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The Devil's Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  530 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Das Scheitern von Lehman Brothers und die Entscheidung, die altehrw�rdige Investmentbank untergehen zu lassen, wird Jahrzehnte f�r Diskussionsstoff sorgen. W�hrend die meisten Analysten, Experten und Investoren sich auf ungesicherte Hypothekenkredite, ?faule? Sicherheiten und Abfindungen und Boni f�r die Managementebene fokussierten, konzentrierten sich einige wenige Blick ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published March 18th 2010 by Wiley (first published 2010)
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May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at the rise and fall of Lehman Brothers, an investment bank that went bankrupt as a result of hubris and wild speculation in the real estate market and the people that rose and fell with it. I have read numerous books about the tragic effects of credit default swaps and other speculative financial “instruments” that, while the market continued to go up, made spectacular fortunes for people who came to believe they could do no wrong.

The author had access to the notes and journa
Mal Warwick
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Following Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big to Fail and arriving on bookshelves the same month as Michael Lewis' The Big Short, Vanity Fair writer Vicky Ward faced an uphill slog with the publication of The Devil's Casino. Thousands of readers no doubt assumed the book was one more of the dozens of volumes that purported to offer explanations for the biggest financial collapse in 70 years of world history.

That assumption was wrong. As Ward herself goes to pains to note, The Devil's Casino was an inti
Linda Griffin
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great book that talks about the development and fall of the empire Lehman Brothers. It is felt that the author approach the writing of this book as a true historian and expert in his field. First, the book tells the story of four friends who have turned from good guys into bad guys. Secondly, the author uses many banking terms and shows the system of the bank from inside. The risks and problems of lending to our system, which made me think about the unreliability of our world, are very clearly ...more
Jonathan Shore
Sep 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the best book post-Lehman collapse. Unlike other authors she was able to interview past senior management and paint a more complete / compelling picture of the individuals in management that shaped the company, from the early days, post glucksman to the fall. At the same time the book is well put together and entertaining.
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I really liked this book, Lehman was personal for me, it affected my business dramatically and personally.
Sep 12, 2022 rated it it was amazing
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Sep 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Not bad for a book on investment banking, something that 9/10 people find unspeakably boring.

This looks into the tenure and catastrophic collapse of Lehman Brothers, one of the banks that sent the U.S. and global economy into a spiral in 2008.

I appreciated the insight into the 2008 crisis, beyond the basic, "too many mortgages = bank collapses = U.S. government bailout = general economic chaos."

I learned that this was not the first time that the firm had courted disaster, that, in fact, th
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
It's a bit dry. If the names - people and companies - aren't alive for you now, they probably won't be after this book. But for a detailed book on investment banking, meh, not a surprise.

They say journalism is the first draft of history. Then perhaps journalists writing books, based on interviews and primary sources, is the second draft.

The author paints the culture at Lehman Brothers as critical to its downfall in the GFC. She traces the history of Lehman, in increasing detail as the GFC appr
Rohan Sangodkar
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
A very detailed memoir of how infamous "Lehman brothers" meltdown. Surprisingly it is a very interesting book despite all the complex financial jargon.
Also, readers get a real insight into the life of a successful investment banker. The amount of money they roll in is jaw-dropping. Do read this if you are running any kind of business. Some of the mistakes which the Lehman brothers did while they were riding on the wave are very well documented and we all can take a cent or two away.
Dec 17, 2018 rated it liked it
A solid story about the history of Lehman Brothers and why it ended up failing. Ward is good about painting the personalities of Lehman executives and outlining the fundamental decisions that brought things down. Very readable, so if you have an interest in the major parts leading to the Great Recession or business stories of success and failure in general, this is definitely a good choice.
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Sara Wright
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

