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All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis
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All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  3,280 ratings  ·  335 reviews

According to the United States National Bureau of Economic Research, the global recession began in December 2007; but although it has been nearly three years since the meltdown's onset, experts are still divvying up the blame. Who was at fault: Wall Street, Main Street, or Pennsylvania Avenue? Was it cynical derivative dealers, foolish homebuyers or negligent regulators? B

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Published November 16th 2010 by Penguin Group USA, Inc (first published 2010)
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Jean
Along with Michael Lewis' "The Big Short" this is a must-read if you want to understand the recent financial crisis. The authors also did "The Smartest Guys in the Room" about the Enron scandal, and I found that book both enlightening and interesting. The story paints a picture of a true financial bubble. Anyway, maybe I finally understand CDOs and derivatives. Maybe.
It's a chilling story, and I found myself horrified many times. The worst was reading about synthetic CDO's, which were like zomb...more
Trudi

Shakespeare wrote: Hell is empty, and all the Devils are here. I'm going to zombify this sentiment just a tad by saying what I know to be true: There is no more room in Hell, and the Devils now walk the earth. Oh yes...they do. Is there any doubt? Little ones and big ones, all spread out like an infection. And if there's a cure to wiping them off the face of the planet and sending them back to Hell it's yet to be implemented because apparently it takes balls and brains and a pretty reliable mora...more
David Thomas
In their book, All the Devils are Here, Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera did a remarkable job of researching and laying out, in historical context, the incentives that led to the 2008 financial crisis. Unfortunately, the bulk of the book is focused so much on the reactions of the incentivized “devils” that it overshadows the underlying stream of distorted incentives that flowed from a spate of well-intentioned financial rules and regulations. In this book, the devils really are in the details. Publ...more
Mal Warwick
Once upon a time, not so long ago, really -- it was 1999 -- there was a group of three exceedingly smart men whom Time Magazine called The Committee to Save the World. In fact, these three men -- Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, and Robert Rubin -- seemed to think they were the smartest people in the whole wide world. Together, they had put in place the economic policies of the Clinton Administration, and, boy, did things look rosy then, back in 1999, with a big budget surplus and the Dow Jones av...more
Steve
This is a good survey of the 2007-08 financial meltdown and the events leading up to it. The world of mortgage finance is arcane and to begin with, and it was made even more arcane by Wall Street’s groovy new inventions. Joe Nocera (NY Times business reporter) and Bethany McClean (The Smartest Guys in the Room, Enron..) take on the task of transforming that world into a compelling story and succeed, mostly.

My only criticism of the book would be that it never takes a step back from the events to...more
Roderick Hart
The book is subtitled ‘Unmasking The Men Who Bankrupted The World’, which is exactly what the authors try to do. I have seen it referred to as if it were a crime novel with a direct writing style and a gripping narrative. If criminal incompetence is a crime, then much of the activity described is criminal, and the prose is as direct as it can be given the subject. But as a read it is more engrossing than gripping, though we can’t blame the authors for failing to achieve the impossible. They are...more
Tiffoknee the 3rd Conner
I must profess at the outset that I have a bit of a nerdy girl-crush on Bethany McClean. She is everything I wish I could be: Intelligent, articulate, well-versed on topics of financial and economic complexity, and a respected journalist. She's also very beautiful, but I am what I am so far as that is concerned.

I continue to read as much as I can about the Crisis of 2008. Maybe it's because I am unemployed and grow more and more bitter with each day? Maybe I'd like to be able to rail against Wa...more
Mary


The latest in books regarding the financial crisis. Not much new to be added . It is still amazing to me that no CEO 's, traders, no one from the rating agencies or the regulators are in jail. It is pretty apparent that everyone know what was going on, that fraud was occurring and no one did a thing, Somehow the people losing houses Were the only losers . Goldman Sachs betted against their own clients - and won (or lost less than they should ). The ratings agencies perpetuated fraud, loan origi...more
Lisa Cindrich
Well. Just the fact that I was at all able to understand what was going on as the authors described structured investment vehicles and synthetic CDOs and credit default swaps and piggyback mortgages demonstrates the admirable clarity of their writing. And somehow, as they traced 30 years of gathering disaster in the financial markets (with particular emphasis on the role played by subprime mortgages), they managed to imbue the narrative with tension. Does it sound crazy to say that I actually st...more
Brian
I had high hopes for this book, and it hit nearly all of them. The authors did an excellent job walking through the histories of how many of the players came to be in their powerful yet precarious positions. The Fannie Mae history was very strong, and it was good to read about the history of the ratings agencies, which most books have hardly touched on.

