|Financial Shock: A 360o Look at the Subprime Mortgage Implosion, and How to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis
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"The obvious place to start is the financial crisis and the clearest guide to it that I've read is Financial Shock by Mark Zandi...it is an impressively lucid guide to the big issues." --The New York Times "In Financial Shock, Mr. Zandi provides a concise and lucid account of the economic, political and regulatory forces behind this binge." --The Wall Street Journal "Aggressive builders, greedy lenders, optimistic home buyers: Zandi succinctly dissects the mortgage mess from start to (one hopes) finish." --U.S. News and World Report "A more detailed look at the crisis comes from economist Mark Zandi, co-founder of Moody's Economy.com. His "Financial Shock" delves deeply into the history of the mortgage market, the bad loans, the globalization of trashy subprime paper and how homebuilders ran amok. Zandi's analysis is eye-opening...he paints an impressive, more nuanced picture." --Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine "If you wonder how it could be possible for a subprime mortgage loan to bring the global financial system and the U.S. economy to its knees, you should read this book. No one is better qualified to provide this insight and advice than Mark Zandi." --Larry Kudlow, Host, CNBC's Kudlow & Company "Every once in a while a book comes along that's so important, it commands recognition. This is one of them. Zandi provides a rilliant blow-by-blow account of how greed, stupidity, and recklessness brought the first major economic crises of the 21st entury and the most serious since the Great Depression." --Bernard Baumohl,Managing Director, The Economic Outlook Group and best-selling author, The Secrets of Economic Indicators "Throughout the financial crisis Mark Zandi has played two important roles. He has insightfully analyzed its causes and thoughtfully recommended steps to alleviate it. This book continues those tasks and adds a third--providing a comprehensive and comprehensible explanation of the issues that is accessible to the general public and extremely useful to those who specialize in the area." --Barney Frank, Chairman, House Financial Services Committee The subprime crisis created a gigantic financial catastrophe. What happened? How did it happen? How can we prevent similar crises from happening again? Mark Zandi answers all these critical questions--systematically, carefully, and in plain English. Zandi begins with a fast-paced overview and then illuminates the deepest causes, from the psychology of homeownership to Alan Greenspan's missteps. You'll see the home "flippers" at work and the real estate agents who cheered them on. You'll learn how Internet technology and access to global capital transformed the mortgage industry, helping irresponsible lenders drive out good ones. Zandi demystifies the complex financial engineering that enabled lenders to hide deepening risks, shows how global investors eagerly bought in, and explains how flummoxed regulators failed to prevent disaster, despite crucial warning signs. Most important, Zandi offers indispensable advice for investors who must recognize emerging bubbles, policymakers who must improve oversight, and citizens who must survive whatever comes next. *Liar's loans, flippers, predatory lenders, delusional homebuilders How the housing market came unhinged, and the whirlwind came together*Alan Greenspan's trillion-dollar bet Betting on the boom, ignoring the bubble*The subprime market goes global Worldwide investors get a piece of the action--and reap the results*Wall Street's alchemists: conjuring up Frankenstein New financial instruments and their hidden contents*Back to the future: risk management for the 21st century Respecting the "animal spirits" that drive even the most sophisticated markets
- Perfect Timing
I'll be honest, Mark Zandi is not my favorite economist on the financial channels. However, I salute him for his work. The timing of this could not be better, and Mr. Zandi said he is donating the profits of this book to charity.
I didn't find this book partisan; it was easy to read. I'm at a slight advantage because I understand the industry. Most people are financially clueless. We trust government to make our decisions and we get duped by corporations who know how to exploit all of this.
All of us need to understand the timeline of the mortgage mess. Read this book and get informed. There are other potential disasters lurking around the next corner....more info
- An exellent in-depth exploration (for the financial layperson) of the subprime mortgage implosion
Targeted largely at the financial layperson interested in the causes of the worldwide financial crisis brought about largely by the subprime mortgage implosion, Financial Shock is a quick yet surprisingly informative read. Author Mark Zandi co-founded and is the chief economist for Moody's Economy.com, lending him both the credence and the expertise to craft a book that does a good job summarizing the complex causes of the economic meltdown that exploded in 2008.