As someone who has been exposed to investment banking only by being married to one for 26, I know very little. This book was interesting, enlightening and easy to read .
Richard Sam
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book about the history of the development and collapse of the corporation Lehman's. The author of the book tells in great detail about the greed of the leadership, which led to bankruptcy. Also, important issues are raised in books like the need to have a deposit in a bank, getting rid of loans, playing in a casino with minimal risks, etc. This book has become for me a message from God that I too should be more responsible playing in free casino games no download. The money that ...more
Monzenn Mallari
It's a good companion piece to the other accounts of the Global Financial Crisis. It provides a bit more about Lehman Brothers, though Big Short touched that a bit and Too Big to Fail did that in heaps. Interesting to find out about the wives side of the story, and a bit more detail about the power grabs, though I still think this book is best read as a companion piece. ...more
Jun 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Perhaps, it is my personal experiences with the financial industry that color my perceptions of this book or maybe the tale in it is so familiar now, when we feel it should not be, that I am tired of it and its very real implications. Devil's Casino tells the tale of Lehman Brothers from its early days up through 2007 when the mortgages began to sour. This book is a mix of facts and figures mixed with the personalities and interpersonal structure of the company. I feel like, had I read this a fe ...more
It was sad to see how friendship and striving to create a better business morphed into greed and the need for power. It was sad to see how seemingly good people let go of their moral code and beliefs and turned into people they didn't want to be. I would not be surprised if this path is what led to the housing situation and the total mess our economy is in now. Bad choices, greed, and power. I often wonder how many of these powerful and successful people started their careers as totally differen ...more
Apr 05, 2010 rated it did not like it
Two words, Name Soup! This book was written like the un-cool girl in a school who tries to impress everyone with her knowledge of what is going on with the cool kids. It was a list of names and anecdotes that leaves the reader sighing, "who cares!" The author never develops any plot with the numerous characters she name drops. I would not be surprised if the only people to like this book were insiders to Lehman Brothers. The same way an insider reflects fondly to the anecdotes contained within h ...more
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Nothing new here- People are greedy and stupid. The first bit of the book was a rehash of old stuff. Also, Stefan noted there were a number of factual errors when he read over my shoulder. For instance, Christian Meissner, who happened to be his old boss at Goldman, is AUSTRIAN, not German. If you want a good book about Wall Street, Liar's Poker or Barbarians at the Gate are MUCH better reads.

You can read the related Vanity Fair article and skip the book.
Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
If you have read any business books, you will immediately recognize the creatures who populate this one - shrieking, viciously competitive vulgarians whose sole aim at work is to maximize the pool from which their stupifyingly large commissions will be drawn. Ward is a good writer but her attempt to portray Chris Petit as "flawed but saintly" didn't really persuade me. Interesting but by no means essential reading.
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, history
it was very interesting at the beginning but as u go through the pages u wud realize that there r way too many names and there is no real plot at all. just names names names and random incidents which doesn't give any sense to the plot( if u can guess one). At many places the author has repeated the same point but different words. def. She has ran out of ideas at mid way and stretched the whole book to give at least some pages to print....only Lehman bros people(EX of course) may enjoy... ...more
Long Nguyen
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Read the book for a class project. About as engaging as the topic can be, though this one took a very personal look at the players at Lehman Brothers and beyond as the financial meltdown (and before during the good times) commenced. Though it may seem incredulous, one can walk away feeling sorry for some of the players of this terrible game. When a friend turns out to be something else, it is a pain all too real and universally understood.
May 08, 2010 rated it liked it
The first half, which is essentially a history of modern day Lehman, is pretty interesting. Ward does a nice job of explaining how it was Chris Pettit who actually made Lehman, not Dick Fuld. The second half, which explains Lehman's fall, missed the mark for me and seemed to lack the insightful information I expected. For a crash course on Lehman, it is a good book. ...more
Nov 21, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ward has high ambitions for the book. She wants to cover a long period of time, understand the personalities of the major players, and explain the technical information. She doesn't quite pull it off. I got the sense that her book was guided more by who she was able to interview than any grand narrative. Thus, the book has a bit of a patchwork feel to it. ...more
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't lt how long it took me to read this book dissuade you from picking this one up. It is actually an easy read. I just haven't found much time lately to relax with a book. This is non-fiction but it's written in a fiction style. I enjoyed it because I worked in mortgage banking and banking so I was familiar with the names of many of the "characters". ...more
Linda Schwartz
I read an excerpt of this in Vanity Fair and decided to read the entire book. However, the only really interesting parts -- from my point of view -- were the parts published in the magazine. Save yourself some time and money and dig up the Vanity Fair issue.
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was interesting. The dollar figures are staggering and when you consider the cavalier attitude these people have about money it is kind of scary. Greed really did drive the fall of Wall Street.
Antonio Simoes Pinheiro
A different perspective about the character's and event's that led to lehman's collapse. A more human sided approach, focusing on the people who've run LB than the financial and economic facts. Should be complemented with "too Big to Fail" for a much broader perspective. ...more
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
written in the form of a story...abstracts you from the finacnial nity gritties :) but at the same time well worth a read if you have a financial background...it can be considerd as a prequel for 'Too Big To Fail' ...more
May 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
Poorly written, flat and with tons of useless information. Perhaps harlequin books lost a gold opportunity to add this in their collections. However i managed to finish it as an exercise of patience. What a waste of time!!! At least i lived to tell my experience.
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