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The Wall Street Journal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It
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Product Description

We're in the midst of the greatest financial crisis of our time. Do you know what really happened? Are you prepared for what's to come?

When every headline delivers bad news, and each morning market bell seems to usher in yet another bank debacle, stock market plunge or dire warning about the end of access to credit; threats to our savings and security; and the collapse of the entire financial system as we know it. . . . It's hard to keep up.

But we can't afford to be in the dark just because we can no longer bear to turn on the news.

Written by seasoned financial writer Dave Kansas, The Wall Street Journal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It makes sense of the madness, revealing how the crisis is affecting our financial lives and what steps we should take to inform and protect ourselves. This comprehensive, practical and accessible book delivers:

  • An inside look at the financial wizardry, easy money and overconfidence that drove the subprime crisis, credit crunch and market meltdown
  • An analysis of the New World Order-the banking behemoths, the government's role-and how it will affect Main Street
  • A look at what's safe: a rundown of which investments are protected and which aren't and how fund protection has changed
  • Individual investor strategies: stocks, bonds, retirement and real estate (and whether you should think seriously about "the mattress")

From the most authoritative source for business and economic news and written by one of the most trusted voices in financial reporting, The Wall Street Journal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It is the only book you'll need to navigate the storm ahead.

Customer Reviews:

  • 4.5 stars-Banker financed speculation inflated the bubble that crashed
    The author has done a very good job of explaining the whys,hows and whats of the current financial catastrophe .The basic problem can be traced back to the late 1970's and early 1980's to the Carter and Reagan administrations deregulation and privativation agendas.The problem was then exacerbated in the George H W Bush,Clinton-Gore,and George W. Bush-Cheney administration.Huge numbers of University of Chicago type economists and business school academics were hired ,who did not believe in any kind of regulation at all,by the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) Federal Reserve System (FRS),Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation(FDIC),Office of Thrift Supervision,etc.These individuals believed in a pseudo theory called the Efficient Market Hypothesis(EMH).This theory asserted ,without any empirical,historical,or statistical support or goodness of fit tests to support it,that all financial markets are normally distributed around a stable mean.The conclusions of this pseudo theory,still taught to every MBA candidate in finance worldwide and every PH.D candidate in every economics department,are that (a) bubbles are not possible,(b) financial markets are self regulating,(c) risk management techniques ,based on the Mean -Variance model,the Capital Asset Pricing Model(CAPM),and the Black-Scholes equation for valuing put and call options,will create an efficient market where speculation on a massive scale can be engaged in using debt leverage to maxomize profits " safely ". Benoit Mandelbrot, Nassim Nichlas Taleb,and George Soros, like D Ellsberg and J M Keynes before them,demonstrated that there is no support for this pseudo theory.The EMH is very similar to Ptolomaic astronomy.It is a completely artificially created and constructed theory based on a priori claims and assertions that have ,as noted above,been disproved in a world of uncertainty (Keynes,Ellsberg,Soros) and wild risk (Mandelbrot,Taleb).

    The scary part is that Bernanke and Geithner are or were advocates of this falsified theory.The people who allowed the private commercial bankers to put through their speculative securitization schemes are the same people who are ,supposedly,going to clean up the mess.The bailouts will not work.All banks whose balance sheets contain huge amounts of these speculative assets should be closed down.The stock and bond holders should be wiped out.The same goes for all upper management.Whatever good assets remain on their books should be sold off to financial institutions whose balance sheets have not been eroded by speculative finance based on securitization and risk models that have failed completely....more info
  • A concise and unbiased look at what happened to our economy
    This is the first book I have read on my new Kindle. The author, Dave Kansas, is a former editor of the Wall Street Journal. The book is a concise and unbiased examination of what exactly has happened to the economy as well as a brief discussion on what an individual should currently do to protect their investments.

    The book starts by giving a brief history of risk - specifically examining how changes in investment strategies created new risk markets and thus new avenues for profit, leading to the bundling and selling of high risk mortgages that largely kicked off the economic decline. From there proceeds a discussion of derivatives, private-equity, and leverage.

    Chapter three deals with the 'canaries in the coal mine' that should have been taken note of before the collapse of Bear Stearns. Chapter four deals with the cascading impacts such as the takeover of Fannie and Freddie and the death of Lehman Brothers.

    Chapter five is about where we go from here. Chapter six shifts to the individual and which types of investments are protected. Chapter seven is about debt and Chapter eight provides advice for the individual, based on their age.

    Scattered throughout the book are mini-biographies of the names and faces involved, such as Timothy Geithner, Warren Buffett, and Alan Greenspan. At the end of each chapter is a summary in the form of an FAQ.

    I found the book very interesting and well written. What to many would sound like a rather dry subject is given in a fast paced narrative....more info
  • Interesting and Timely!
    The political push for increased home ownership from both parties led Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, aided by Greenspan's low rates at the Fed, to surge ahead with loans at lower and lower rates. This, in turn, created increasing home prices where lenders cared less and less about the creditworthiness of borrowers - just hang on long enough until the price went up - then refinance or sell.