Believe it or not, even in a book-length explanation, the causes of the subprime (and broader) financial crisis currently gripping the US and the world can only be examined in so much detail. The very breadth and depth of the causative factors of the economic implosion defy simple explanation; though articles in both the financial and popular presses currently attempt to lay the blame at the feet of (partisan) political factors or single causes, Zandi's work points to a broad array of equally-important reasons we're in such financial trouble.
Among them: interest rate cuts by central banks following the tech bubble bust and 9/11; promotion of home ownership by both major political parties (from mid-90's efforts under Clinton to Alan Greenspan's love-affair with ARMs to Bush's "ownership society"); competitive market pressures in mortgage lending, particularly among non-depository institutions who had to sell the loans they originated to stay in business; the creation and spread of complex derivatives and securitization of mortgages; fluctuations in the strength of the US dollar (inviting foreign investment in the US housing sector); deregulation and lack of regulation altogether (particularly in the derivatives markets); home builders and consolidation of the construction industry's biggest players; poor lending standards; unwarranted optimism in continued growth of home values; freezing credit markets as mortgage-backed security values grew more and more difficult to realistically evaluate; and more. Unfortunately, though mentioned in passing, the role the ratings firms played (particularly in rating the mortgage-backed securities perhaps most responsible for the current crisis), is not heavily explored, as Zandi begs off on conflict-of-interest concerns given his indirect employment by one such firm (Moody's).
The causes are examined and explored in ways readily accessible to those without a background in finance and the economy (like myself), explaining complex notions like CDOs and CDSs (synthetic derivatives which, respectively, "bundle" up the financial interests in a pool of mortgages and offer "insurance" for economic failures) in terms we can all understand.
My biggest criticism of the book lies in the many charts and graphs presented; they tend to be poorly-constructed and difficult to read. Many seem to have been intended for color reproduction and were never optimized for black-and-white; for example, bar charts and line graphs show difficult-to-discriminate measures whose key appears to be a series of shades between black and light grey. Others have poorly-chosen bases, such that a measure appearing twice the size of the one next to it actually represents a fairly small difference in measure. However, the text's succinct, clear prose more than makes up for the poor presentation of the ancillary views in the charts and graphs.
My only other criticism is that the book's own subtitle includes "How to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis," the content of which in the book really seems an afterthought--and an unnecessary one, in my opinion, given the causes in their full exploration offer "lessons learned" without need for further comment.
Though our understanding of the full causes and impact of the financial crisis brought about by the subprime mortgage meltdown is yet to be fully realized, Zandi's book will give the layperson a good fundamental understanding of the crisis and its root causes that avoids the "gotcha" nature of single-issue explanations, and should drive the reader to explore more research about this crisis and how to recover from it and avoid it happening again. I highly recommend it to anyone interested....more info
This book is very well written. Zandi writes in an easy to read style that is informative and interesting. I really enjoyed this book. It is simple enough for the laymen, but still extremely interesting and informative for someone with extensive financial and economic knowledge....more info
- Educational & Sometimes Shocking
Billed as "A 360 degree Look at the Subprime Mortgage Implosion, and How to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis", Mark Zandi's "Financial Shock" looks way beyond subprime mortgages, as well it should, to underlying problems of the credit markets, financial engineering of mortgage backed securities and derivatives, home builders, etc. and ultimately to a world-wide debt binge that led to over-leveraging and the collective failure of investors of all stripes to adequately hedge or otherwise protect themselves against the risk of adverse events like the collapse of the housing bubble.
Many readers will know enough to breeze through the chapter on subprime mortgages and those with humdrum titles like "Everyone Should Own a Home" and "Home Builders Run Aground". But this reader found Zandi's explanation of global participation in the US credit markets fascinating. For example did you know that "foreigners" held approximately $7 trillion in U.S. "credit market instruments" and nearly a third of all U.S. mortgages
Also interesting is the chapter on financial engineering, which explains the alphabet soup of residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and structured investment vehicles (SIVs) and their respective roles in offloading the risk of home mortgages from the originating lenders onto the "shadow banking system." In this chapter Zandi cites the following statistic: "By the second quarter of 2007, ... the shadow banking system provided an astounding $6 trillion in credit ..." , almost as much as traditional banks.
Zandi ignores the role of his own employer (Moody's) in providing optimistic credit ratings for mortgage-backed securities by stating in the introduction, "To avoid any appearance of conflict of interest, I have no choice but to leave discussion of that facet of the subprime shock to others."