The authors also expose themselves as slightly right-leaning, though politically they do a good job excoriating both parties. The history of laws...more
Felix
I consider this to be the best book on the financial crisis, edging out Nouriel Roubini's _Crisis Economics_ and significantly better than Michael Lewis's excellent _Big Short_. Roubini excels more at explaining more of the economics in systemic big-picture terms and also laying out reform proposals to prevent the next crisis, but overreaches quite a bit with the latter and reads a bit more like a textbook due to a lack of characters and narrative. Lewis has plenty of narrative, concentrating on...more
Converse
All the Devils are Here is a compendious but anecdotal history of the real estate bubble and financial crisis of the early 2000s in the United States. Unlike some of the other books on the subject, the authors discuss the mortgage originators, such as Countrywide, as well as the Wall Street firms that repackaged the mortages into various sorts of derivatives, such as Goldman Sachs, Lehmann, Bear Sterns and Merrill Lynch (which was bought by Bank of America). The authors also give a good deal of...more
Ms.pegasus
Sep 10, 2011 Ms.pegasus rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the housing bubble, or corporate management
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: author interviewed on Jon Stewart
The companies involved in the financial crisis: Countrywide, AIG, Merrill Lynch, Ameriquest, Lehman Brothers, and Bear Stearns, didn't simply sprout horns and tails one night The elements personified in the title are instead a list of financial tools, events, and attitudes that didn't just coalesce but rather evolved in almost predictable though unintended ways. Their growth was part of a monstrous symbiosis.

Readers with a non-finance background should not be dismayed by the parade of ever more...more
Ellen
I've read Michael Lewis' "The Big Short", Broke, U.S.A. by Gary Rivlin, "How the West was Lost" by Dambisa Moyo and now "All The Devils Are Here" by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera. This book was dense: I had to read it in small pieces, and did a lot of back-referencing. The set-up was long and dry. I skipped from Chapter 5 to Chapter 17, and back-tracked to the stuff in-between to make the story move more quickly.

Obsessed with trying to understand the financial meltdown, I keep reading these boo...more
Jim
An exhaustive recreation of the perfect storm leading to the sub-prime meltdown. It is fascinating and while most of the stories come from the people involved and/or other books written on the subject (an endless supply) some of the work relies on information "from someone who was there" or an unnamed "executive familiar" with one meeting or another - a few too many of those references for me but it is a nitpick. If nothing else, reading the book confirmed a few opinions I have formed over time:...more
Matt Lech
I've read a number of books on the financial crises and, for a layperson, think I have a pretty good grasp of what exactly happened. However, it never really *clicked* until I read this one. I had the vocabulary but it still seemed abstract. The Big Short was easy to understand but too anecdotal. To Big To Fail was an amazing play-by-play of the actual crisis but pretty scant on the underlying causes. 13 Bankers was somehow forgettable (though in fairness, I read it start to finish on a plane to...more
Ezra
As a database administrator, we think in terms of maximum stability and how to predict failure so we can neutralize it. The cool and sexy are distant concerns. So I guess I lack much sympathy for the traders looking to maximize profits and neutralizing the risk desks.

If a model looks great, then you missed something important. Something that will bring it all crashing down.

Also, this book made me mull on this quote:
"All these voices on the outside were saying, 'You are not relevant,'" Mudd late
...more
JC
This is by far the most comprehensive look at the financial crisis that I've read to date. The underpinnings of the 2007 crisis started as far as 30 years before the actual crisis hit as companies and people began to think of clever ways to remove the risk that they were taking on. Who is to blame for all of this? That is left for the reader to decide as this book just lays out fact after fact of who did what and how they contributed to the crisis.

