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Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin

I had mixed expectations from Too Big to Fail. Considering we are still very much in the thrall of one of the worst financial crises of the past century, it is unfair to expect a single book to provide a complete perspective. Andrew Ross Sorkin does not attempt to explain how or why we got into the events of 2008. The book's objective is very clear - to chronicle what was happening in the financial markets during 2008. At this task, the book succeeds. It has an impressive cast, from Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to the CEO of Lehman Brothers, Dick Fuld.

About three quarters of the book is about the Lehman collapse. The author seems so focused on the investment bank that you get almost no visibility into what was happening at say Citibank or AIG, though AIG does get some attention. The book refuses to be technical with Sorkin sticking to a journalistic tone. That I think is this account's greatest shortcoming - if you hope to understand what specific problems were being faced by Lehman Brothers before its failure, the reasons it found itself under attack by short sellers, you won't find the explanation here.

Ultimately, this book is a good record of what happened but I think my reading list needs a lot more books to understand the why. I'd give the book a half hearted recommendation

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