Financial Shock: The Bad Decisions that Got Us Here

Financial Shock A 360º Look at the Subprime Mortgage Implosion, and How to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis is an amazing read.

Amazing for 2 reasons:

  1. It was published in early 2008 and
  2. is covering – in-depth – the issues the news media is just now picking up on – e.g. the Fed nearly bailed out Bears Stearns a year ago – in 2007 – when 2 of their big hedge funds collapsed.1

Our financial institutions, like our economy, are complex and global in reach. Zandi does a fantastic job of navigating that complexity and arguing that it wasn’t a single decision, or policy change, that caused the collapse, it was many Really Bad Decisions.

I’ve been dog-ear-ing the pages containing jaw-droppingly bad decisions, easily a third of page have their corners down.

Here’s just 3:

  • CDOs
  • ARM
  • Negative Amortized Mortgages

1. Stearn’s said, ‘No thanks. We’ll handle it internally.’ Add this to the Bad Ideas List.