"Boom, Bubble, Bust and Crash" will be a tough chapter to read if you ignored the early warning signs of a real bubble bursting. Zandi cites July 30, 2007 when two of Bear Stearns' hedge funds collapsed as the start of the crash. If you connected those dots with the ensuing credit crunch that destroyed the stock market in the second half of 2008, you're going to feel pretty smart after reading this and the ensuing chapter, "Credit Crunch." The rest of you (self included) will feel pretty sheepish. Or maybe you'll ask, "Why didn't my financial advisor or broker warn me?"
One quibble is that Zandi uses the Price-to-rent Ratio to track relative home values rather than the more meaningful price-to-median income, a measure of affordability. And by failing to adjust for declining cost of capital (mortgage rates) since the 1980s, Zandi overstates the relative increase in home valuations in the mid 2000s. I expected more from Moody's chief economist.
The "Credit Crunch" chapter explains how the problem was much, much bigger than subprime mortgages. Zandi states, "It is difficult to see how mortgages could have been the catalyst for such a wrenching financial crisis" because "mortgage loan losses were less than 5% of the $11 trillion ... U.S. mortgage loans outstanding" and less than ? % of the "$140 trillion in loans and debt securities ... around the world." Makes Hank Paulson's $750 million rescue package sound kind of small, doesn't it? Zandi goes on to explain how and why the larger credit crunch developed full force in 2008, although it reads a bit more like a textbook than a forensic study.
The next two chapters, "Timid Policymakers Turn Bold" and "Economic Fallout", pretty much complete the "360 degree Look". As with many books, Zandi's policy recommendations in the final chapter ("Back to the Future") are not exactly startling for their perspicacity. In particular, he punts on the issue of financial regulation by endorsing the Treasury Department's "Blueprint for Financial Regulatory Reform" thereby avoiding all-important specifics.
Taken together with Paul Krugman's latest book, "The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008", "Financial Shock" is a good layman's introduction to what just happened. But you will have to look elsewhere for a deep analysis backed up by facts and figures or for answers about what the future holds.
- mainstream financial analysis
Zandi gives a great look at the financial mess we are all caught up in right now, with a very heavy emphasis on the subprime craziness that triggered it all. While going into a certain amount of detail around the financial processes and market corruption involved, he stays well "inside the box" in terms of mainstream financial thought. He comes across as far more honest than the Chicago School's phony-free-market economic hitmen, but he doesn't wander far from the mainstream at all. Also, his solutions to avoid the "Next Financial Crisis" are mainly bullet points for those regulating (or rather, not regulating!) these markets. He offers no strategies for the guy/gal in the street.
While I enjoyed his discussion of all the convoluted scheming involved in the Escher-like stairway to economic collapse contrived by the people behind this mortgage mess, I couldn't help but feel that Zandi didn't go far enough in his investigation of the problem. Sure, all the leveraging of non-existent equity multiple times through multiple layers of finance bordered on outright criminal fraud, but what about the deeper circumstances/attitudes that drive the insane pursuit of stratospheric profit at all costs? (Pun intended.)
He does get the point that the problem was caused in large part by treating housing as an investment instead of housing (what I call "commoditizing" and he calls "securitizing"), and he gives housing "flippers" a good lashing. However, he never does really get to the matter of who benefits from this crisis. What is happening to all the assets being gobbled up in the fire-sale aftermath? A recent article on Marketwatch finally broached the subject of the winners who are grabbing up huge piles of financial assets at Wal-mart prices, something I have wondered about from the beginning.
He also dances all around the fact that the Federal Reserve is neither Federal nor a reserve - it is a consortium of private banks who profit from lending money to the government, and controlling national monetary policy in the process.
This crisis has all the earmarks of an engineered asset transfer, especially given the clockwork, kneejerk response of the stock market to the hesitation of the government to do the bailout. When he mentions that the very same thing happened years earlier in the manufactured home market, he sees it simply as a failed opportunity to heed a warning, failing to realize that it could very well have been a test run to fine-tune the process.
