Books on the financial crisis, economics/money, bad businesses
September 19, 2018 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Help me build my library of books about the financial crisis, money/economics, and business gone bad! As examples, I love Michael Lewis’s work and I most recently enjoyed “Bad Blood” by John Carreyrou, about Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes. List of books I already have inside!

This is what I’ve collected so far:
Most of Michael Lewis’s books
The Ascent of Money - Niall Ferguson
The Price of Inequality - Joseph Stiglitz
Reckless Endangerment - Gretchen Morgensen
The Shifts and the Shocks - Martin Wolf
Debt: the first 5,000 years - David Graeber
Naked Economics - Charles Wheelan
Money - Felix Martin
The Unwinding - George Packer
The Betrayal of the American Dream - Donald Barlett
Age of Greed - Jeff Madrick
Too Big to Fail - Andrew Ross Sorkin
All the Devils Are Here - Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera
The Smartest Guys in the Room - Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
After the Music Stopped - Alan Binder
The Courage to Act - Ben Bernanke
Stress Test - Timothy Geithner
Capital in the 21st Century - Thomas Picketty

Any and all further recommendations welcome! Thanks!
posted by skycrashesdown to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
the book "Business Adventures" by John Brooks is very good, although not quite as left-leaning/post-financial crisis as all these. famously Warren Buffett's favorite book.

It's a collection of midcentury New Yorker articles about various business topics, some of which (like the tale of the Great Piggly Wiggly Corner of 1923, or the story of the Ford Edsel) could be described as business going bad. Others are less apocalyptic but still very interesting.
posted by vogon_poet at 6:26 PM on September 19, 2018

The Shock Doctrine - Naomi Klein
Griftopia - Matt Taibbi
posted by jazzbaby at 6:27 PM on September 19, 2018

Lords of Finance
Predator's Ball
Barbarians at the Gate
Den of Thieves
Fool's Gold
The Quants
Hellhound of Wall Street
The End of Wall Street
The Subprime Virus
This Time Is Different

...I should really just take a picture of this bookshelf.
posted by praemunire at 6:49 PM on September 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

House of Cards by William Cohan looks specifically at the fall of Lehman Brothers
posted by brookeb at 7:28 PM on September 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed High Rise: How 1,000 Men and Women Worked Around the Clock for Five Years and Lost $200 Million Building a Skyscraper.

Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America is a deeply cynical, funny history of North American transcontinental railroads, with an emphasis on the sketchy dealings behind them. My favourite anecdote from that book is that Leland Stanford's letters have been unusually useful to historians because he was so dim as to need very detailed explanations for everything.

When Genius Failed is a good book about the failure of Long-Term Capital Management.
posted by ripley_ at 9:56 PM on September 19, 2018

The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual
posted by bq at 10:36 PM on September 19, 2018

I don’t see any Pulitzer Prize winning David Cay Johnston on your list!

Temples of Chance: How America Inc. Bought Out Murder Inc. to Win Control of the Casino Business (1992)

Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich--and Cheat Everybody Else (2003)

Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You with the Bill) (2007)

Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality (2014) edited by David Cay Johnston

The Making of Donald Trump (2016)

It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America (2018)
posted by jbenben at 10:43 PM on September 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Lying for Money - Dan Davies
Fools Gold - Gillian Tett (+1 to Praemunire)
posted by crocomancer at 12:51 AM on September 20, 2018

John Lanchester's Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay is a great read, as is his novel on the subject, Capital.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 6:10 AM on September 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

Seconding Barbarians at the Gate
posted by daniel striped tiger at 6:44 AM on September 20, 2018

Talking to My Daughter about the Economy: A Brief History of Capitalism
Yanis Varoufakis (former Greek finance minister)
posted by cessair at 7:20 AM on September 20, 2018

Moral Mazes, Robert Jackal, 'classic study of ethics in business presents an eye-opening account of how corporate managers think the world works, and how big organizations shape moral consciousness'

Condition of Postmodernity, David Harvey, 'delineating the passage through to postmodernity and the economic, social, and political changes that underscored and accompanied it'

Not books, but still quite good:

Growth Coalition Theory, G. William Domhoff

posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 8:09 AM on September 20, 2018

A Failure of Capitalism by Hon. Richard Posner
posted by gauche at 8:23 AM on September 20, 2018

Killing The Host Michael Hudson
posted by cfraenkel at 8:23 AM on September 20, 2018

I really enjoyed When the luck of the Irish ran out by David Lynch.
posted by heatherlogan at 9:11 AM on September 20, 2018

The Great Transformation by Karl Polanyi
Bad Samaritans by Ha-Joon Chang
Cities and the Wealth of Nations by Jane Jacobs
posted by congen at 10:19 AM on September 20, 2018

Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, by Mark Blyth. (He was on On the Media last week to talk about the tenth anniversary of Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy.)
posted by Anita Bath at 11:20 AM on September 20, 2018

Union Atlantic, Adam Haslett.
(Technically he wrote it before it happened, and then everything blew up and he got to check his work.)
posted by Don Pepino at 1:59 PM on September 20, 2018

On the fiction front the recent book, Lake Success, is a great satire of the culture that brought us here.
posted by Lucubrator at 2:58 PM on September 20, 2018

i was surprised no one mentioned this classic: Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises
by Charles P. Kindleberger

I also really like Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre, Roger Lowenstein. This is a biography of Jesse Livermore. It isn't so much about bad business as lots of ups and downs in the U.S. stock market, but from a hundred years ago. There is an amazing passage in the book where some guys are telling Livermore about an investment idea (maybe it was cotton produced in Egypt?) and how "this time its different!" The similarities between Wall Street in the 1890s and the 1990s were really fascinating to me. If something like Liar's Poker was a good read for you, you'll find Reminiscences of a Stock Operator to be worth your while.
posted by kovacs at 4:44 PM on September 20, 2018

This is a biography of Jesse Livermore. It isn't so much about bad business as lots of ups and downs in the U.S. stock market, but from a hundred years ago.

Livermore was a sharpie--it's just the background level of fraud at the time was unbelievably high!

In a similar vein, My Adventures With Your Money is about an early-C20 con artist whose main schemes were various kinds of stock swindles, so it fits in here.
posted by praemunire at 5:42 PM on September 20, 2018

Lombard Street: A Description of the Money Market by Bagehot - the first book on monetary policy, as we would term it.

Seconding When Genius Fails.
posted by PMdixon at 12:08 AM on September 21, 2018

My favoriymte ine sbout 2008 crisis is First as Tragedy, Then as Farce by Slavoj Zizek. Covers an different set of consequences and is concerned with different set of concerns — psychoanalysis, communism, immigration, authoritarianism, intellectual property, “paper or plastic?” etc
posted by Buddy_Boy at 6:25 PM on September 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Highly recommend Jesse Eisinger's book on the crash:
The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives
posted by Transl3y at 3:09 PM on September 22, 2018

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