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

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  6,106 ratings  ·  435 reviews
Unabridged, 12 CDs, 15 hours 33 minutes
Read by Dennis Boutsikaris
The definitive narrative of two decades of folly that led to the financial crisis.

"Hell is empty, and
all the devils are here."
-Shakespeare, The Tempest

As soon as the financial crisis erupted, the finger-pointing began. Should the blame fall on Wall Street, Main Street, or Pennsylvania Avenue? On gree
Audio CD
Published November 16th 2010 by Penguin Audiobooks
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4.01  · 
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 ·  6,106 ratings  ·  435 reviews

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Jan 23, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Mal Warwick
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Feb 28, 2012 rated it really liked it

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
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I re-read this one because I think I’ll be assigning it in my class. I’m worried we forgot about the stupidity, greed, and hubris that led to the crisis (with the gov’t, GSEs and banks all sharing the blame). There are a lot of good financial crisis books out there. I like this one better than most because it focuses on mortgage backed securities and has more about Fannie and Freddie than others. I also love 13 bankers which I assign. So I guess I’m saying everyone should read this book again—es ...more
Sep 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Apr 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
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
Bob Mayer
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I pulled this off the bookshelf to go through again because it seems that we're heading for another one. The 2008 one was the mortgage bundling. What is happening now is car loans are lapsing at an extremely high rate. And many of the rules put in place after 2008 are being tossed out by this administration. The fact former lobbyists are now running agencies that are supposed to police the very industries they lobbied for is not a good sign.
It appears we do not learn from history.
Tiffany Conner
Nov 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 12, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Roderick Hart
Oct 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
This is a pretty detailed history of how the 2008 Financial Crisis occurred, recommended by a friend (thanks Brandon!). If you want something a bit simpler and more gripping, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine is simplified and boiled down to the stories of a few people who made money betting the meltdown would happen. That one's good too, but this one has the tracking down of developments and choices over 30+ years that led to exactly what happened.

I actually can't think of any signific
Mary Jo
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
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
Ayesha Madan
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly thorough and surprisingly interesting. Makes 'The Big Short' seem like a scratch on the surface, which it in fact is. I read this book because I no longer wanted the inner workings of finance to be an intimidating and unwelcoming topic for me. For the most part this book satisfied that goal, although the way the order of events are recounted were a bit confusing, flipping back and forth in time, and from devil to devil for unstated reasons. Having said this, a few years from now I'll ...more
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, business
It’s a how-to book, but not the best kind. To accomplish what the businessmen (and occasionally mentioned businesswomen) created, you really had to be in the right place and at the right time. The right place was in a mortgage bank or financial firm, and the right time was the decade or so leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. This is the book on the building of that crisis. The focus is the building blocks of derivative contracts based on mortgages, passing off more and more risk in financia ...more
Jay Connor
Dec 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“We fell for our own scam.” This quote from John Breit, the Merrill-Lynch risk manager, captures the core absurdity of the run up to and implosion that was the 2008 financial crisis. Here is a story, so wonderfully recounted in the excellent “All the Devils Are Here,” of our major financial institutions creating a whole range of dubious investment vehicles for their own enrichment. Yet, when these investments, soon labeled “toxic assets,” began to fall like a house of cards, the smart guys were ...more
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought I understood what happened, and I did, but I also had no idea of the personalities, unintended consequences, evil and good actors, including citizens and CEOs who brought on the 2007 economic recession. Excellent read -
This books details the actions of the major organizations that contributed to the housing bubble that burst in 2008. Many have the opinion that the financial institutions are hard to regulate and that crises are hard to identify before they happen. After reading this book it seems disingenuous to believe that. If one looks at all the major economic scandals in the past it always come down to three things. 1. Deregulation 2. lack of oversight or enforcement by a scrupulous entity 3. greed.

This bo
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
Apr 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics, politics
A look at the Global Financial Meltdown of the Year Eight that begins not in the boardrooms or bond trading pits, but with the growth of the subprime mortgage market, a look at the Meltdown that focuses less on CEOs and corporate culture than on how the far less glamourous world of mortgage origination and mortgage bonds works. McLean and her co-author Joe Nocera look first at Fannie and Freddie Mae, and then at the private-sector firms that came to dominate the world of subprime.

"All the Devils
Shravan Venkataraman
For those who have read The Big Short, Greatest Trade Ever, Money & Power, this book is the connecting link to the 2008 subprime crisis. How Freddie Mac and Fanny May played a pivotal role in selling sub-prime mortgage securities, and how the regulators who were supposed to oversee didn't have a strong hold on the risk and the safety issues of the securities being created, how the rating agencies were bribed or attended to - in order to get higher ratings for securities that consisted of pur ...more
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics, nonfiction
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
sherry haynes
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read very detailed, revealing that everyone was to blame for the financial crisis, including the government, big banks and consumers. And the the motivation of all involved was the same, GOOD OLD FASHIONED AMERICAN GREED!!!!!!!

Great read very detailed, revealing that everyone was to blame for the financial crisis, including the government, big banks and consumers. And the the motivation of all involved was the same, GOOD OLD FASHIONED AMERICAN GREED!!!!!!!
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What surprised me in reading this book wasn't the excessive greed of the Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, or the Goldman Sachs of the world, nor the just-as-excessive greed of the customer-facing lenders who came up with all manner of mortgage offerings to convince Americans to buy a home, nor, finally, the gullibility, lack of fiscal responsibility, etc., of the house-buying consumers. It was the fact that the delusion of the financial services leaders (otherwise quite intelligent people) ran so deep th ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can read the synopsis elsewhere. My 2 cents:
1) You need a scorecard to keep track of all the players (assuming you are not a part of this business).
2) You also need a glossary to follow the acronyms (MBS, CDO, ABx, etc). Yes, there are helpful explanations, but, again, I suggest that if you are not part of this business, you risk getting lost in the terms.
3) Greenspan was wrong with his "invisible hand" mantra. And, in retrospect, I am amazed that ANY self-respecting finance practitioner wo
Apr 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Adam Robinson
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book attempts to look into the major financial players (AIG, Fanny Mac and Freddie Mac, Merril Lynch, Goldman Sachs) during the financial crisis to try to answer the question: How did all of this happen? To that end its a much more in depth read than Lewis's The Big Short. But due to the technical nature of all of the financial dealings as well as the much wider scope of the book it's not as enjoyable of a read. But it's still important. This book more than any other shows how hubris and gr ...more
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we're all little pawns 2 20 Apr 09, 2018 07:33PM  

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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.
“People also felt that a great crime had been committed, yet there was not going to be a great punishment.” 2 likes
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