I find his work generally very good in the book, but I do have some issues with his attitude in places. His statement that credit is the "mother's milk" of the economic system is upside down - it is more like the opium of same; dangerous except under very strict use. Also, his idea that millions of people having mortgage debt constitutes wealth is simply nonsense. Having a mortgage is not ownership. Holding a clear title is ownership. Owing huge amounts of money based on severely over-pried assets is not wealth or ownership. It is a recipe for disaster. This highlights the problem of confusing value with price (or cost). To paraphrase, economists know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
His remark about the U.S. savings and loan calamity being due to industry mismanagement ignores the massive amount of evidence that it was really about drug money laundering for a global criminal enterprise, stealing assets, and covering those tracks than it was about bad business dealings. Again, one has to look deeper.
There are many good things in the book, and if you want a more detailed picture of the mechanics of the subprime collapse, this book will give it to you. If you are looking for some startling revelations about deeper causes or long-term solutions, look elsewhere.
- Deliberately Missing the Point
There's a good reason why Barney Frank provides a glowing blurb for this book---the author utterly evades the true causes of the current mess and muddies the waters quite nicely on Frank's behalf.
Two things represent the root causes of the subprime mortgage mess:
1. Democrats, Barney Frank in the lead, demanded that banks make more mortgage loans to people who couldn't pay them back, which also had the salient virtue of driving billions of dollars to Democrat-run Fannie Mae and Freddia Mac, which in turn contributed heavily to Democrats like Frank;
2. Democrats demanded that financial institutions account for all of this risky paper under an accounting scheme called "mark to market" which forced these institutions to reserve huge amounts of cash to cover "losses" which had not yet occurred.
The author gives glancing references to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on 2 pages (!) of the book. He references "mark to market" on 4 pages. The ten recommendations he provides do refer to fixing "mark to market" (thus making his recommendations far more likely to help than the Paulson plan), but as Recommendation # 8. No recommendation takes Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or Congress to task for creating the bubble in the 1st place by threatening institutions who could not demonstrate sufficient commitment to making bad loans that they would not be allowed to merge and might be more heavily regulated.
In between, there is a meticulous reporting of the havoc wrought in the markets by these two government-manufactured conditions. For this alone I give the book 2-stars.
We're still waiting for the book which tackles the real cause of this mess---government meddling and corruption.
I suppose we'll need to wait till after the election to see such a book, if ever. ...more info
- Great insight to the Financial Crisis NOW
This is a well written, easy to follow book on the Subprime Mortgage catastrophe root causes and indicators. Mark Zandi is the chief financial guru behind Moodys.com - a leading investment research firm and stats provider.
The book is extremely recent, as it talked about the Lehman bankruptcy and Bears Stearns fallout from March 2008.
Also, it talks about the preparation for one of the largest government interventions into private sectors ever - and I believe this book was released in April 2008, not October 2008, hehehehe.
His insight and intellect is great and the ability for him to explain it in laymen's terms for me to understand makes it a great read.
I give this a 4 only because there was no thought into the graphs and they are pretty much worthless. The charts are shown in portrait mode instead of singularly in landscape mode on a single page so you can actually understand the chart. The legend uses slight degrees of grey to show some statistics, but in a black/white book, most of the varying levels look the same, hah. Then they try to show various housing densities for the entire US in a chart that's 2 inches by 3 inches in size, hehehe. As well as his firm is known for producing reports, I'm shocked he'd allow the useless charts in his book.
His thoughts on avoiding the next financial crisis is insightful as well, but could be summarized as...if everyone is doing it, if everyone is writing about it, if it is on the cover of a magazine, and if you see more shows about it, then sooner or later, what goes up must come down.
Common sense? Well, you don't start to apply it or realize it until it happens, but I absolutely see the trend for emerging markets and the commodities craze. I may ride that bandwagon for the upcoming years, but be mindful and not get caught up into a bubble about to burst. So thank you for this book, Mark Zandi!...more info
- Lame Explanation from a Barney Frank Democrat
I read this book because it got a plug from a columnist I respect in a free market publication, but after I took a look a the cover & saw a "thumbs up" from no less a Democrat VIP as Barney Frank, I began to wonder why I was bothering.
The book has many good explanations on why there was so much cheap money circulating in the US during the 2000 to 2008 period, but makes almost no mention at all on the critical role that Democratic Party influence in the US had on the creation of the sub-prime market, via the CRA and its off balance sheet twin monsters of Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.
