Thursday, July 16, 2009

House of Cards by William Cohan

House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess On Wall Street is an engaging look at the fall of Bear Stearns. Mr. Cohan makes an admirable attempt at explaining how the giant investment bank imploded. Unfortunately, I expected a better book. Cohan's book suffers from it's length and from the sheer number of people that about whom he writes. I found myself taking notes just to keep track of who was who. Also, at the end of the book, Cohan tacks on a little bit about Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. But this coverage of Lehman Brothers is shallow and irrelevant to the main story of the book, that of Bear Stearns.

My overall feeling about the book is that Cohan rushed to get it published, and his haste shows. It reminds me of Blaise Pascal's quip about writing a long letter because he didn't have time to make it brief. Perhaps Mr. Cohan didn't have time to make his book clearer and shorter.


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