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After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,677 ratings  ·  183 reviews
With bracing clarity, Blinder shows us how the U.S. financial system, which had grown far too complex for its own good-and too unregulated for the public good-experienced a perfect storm beginning in 2007. When America's financial structure crumbled, the damage proved to be not only deep, but wide. It took the crisis for the world to discover, to its horror, just how truly ...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published January 24th 2013 by Penguin Press
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 ·  1,677 ratings  ·  183 reviews

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Athan Tolis
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Bought the book, unpacked it and noticed the endorsement from Bill Clinton on the cover. "Oh no," I thought to myself. "A Clinton whitewash." Entertained thoughts of putting it up for sale, but in the end I decided what on earth, Blinder's worth reading.

And so it proved.

I've read the lot. From Kaletsky to Krugman, from Stiglitz to Shiller, and what they all have in common is an angle; an axe to grind. Blinder, you feel, has written this book as a mere starting point. He just wants to get the
Maru Kun
May 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Found an excellent article on ten questions that any explanation for the global financial crisis must address. The beauty of these questions is that they help weed out any spurious, politically motivated narrative for why the crisis occurred.

Article here: Bad Explanations for the Financial Crisis Won't Die
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A solid first draft of the history of the financial crisis and its consequences. We all lived through it, but every time I read another book on the financial crisis, it strikes me again: What a tale -- a Shakespearean tragedy.

Imagine you went back in time and told someone a decade ago that the whole house of cards would collapse, that the world would be confronted with a second Great Depression, that the Fed would take trillions on its balance sheet alongside a $700 billion congressional measure
Tim Hahn
Feb 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Best quote so far, from page 236:

He [John Maynard Keynes] would have been shocked to hear that anyone in 2011 was still asking the question. The earth is not flat. The moon is not made of cheese. Evolution really happened. And you don't give your economy a short-run boost by cutting public spending.
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An excellent reference on the first recession of the 21st Century. Unlike many books, it doesn't use a single incident like the banking industry bailout or the Lehman Brothers failure -- and points out that housing was already in trouble before the financial bubble burst in 2007-2009. Instead it takes an economist's view of the whole economy to assess where things were out of balance.

Blinder blames regulatory failures, noting the positions of Alan Greenspan and the Bush-era administrators at the
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
After the Music Stopped: an excellent book. A readable description of the financial crisis, its causes, its repercussions, a rating of the reactions to it, and some suggestions for the future. I thought the book made a complicated subject understandable, though whether I will be able to repeat what I learned in a weeks time is another story. It was remarkably timely, including post-election November 2012 insights. It describes a problem created by complicated and opaque financial products, ...more
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the very best books on the financial crisis that has been written to date. It goes over the territory covered by other accounts, while bringing the crisis and recovery up to date. What makes it especially good are three strengths. First, the author is a master at explaining the issues and research in terms that are easy to understand yet sophisticated enough to convey the richness of the problem situation. He is a top flight economist who can communicate to non-economists. Second, ...more
Eric Diekhans
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Alan Binder's book has something to make everyone angry, from the far left to the far right. The bottom line is, despite it's unfairness, the government's reaction to the financial meltdown saved many of us from the breadline. After the Music Stopped makes sense of what I experienced through soundbites and daily news stories. Sometimes I got a little lost in the intricacies of Wall Street, but overall it gave me a clear picture of what went wrong, and what we can do to keep it from happening ...more
Francisco Segundo
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
It gives a great and deep-without-being-boring account of the events and behaviors that led to the Subprime crisis, explaining the solutions provided by the government during 08-09 and the aftermatch of it.

Despite being sometimes too keynesian and biased to interventionism it's really rich in important details and crucial data which are essential to understand thoroughly the crisis.
T. Sathish
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely informative on the post sub prime crisis measures that leaders took to bring the Financial world under control
Obi N
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book did a fantastic job covering the financial crisis while explaining the information in a way that was humorous and easy to digest.
If you want to understand the 2008 financial crises and aftermath of it, this book is the one indeed.
Curtis Seven
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
This is as good of a work as any to date in putting many of the events that led to The Great Recession into common parlance as any I've seen thus far. Blinder sometimes over simplifies in fact but not excessively and I recommend if you check it out from the library or what have you that you read at least the first half to get the events, actions, and rational of what transpired. The second half of the book essentially changes gears I think adding a thoughtful analysis of what has been done, has ...more
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a good, even-handed synopsis of the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and the political response that occurred in the years that followed. I am deeply interested in this topic and followed the events of the crisis very closely as they happened. After the Music Stopped doesn't bring a whole lot of new insight into the crisis, but it covers a lot of ground in a relatively clear and factually accurate manner.

