Brian's Reviews > A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers

A Colossal Failure of Common Sense by Lawrence G. McDonald
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Apr 03, 2011

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A fascinating book when understood from the perspective of the author, an upper-level manager at Lehman Brothers. McDonald opens the book by blaming HUD under Clinton for forcing banks to lend to middle- and lower-income families to increase home ownership. His tirades wrap up the book by blaming the Fed and Treasury under Bush for not taking additional actions to save Lehman Brothers. However, the other 80% of the book sings the praises of investment bankers, the brilliance endowed within, the ignorance of federal regulations, and his personal quixotic quest to save the firm.
Is McDonald a smart man? Seems to be so. But his constant self-congratulatory comments, his showering of praise upon the very people (except a few he seems to personally dislike) who caused the financial meltdown, and emphasis on the suffering of his wealthy brethren who were forced to sell yachts and vacation homes, make this smug book a great read for those of us on Main Street - but for the opposite reason he intended. After hearing about the absurd salaries, ridiculous lifestyles, and arrogant personalities, it drives the conclusion that letting Lehman Brothers fail was actually a pretty fair result, notwithstanding the secondary effects on the economy.
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