was a wall street journal reporter that documented all of the events of the final 72 hours of Bear Sterns as they were forced into bankruptcy due to a cash crunch as fearful investors pulled cash out of the bank and forced the fire sale to JP Morgan. Great read if you're a finance WONK like me. The book was especially interesting since it got into the personalit ...more
Jul 07, 2011 Nate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do not have any background in finance or investing. However, the author has compiled a very accessible walk-through of the events that lead to the collapse of Bear Sterns. This is no dry time line of economic phenomena. Kate Kelly has taken great pains to show the human side of the people involved (from interrupted birthday celebrations to pot-smoking bridge players). The end of this investment bank is shown to be story of people and personalities and not just evil greedy bankers.
Nov 09, 2010 Gil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book, but it is depressing. I think I will enjoy this book more in five years when the recession is over. If I were making beaucoup bucks again like I was in 2008, I probably would have rated this book higher.

I felt like this book was written for the employees of Bear Stearns. Someday someone's ruined career can be explained to their grandchildren by giving them this book.
Jun 24, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Believe it or not, this was a page-turner; I could hardly put it down, reading one night until 1:30 a.m. Dealing with the kind of money Bear Stearns was dealing with, it's hard for me to comprehend that on the Monday before the weekend detailed in the book, the top management thought they were OK. Beyond belief.
Kristie Helms
Fascinating account of what happened during Bear's final hours. Left a little wanting for a larger context if only because the rest of the crisis is still playing out. I think we're all still looking for a "why" and this book isn't the one to deliver on that question. Still. A quick, good read.
Jun 09, 2009 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gives a great perspective into how the financial industry operates and eventually fell. Its a good look into the inter-connectedness of the system and this book and makes it easy to understand for anyone without any previous knowledge of the financial markets.
Sep 07, 2009 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to understand how a Wall Street giant can trip on its own toes
This corporate giant meltdown story, I understand even though I have zero clue as to what exactly Bear Stearns does. I suppose it helped that I imagined Alan Schwartz looked like Bart Bass. I googled the guy. He doesn't. At all. But great book, just the same.
Jun 27, 2009 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A deep-dive into the last 3 days of Bear Stearns! Pretty freaking wild...if you're into that sort of thing. I think House of Cards might have been better (I didn't read it) because it isn't concentrated on just the final 3 days...
Jan 05, 2010 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This did a great job explaining a major event at the beginning of the financial crisis. The author didn't bog you down with all the technical financial jargon. You felt like a fly on the wall in the Bear Stearns offices.
A quick read that tells the story of how Bear Stearns failed and was sold over a 72 hour period. What is most interesting is how multi-billion dollar decisions are made by individuals under pressure.
Feb 05, 2011 Jack rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
good for a quick history of its downfall but the book does not give much history behind Bear's problems and how it got to the last 72 hours. HOUSE OF CARDS by W. Cohan is much better
This book tells the final 72 hours before the fall of Bear Sterns. I thought it was pretty fascinating, even if I couldn't understand all that was going on.
Christopher Jefferson
Great read that piqued my interest in finance and more specifically the Great Recession years. I love how things work and the situations that occur afterwards.
Chad Schollaert
Well written and gives great insite to the fall of Bear Stearns. Kelly does a masterful job with the characters and stays pretty objective.
Mar 19, 2012 Lydia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really made you feel for the traders who had everything one day and nothing the next. Easy read to understand something so complex.
Zheng Wei
Gives a detailed, almost-hourly account into the last three days before Bear Stearns bankruptcy. However, it does not get into anything deeper.
Dennis Willingham
Concice telling of the events of BearStearns last weekend. Amazing they were put together a deal on such a short timeframe.
Tom Armstrong
Apr 14, 2011 Tom Armstrong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gripping account of the last 72 hours of Bear Stearns. The scope of the coverage was great and the writing was superb.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Kelly, Kate, 1975- (from Library of Congress)
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