Another great thing about this book is that you...more
Michael
A clear, yet wonky, overview of the key events leading to the financial crash. My moral from the book is: 1. a complete lack of desire to regulate, nor the competence to do so; 2. an overestimation of the intelligence of everyone involved in finance. I guess #2 is important, because if free markets are going to be stable, everyone needs to not be an idiot. A few key idiots, or groups of idiots, sprinkled around finance will be able to destabilize everything. Even though firms like Goldman, Pauls...more
Michaela
Brilliant. Should be mandatory reading. It is a fine line indeed between delusion, venality, and outright corruption. Props to two women, Brooksley Born and Sheila Bair, for sounding the warning bell despite being ignored and accused of being strident. Explains how innovation (collateralized debt obligation), usury (subprime mortgage market), immorality, arrogance, greed, leverage (no skin in the game) and black swans (low probability/high impact events) when mixed together bite you in the ass a...more
Bruce
Bethany McLean, author of the behind the scenes story of Enron entitled "The Smartest Guys in the Room" returns and teams up with NYT's Joe Nocera. Together they give perhaps the most comprehensive and panoramic look into the causes of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. No better title could be found than this famous quote from Shakespeare's "The Tempest".

The authors' objectivity is evidenced by the fact that unlike other writers who have penned purely political op-Ed's to confirm their own phi...more
Caitlin
Good book to read to understand the market competition between government sponsored entities such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the private sector. Helps explain the interconnectedness between GSEs, mortgage originators, investors and lenders. This book also shows how ratings agencies like Moody's, in a drive for greater market share and greater revenue, seemingly jeopardized the integrity of their ratings. This was probably exacerbating by the fact that those involved in creating, selling a...more
Melissa
Is this book perfect? I am sure people smarter than me could point out problems but that wouldn't change the fact that it is a must read. It gives the scope, the magnitude and perspective of greed and willful ignorance that led to the crisis. It is truly shocking, just beyond even my tolerance for stupidity. I watched an interview with the authors and you could tell they were mad. They were upset by what they had found and I understand why now.
Elaine Nelson
Forgot to review right after I read it -- so I lost all my bookmarks when it automagically checked itself in. Damn ebooks. :( In any case, definitely recommended. Fascinating look at the players in the financial crisis, and the long slow way that it unfolded WAY before 2008. Works well in concert with 13 Bankers. (If by well, you mean: may make you despair for the future.)
Cathy Zheng
I read this book for the book club in my management class. It was pretty informational given that I didn't know much about the sub-prime industry. I really liked how the authors introduced iconic people's lives. However, after we were half way through the book, everyone in my group got bored reading it. One of the reasons could be that it wasn't a voluntary read at the first place, but we think the chapters are also too similar to each other. Every chapter talks about ethic issues of one or two...more
Maggie
A very thorough investigation of the role of subprime mortgages and mortgage backed securities in the financial crisis. From time to time I found the writing either too trite or too technical, but feel as though overall it was extremely informative.
Ellenw
Great book, solid read on the causes and mechanisms of the subprime mortgage/credit crunch of 2008. It's unfair to compare this book to "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" partly because there isn't as much time to get to know the players as personally as one could in Enron. There's just so much ground to cover, so many people to mention, so many moving parts to not just discuss but explain that "All the Devil's" doesn't quite manage to be about as much as Enron- but for something to give som...more
James
I liked the book for its comprehensive set up of why the financial crises happened. Could have been written a little more engaginglz for example I thought sorkins too big to fail was much more entertaining,
Phil Griffin
I found this a difficult read, but the details are well researched. The more I read, the angrier I became. The greed that led to the 2007/8 meltdown is beyond my comprehension.
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we're all little pawns 1 16 Dec 27, 2010 08:19PM  
  • 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown
  • Fool's Gold
  • Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon
  • The End of Wall Street
  • Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World
  • Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy
  • Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy
  • The Myth of the Rational Market: Wall Street's Impossible Quest for Predictable Markets
  • This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly
  • Crash of the Titans: Greed, Hubris, the Fall of Merrill Lynch, and the Near-Collapse of Bank of America
  • Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
  • Exorbitant Privilege: The Rise and Fall of the Dollar and the Future of the International Monetary System
  • On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System
  • Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance
  • Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America
  • The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It
  • Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future
  • I.O.U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay
Bethany McLean is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair magazine, and known for her work on the Enron scandal. She had been an editor at large and columnist for Fortune magazine.
McLean grew up in Hibbing and received her BA in English and mathematics at Williams College in 1992. After college and prior to joining Fortune, she worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs.
More about Bethany McLean...
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron

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