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

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  1,475 ratings  ·  162 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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4.12  · 
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 ·  1,475 ratings  ·  162 reviews

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Rebecca McNutt
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This hard-hitting expose will be close to home for most people - after all, no matter how poor or how wealthy we may find ourselves, we're all still affected by the 2008 Financial Crisis in all kinds of little ways. After the Music Stopped is one of the best works on the history of this issue that I've read, and unlike a lot of nonfiction on the subject, this book didn't seem, at least to me, to be biased.
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 fac
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
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
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 week’s 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, exce ...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 aga ...more
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 als ...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.
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.
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 thro ...more
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 Lewi
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
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.
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
We all remember the financial meltdown. The American public and the world received confusing, often times contradictory and, to many of us in the American public, seemingly insane remedies the Federal Reserve had to fix the American financial system. It is easy to remember the notorious bonuses that corporate executives at AIG received when the company was bailed out with tax payer dollars while middle and working class Americans across the country were upside down on their mortages, or worse, i ...more
Matthijs Van keirsbilck
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, economics
A very detailed account of causes of the crisis, and how it was (or sometimes was not) dealt with.
Definitely worth reading, though some parts are quite long and dense unless you're really into the details of economic policy.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A breathless account of the financial crisis. Blinder does an excellent job of breaking down complicated economic and monetary policy concepts. The story was so exciting that each time I put it down, I couldn't wait to get back to it.
Josephato Mwanzia
The financial crisis was truly terrifying and this book explores it in depth and length. Alan Blinder explores in depth the role of the fed and treasury in getting the us economy out of the depth. Kudos to Paulson, Geithner and Bernanke.
Any serious economics student or enthusiast MUST read.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I need time to hammer out a detailed review, but this was a brilliant read
Bob Jones
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Good overview of the financial crisis, from a keynesian perspective.
Timothy DeSilva
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book attempts to explain what went wrong prior to and during the Great Recession. I recommend it to anyone wanting a flyby understanding of what happened.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow ... what happened to all the MBSs, CDOs Swallowed up by the Fed?
Marcus Viitamäki
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Would probably get 5, had I read it 5years ago. Nevertheless a good book about 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 Princeton’s 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
“you don’t get far in political discourse with counterfactual arguments that “it would have been even worse.” 1 likes
“One other important footnote to history: On Sunday, March 16, the same day that JP Morgan Chase announced its purchase of Bear Stearns and the Fed announced its approval of the deal, the Fed’s Board of Governors created the Primary Dealer Credit Facility. The PDCF made it much easier to lend money to securities firms by, for example, broadening the range of eligible collateral. Bear executives maintained that they could have averted bankruptcy without requiring assistance, if they had been given access to the PDCF. Jimmy Cayne told the FCIC that the PDCF came “just about 45 minutes” too late to save his firm. No one will ever know.” 1 likes
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