Blinder is an establishment type of guy. He served on the Federal Open Market Committee
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well as they all do it says: if you are to read just one book on the financial crisis, this is it. Except it isn't. I think Gillian Tett's Fools Gold is the one. But hey given it probably messed up your life maybe you should read more than one on this topic. Anyone the author is the consumate insider and writes well about how it all came to be and what it felt like trying to stop the world falling over the cliff back to the 1930s. The unlikely heroes of this book are George W Bush (though he ...more
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've always appreciated writing that successfully explains complex issues in digestible ways without dumbing things down. Not only does this book do that, but with its blend of wry humor and outright snark the author kept it fun and surprisingly riveting along the way. Things can get overly wonky and dry real fast when discussing monetary policy, but somehow this book managed to be a page-turner (by and large). Although I don't think I came away with a perfect understanding of the issues after a ...more
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
A deeply comprehensive and yet very readable account of the events leading to, during, and following the global financial crisis of 2007-2009. During my daily work, I encounter all of these jargon-y phrases and bits of the narrative, but it was helpful to have all of the information brought together into a comprehensive story. An important book for us "normal" Americans (e.g., not policymakers or portfolio managers), who are still reeling from the effects of the crisis.
Apr 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nothing new or revelatory in here if you've followed the crisis commentary from the beginning, but if not, this is a very comprehensive and somewhat unbiased story. Sometimes it gets too deep in the weeds and sometimes not enough, but it's really hard to write a book about the crisis and its aftermath. Believe me, I know...
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A necessary and clear description of what actually happened during the financial crisis that led to the Great Recession, and what the Obama administration did to avert an even greater disaster. With a lot of misinformation out there, this book is sorely needed.
Jeremy Stock
May 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I was less impressed with this work overall. It is a detailed account, no doubt, but I just felt the writing to be a bit dry and uninspiring.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I need time to hammer out a detailed review, but this was a brilliant read
The is the most accessible narrative I have yet to read about the 2008 crisis and it's after effects. Blinder has a nice rhythm of slow explanation with lots of repetition, side boxes with quick lessons on the fundamentals, humor, and a clear history of the timeline and players. He's best in the first 2/3 with his dissection of the mortgage and bond bubbles, the lack of regulation and greed that set the stage, and a tick tock of the crisis and actions taken to stem the flow. The end wanders ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A stellar analysis/explainer of the 2008 financial crisis and the surrounding chaos; its clear, concise, funny, and educational. The complex unraveling of the US financial system, and its connections with the housing bubble and the spread of derivatives trading, was explained very well; and there was also a lot of interesting commentary on lesser-known aspects of the crisis, such as the bonds bubble, and the dynamics during the acute phase of the crisis, such as the freezing up of the market in ...more
Russell Chee
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed.

This book, above all else, is peripherally blind. It spends chapter after chapter narrating the happenings in America, America, America, talking about the rise of subprime securitisation in America, interest rate decisions made by the Federal Reserve in America, and solutions to policy adopted in America. It asserts that the European crisis is entirely an outgrowth of America's problems, and that the solutions must come from America as well; that without American action, there
Charlie Daniel
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blinder writes conversationally; the book reads smoothly. He does a pretty good job of explaining the crisis itself, but his description of the policy solutions to the crisis is where this book shines. He's not afraid to express his views (I would say to a bit of a fault). He seems to blame partisanship on conservatives, which regardless of whether that assertion is true, doesn't add to his central argument.

A good way to read this book would be to read directly after The Big Short - Michael
Millie W
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A stunningly comprehensive yet accessible book on the financial crisis. Blinded excels at conveying the tremendous complexities that contributed to Great Recession without making you feel like you need a PhD in economics to understand it. That being said, there were parts of the book where I did get bogged down by the vast array of acronyms and financial instruments being discussed and I could have done with a recap before launching into the next chapter. This is definitely a book that demands ...more
Lace Lofranco
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great read to understand not just the events that led to the 2008 financial crisis and response thereafter but also the rationale behind them. Alan Blinder explains with great clarity the different levers the US Government, particularly the Fed, pulled in response to one of the greatest financial crisis in modern history averting total financial meltdown but still coming out as one of the villains. If you want to understand monetary and fiscal policy in the face of financial Armageddon, this ...more
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
More entertaining than any nearly 500 page book about a financial crisis has any right to be. An expert guide through the actions taken by the Federal Reserve, Government, Treasury, FDIC, European Central Bank (in one chapter about the Eurozone), and companies on what it was like to try to make it through the 2008-2012 financial crisis. Blinder does an excellent job explaining what was done by the government, why they chose to do that, what he thinks they could have done better, and what ...more
Kathy Nealen
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Difficult to understand explanation for the 2008 financial crisis and the follow up activity and sometimes inactivity that made the situation better or worse. He is even-handed with clear criticism and approval for actions taken by all parties regardless of political affiliation. The book is a little dated given the publishing date of 2013. His highly regarded Dodd Frank has not fared well after the 2016 election. I will try to read his most recent book more promptly.
Blinder describes what led to the financial crisis, how key people in the Bush and Obama administrations and the Fed responded, legislation that resulted and the Europe crisis. Since the book was published in 2013 with an added chapter in 2014, there are no final conclusions on the responses not updates on the status of reform. Blinder describes complicated concepts very clearly. Highly recommend for those who want to refresh their memories or better understand what happened.
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Alan Stuart Blinder is an American economist at Princeton University serving as the Gordon S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics and Public Affairs in the Economics Department, and vice chairman of The Observatory Group. He founded Princetons Griswold Center for Economic Policy Studies in 1990. Since 1978 he has been a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is ...more

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