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Origins of the Crash: The Great Bubble and Its Undoing

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  193 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
With his singular gift for turning complex financial events into eminently readable stories, Roger Lowenstein lays bare the labyrinthine events of the manic and tumultuous 1990s. In an enthralling narrative, he ties together all of the characters of the dot-com bubble and offers a unique portrait of the culture of the era. Just as John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Great Crash w ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Penguin Books (first published January 26th 2004)
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Ilya
Dec 28, 2010 Ilya rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
Through the 1970s, the American stock market was slowly declining; when in 1976 Presidential candidate Reagan suggested that social security funds be invested in it, he was derided as being crazy; in 1979 Business Week magazine announced "The Death of Equities". Everything changed in 1980, when Congress added obscure paragraph k to section 401 of the Internal Revenue Code. A benefits consultant from Pennsylvania realized that this paragraph allows companies to switch from a guaranteed-monthly-su ...more
Ice
May 12, 2010 Ice rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Well-known financial journalist Lowenstein (Buffett; When Genius Failed) sets out to explain the stock market crash of 2000 and the ensuing corporate scandals. The ingredients are familiar: executive overcompensation and stock options, irrationally exuberant shareholders, friendly auditors, short-term focus by financial professionals and overemphasis on shareholder value.

The author puts his unique stamp on these factors by juxtaposing them so brilliantly that the 20-year history that inflated th
...more
Steven
Mar 25, 2007 Steven rated it really liked it
pp 103 goes over Amazon’s earnings… or to be specific the absolute lack thereof.
pp 117 he discusses a “virtuous circle” the semantic opposite of a vicious cycle.
pp 160 an awesome quote from an executive at Global Crossing who was cognizant of his firm’s duplicity: “The stock market can be fooled, but not forever.” – Leo Hindery Jr.
pp 167 in a chapter all about Enron, nothing is more damning than this: From 1996 to 2000, Enron’s net income rose from $1.08 per share to $1.12. Staggering.

A couple y
...more
David Wen
Mar 14, 2016 David Wen rated it really liked it
The title wasn't very clear which "crash" it referred to but it was a blessing in disguise. It succinctly summarized all the events throughout the 90's and early 00's. It's a great book for someone who's looking into what happened in that era but to get detailed information you definitely have to look elsewhere.
Peter
Sep 13, 2011 Peter rated it really liked it
The run-up to the dot-com crash is laid out briefly and sickeningly. The crash was caused by many confluent trends under the over-arching pursuit of 'shareholder value'. At least that's Loewenstein's thesis and he argues it well. Enron, Lucent, GE, Tyco aong others variously cooked the books, created fraudulent off-balance-sheet Special Purpose Vehicles, colluded with consulting accountants etc. In the process, many insiders reaped huge rewards while the small investors lost all (Enron) or almos ...more
Pyoungsung Choi
Dec 15, 2014 Pyoungsung Choi rated it really liked it
80년대부터 2000년대 초반에 닷컴 버블이 붕괴될 때까지 거품이 형성되던 시기의 역사적 정황을 자세히 그려놓았다. 금융시장 붕괴가 있기 전에 나타나는 장기 호황, 기업과 경영인에 대한 무한 신뢰, 그리고 그로 인해 분식이 재무적으로 혹은 경영 전반에 나타나고 결국 계속 될 수 없는 거짓말이 밝혀지면서 붕괴가 오는 것을 자세히 기술하고 있다. CEO들의 지나친 보상, 주주가치 증대라는 근거없는 믿음과 풍조를 비판하고 있다. GE, 엔론 등의 기업들의 실적 조작에 대해서 자세히 알 수 있었다.
Saku
Jun 18, 2008 Saku rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
99年から2000年にかけての絶頂期、あの時は熱病に冒されていたかのような空気が充満していました。“New Economy”という言葉に象徴される、永遠に続くと信じられていた経済成長、そういった何か宗教めいたものに国民がとりつかれていたような雰囲気がありました。かく言う自分自身も New Economy を謳歌するアメリカの強さに尊敬の念を抱いていました。しかしその舞台裏で起きていたことは、本当に醜く悲惨な人間の行為だったということが、この一冊を通じて描かれています。

アメリカ国民にとっては、ここにある一連の事件史はひとつの大きなトラウマであり、教訓となっていると思います。必ずしもそれが大きな振り子となって完全な軌道修正を果たしているわけでもなく、まだまだその途上であることは確かです。しかしながら、これだけ焼け野原状態になった上でなお、自浄作用を働かせながら徐々に正しい方向にもっていこうと努力し、そして短期間である程度修復したことを鑑みても、なおかつ日本の失われた十数年と比較してみても、アメリカのポテンシャルの高さを感じます。
...more
Brian
Dec 26, 2012 Brian rated it liked it
The author presents the various frauds in the run up to the dot com bubble in an easy to understand manner that will appeal to a non-business reader. His chapter on Enron is particularly well done. I recommend this book and his other works such as "When Genius Failed." They are fast, interesting, and thoroughly informative reads.
Michael
Apr 06, 2007 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: business
I found his research to be amazing. He went into detail on business examples used in the book.

It's amazing at what goes on in corporate America and this book certainly makes you want to never invest another dollar in the market but rather invest it in your own business--at least you can trust yourself.
Christie
Sep 06, 2008 Christie rated it liked it
The problem with reading books about what's gone wrong with the economy is that by the time the book's been published and gotten its way into my grubby hands even more has happened and much of the book may no longer be relevant.
Brian Sobolak
Aug 17, 2009 Brian Sobolak rated it liked it
Enjoyed this book a lot, especially since it was interesting to compare against the current downtown vs the last one. I was particularly caught by the "Peter Principle" of Finance quote he had.
Paul
Dec 11, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Financial history. Good read. Interesting insight into the business trickery that lead to Wall Street problems of the.late 90s.
Ed
Jul 21, 2008 Ed rated it it was ok
this is a long, informative newspaper article about how Wall Street abetted the tech boom.
Booker
Feb 07, 2008 Booker rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
focuses on wall street and what led to the internet stock bubble...
Aharon
Jan 11, 2011 Aharon rated it it was ok
Annoyingly tendentious.
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Roger Lowenstein has reported for the Wall Street Journal for more than a decade and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and The New Republic. He is the author of Buffet: the Making of an American Capitalist

-HarperCollins
More about Roger Lowenstein...

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“A year earlier, no company had been accorded more faith than Enron; by late November, none was trusted less. And so, a gasping gurgle, a desperate SOS: Enron, the emblem of free markets, the champion of deregulation, reached into its depleted treasury and forked over $100,000 to each of the major political parties' campaign war chests. Then, it shuttered its online trading unit - its erstwhile gem. On November 28, Standard & Poor's downgraded Enron to junk-bond level - which triggered provisions in Enron's debt requiring it to immediately repay billions of its obligations. This it could not do. Its stock was seventy cents and falling, and, now, no gatekeepers and no credit remained. Accordingly, in the first week of December, Enron, the archetype of shareholder value, availed itself of the time-honored protection for those who have lost their credit: bankruptcy.” 4 likes
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