    Wall Street bankers, under pressure to increase earnings, developed a bundling approach to minimize the risks of investing in home mortgages, and passed them on to those who didn't know what they were buying. Any scintilla of perceived risk was supposedly eliminated by credit default swaps (CDS) developed by J.P. Morgan in the late 1990s - supposed guarantees against failure. Unfortunately, those selling CDS were not regulated, and the requisite financial backing was not provided. Nonetheless, the confidence these CDS provided, along with sophisticated computer risk models, easily convinced banks and others to leverage to the hilt and load up on these new products.

    Regulators did not take action - they were led by Bush II appointees who simply believed that regulations stood in the way of efficient markets. This was "confirmed" by no less an authority than Alan Greenspan. Credit ratings agencies did no better, oblivious to realizing that "whatever cannot continue forever, won't." (Herb Stein, former Fed Chairman)

    Then two hedge funds managed by Bear Stearns collapsed, investors panicked and wanted their money back, the CDS were quickly exposed as worthless paper, and banks stopped lending as a result of needing to write down their investments and prepare for any possible runs. The computer risk models had once again forgotten about correlated risk - it was Long Term Capital deja vu all over again. The economy basically stopped.

    Clearly, our financial and regulatory systems failed us. That does not stop some from continuing to live in the past - CNBC continues to announce their NYC location as "the financial capital of the world." Not likely, given the American financial assets now held in Asia (Treasuries, corporate bonds, U.S. stocks), and the anger of many at the economic collapse that has ensued in this collapse.

    What do we learn from this? Once again, it pays to be too big to fail; better yet, overly complex AND too big to fail. Thus, the $700 billion taxpayer-funded bank bailout and $780 billion stimulus bills, so far. Thrift is back in - consumers have no other choice as their favorite ATM (home, sweet home) is probably "underwater," and their second-favorite ATM (401ks) have fallen in value by close to half. Worse yet, the fear of layoffs is mushrooming with no end in sight. And the Asians continue to invade with their millions of cargo containers.

    What to do now? Invest in real estate, stocks, under one's mattress? Hopefully readers are not near or past retirement age - those are the most seriously affected. One would hope that "business as usual" will not prevail - but how is this different than the LTC and S&L crises, except much, much bigger?...more info
  • The End of Wall Street
    Unfortunately, the vendor ran out of stock. Even sadder was the fact they didn't notify us until four weeks later when I emailed them to find out where the book was.
    It wasn't until then that they refunded our money.
    So I am looking else where....more info
  • Learn from this Crisis and make it Your Opportunity
    I stopped cold when I saw "The Wall Street Journal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It" on a bookstand in the Pittsburgh Airport in January 2009. Browsing through it, not only could I scarcely believe how quickly it was written and brought to market, I could barely believe how clearly it outlined our current economic environment.

    Another thing became clear - that Dave Kansas, from his perch as a journalist with The Wall Street Journal, TheStreet.com, and FiLife is one of the few writers who could have written this book.

    Kansas captures the historical background to the cataclysmic month of October 2008 using the recent examples of the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the Russian crisis of 1998, the U.S. internet and technology bubble of 2000-2001. More pointedly, he delves into the implosion of hedge fund Long Term Capital Management (LTCM), the shortsighted policies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the creation of, and dependence on, credit-default swaps (CDSs), collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), and collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs).

    Kansas's conclusion: October 2008 was predictable. In fact, many of the firms swirling at the epicenter of the current crisis knew they had serious trouble brewing, but couldn't, or wouldn't, take action to avert their fate.

    In early 2009, nothing can hide how much our world, let alone the financial markets, has literally changed overnight. Venerable financial firms have either ceased to exist or been swallowed up by stronger, more prudent, players. We are all left to deal with the aftermath.

    We've got to deal with the aftermath as we deal with our individual and collective behavior. I say that because most of us have scant knowledge of the role that complex financial products played in this mess and, to a large degree, that's okay. What's not okay is our intimate, yet often unrecognized or unacknowledged, knowledge of our human frailties. Human frailties that Kansas intimates underlie the real problem.

    As human beings, we do chase returns. We do act on our greed and overconfidence. We are often guilty of employing hope rather than sound strategy. And, if human beings approach the financial market in this way, what does that portend for a financial system run by human beings?

    I learned a great deal from "The Wall Street Journal Guide to the End of Wall Street as We Know It." I found it as important as a chronicle of the human frailties that led to our current crisis as it is an explanation of the nuts and bolts of how it happened. It cut through the hype and explained very complex terms in a straight forward and easily understood manner. But, it went even further by aiming to arm me with usable information.

    The bottom line is it's a true feat to produce a book this good so quickly. My only question is: Will we, individually and collectively, learn from it just as quickly?
    ...more info
  • A very good guide.
    I have read many books on the topic and have a basic idea of what really happened, though we may never fully understand why. I find this book to be concise, yet very comprehensive. David kansas explains the cause of the financial crisis in simple terms and give you a breakdown of how Wall Street and the housing market, as well as other financial institutions are tightly intertwined; thus resulting in a domino effect when things go awry. Many of us hear about the Economic Crisis on the news or just in everyday conversation, and unless you're directly affiliated or familiar with the industry, you do not fully understand the cause and effects. This book is a good place to start....more info