Zandi also doesn't go into any depth explaining why his employer, the rating agency Moody's, gave Lehman Bros, Bear Stearns, Fan/Fred, et. al., AAA ratings right up to the day they went broke. Bandi has some 'splainin to do but, in his world, it's all due to the GOP and its anti-regulatory zeal. The Democrats were doing everything humanly possible to avoid all of this, if only they were allowed by the feckless Republicans.
Zandi is just a Democrat shill and I wouldn't waste your time reading his screed....more info
- Presently, this should be a required read for those interested in the nation's economy.
Financial Shock is an extremely timely book about the sub-prime mortgage crisis. It claims to offer a 360o look, and it certainly does. It covers everyone's involvement- from Lenders, Borrowers, Buildings, Flippers, Investors, Financial Engineers, and the Government. If all you knew about the sub-prime crisis was that a lot of people with poor credit started to default on their mortgages, than this books will open your eyes to just how much was involved, how many elements were needed to create the crisis, and how many people have been, and will, be effected by it. Many helpful charts and graphs are included to illustrate points as well. Lastly, it contains the author's 10 steps to remedy this situation and hopefully prevent a future occurrence.
I have followed the whole sub-prime debacle since the summer of 2007, and while I thought I knew a lot about it, I did not. The best aspect of the book is that it takes the many convoluted aspects that created the crisis and spells them out in layman's terms. I am no financial expert, the most I do is watch Suze Orman and follow CNBC, but I found everything understandable. Granted, the book is dry, and parts of it I had to plow through, but there was much more good than bad.
The book was published first published in July 2008 and the author had not yet seen the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, Fannie and Freddie bailout, and proposed $700 billion financial rescue plan. The last major event discussed in the book was the government-backed purchase of Bear Stearns by J.P. Morgan Chase, and he thought this event was monumental, so I can only imagine his reaction to the more recent news.
The negatives of the book, which may be changed in future printings, are that a handful of the charts and graphs used in the book are difficult to read. Either the text is too small or the colors used to designate different sections on a map are too similar. The book also sounds repetitious at times, so some pages could probably have been trimmed from the final printing.
All in all... As of this review's date, this is probably the most important read for all Americans, and in years to come it will still offer a look back at what caused the greatest financial upheaval since the Great Depression....more info
- Good Detailed Explanation for "How did this happen?"
I was suspect when I first saw the title thinking that the author might be trying to exploit the current meltdown for personal gain. (This shows how synical and untrusting I have become since the onset of the subprime crisis). Instead, the author provides a very understandable, chronological account of how we ended up in this mess explaining the lending process, Fed decisions, securitization, & CDSs. The author assumes the reader has at least a basic understanding of the market, finance, and investment banking. The book can be a little repetitive and some of the charts aren't always very readable (due to the b&w, low res charts). Other than that, good job! ...more info
- Shockingly good
This is probably the best book to read if you want to understand the how the current mortgage crisis came into being. What I really liked about the authors presentation of the material is that he doesn't "dumb down". He shows you the data and graphs and cites his references so you can assess if you agree with his interpretation. He doesn't balk at presenting and trying to explain some of the complex financial instruments that filled this bubble.
The title of the book tips its hat to Alvin Toffler's Future Shock and so Zandi does attempt a little crystal ball gazing in the final chapter. Though he raises concerns about bank liquidity, he gets it wrong in his statement that Bear Sterns bail-out represents the apex of the turmoil. This just goes to demonstrate how difficult prediction is, even for the very well informed.
An interesting and educational read....more info
- Not the kind of book I usually read.
I am not a big fan of any kind of non-fiction books. For me, they are painful to read - even the few non-fiction book I do happen to enjoy! I picked up Financial Shock in an attempt to better inform myself on the current financial crisis. I TRIED to be good and read something that would be informative and learning, but I just COULDN'T do it without either falling asleep or making my eyes bleed. (No, not really, but it felt that way.)
To its credit, I did glean some interesting information from this book, especially on the world wide financial front. I never realized how the world wide financial market worked and how much it is all so interdependent. Otherwise, this book basically points out how politics, greed, and gambling (that's how I see it whether it came from a business, Wall Street, Realtors, flippers, government, or the individual reaching for more than it can handle) ruined what otherwise was a fundamentally stable mortgage market. Not new news in that aspect for me. The insanity of the housing bubble was exactly that....INSANE. And I truly feel sorry for the innocent bystanders who ended up getting whip-lashed in the end.
Like I said before, Financial Shock is not my kind of read. I tried to but couldn't do it intensively page by page. Instead, I skimmed and read through some informative parts I wanted to know and briefly read parts that made my eyes roll. And I'll leave it at that. ...more info
- A primer to the proper way
In Layman terms the Author explains what happened, What Didn't and what should have. Everyone can understand all he explains and should be taught a grave lesson. America is the greatest country in this world but everyone cannot have a home. That is until they Qualify. From our politicians through the Mortgage lenders and brokers it is explained how they intellectially took advantage of the poor and ignorant. Blaim who you wish but if someone offers those deals to someone poor can anyone believe they would'nt accept it? Back to the proper ways ten to twenty five percent down, formula to calculate if they can pay, and tax and insurance in escrow. Thats how it was in the sixtys and seventys and there was no problem. President Clinton was a good man and balanced the budget with no debt but his idea of everyone owning a home was the beginning of the end. This program also will promote the saving toward a home that then brings people to be proud of their accomplishment and that pride is what has built our great country. I am proud to have read this book and think very highly of the Author. This should be required reading of all in High School to prevent it ever happening again. ...more info
In a time of uncertainty about where our politicians and bureaucrats are deciding what's best for our country, we, the people who elected those 'officials' can't rely solely on their decisions. We have to make decisions for ourselves, our future and our money. This book is a great resource to start with in going about taking control of your money and what you want to do it. Cause as Gov. Sarah Palin has stated before, we (the taxpayer) know better how we want our money spent than the politicians do. ...more info
- A good explaination of the financial meltdown
If you turn on CNBC or any other financial news channel, we get bombarded with talks of hundreds of intellectuals on the sub-prime crisis and financial meltdown, but hardly anyone really explains the crux of the matter and how it all originated and what led to fiasco of this size
Mark Zandi has narrated the sequence of events, the companies, the people involved in the entire chain of events that led to this crisis. Next he goes on to explain how each regions of the world would get impacted by this crisis and how to prevent the next one.
The book is well written, excellent narration and feels like you want to read it through without going too much into financial jargon....more info
- Absolutely the best book on the sub-prime crisis
I have been reading a number of books on the sub-prime crisis. Some of them are quite good. The Trillion-Dollar Meltdown, for example, is an excellent introduction to the high-level hocus-pocus that Wall Street was engaging in to bring on the crisis. Chain of Blame gives a good journalistic description of the history of the major players in the sub-prime industry. Greenpan's Bubbles gives an excellent summation of the prosecution's opening argument in People v. Alan Greenspan, making the case that it was all the fault of the Fed.
This book, however, is absolutely, unequivocally the best book on the subject. It is everything that you want such a book to be. First, and foremost, Zandi knows the subject. He has in-depth knowledge of both economic theory and of the details of what actually happened in the market. His depth of knowledge is astonishing
Second, he covers every aspect of the subject. Most of the books written on this subject cover only part of it. Zandi covers the waterfront. He understands the issues, in detail, from the policy decisions of the Federal Reserve Board to the cyclic nature of the housing industry. In a relatively short book, he covers literally every aspect of the subject.
Finally, he makes balanced judgments without being judgmental or moralzing. His tone is very detached. He actually wants to understand what happened, not find the bad guys to pillory. On the Fed, for example, he gives a very clear explanation of what Greenspan was thinking, what he was trying to do, how it worked in some ways and was a disaster in other ways.
He has the expected final chapter on how to fix things. It was short, but very good. I thought some of his ideas were kind of screwy -- why would it help to have national uniformity in foreclosure laws, for example? -- but, by and large, his ideas were practical and judicious. I think that every sane observer of the situation agrees that better regulation of the out of control mortgage and mortage-backed security industry is needed, and Zandi gives a good idea of how to do that, without overdoing it....more info
- Another timely read
Obviously the author has the advantage of hindsight, but if the country had this information 10 years ago, we'd not be in the current economic situation that we are. The book does a good job overviewing who dropped the ball, who hid the ball, and what we need to do to prevent a similar crisis in the future. ...more info