Books Explain the Financial Crisis

Bill Moyers told his audience on his show this week, “if you read only one book on the roots of this finanacial meltdown, I recommend this one, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips.”

People listened. the book went to #9 on Amazon’s bestseller list (it’s now at #13). Reserves are heavy in some areas.

Watching the show, you can see why Moyers recommends the book. Phillips is a remarkably colorful speaker for an economist. Saying that the roots of the problem are bi-partisan, he tells Moyers, “if [Clinton Treasury Secretary Bob] Rubin…was reincarnated, he would come back as a pail, because this guy bailed out everything you can imagine.”

Bad Money was on the NYT Bestseller list for most of May.

Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism
Kevin Phillips

  • Hardcover: $25.95; 256 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (April 15, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0670019070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670019076
  • Audio CD: Unabridged; $29.95
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio; (April 15, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 014314328X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143143284
Also getting a sales bump is another book that predicted the current crisis:
The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash
Charles R. Morris
  • Hardcover: $22.95; 224 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (March 3, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1586485636
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586485634
  • Audio CD: Unabridged; $27.95
  • Publisher: Phoenix Audio; (July 1, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1597772143
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597772143
The NYT said that in this “brief but brilliant book, Morris describes how we got into the mess we are in…. Few writers are as good as Morris at making financial arcana understandable and even fascinating.”

The Trillion Dollar Meltdown was on the NYT nonfiction bestseller list for two weeks in April and May.

More books will be coming. The New York Observer outlines the various projects that are in the works. As Simon and Schuster’s David Rosenthal aptly tells the Observer, “There’s a lot to be said for a timely book, but we don’t know what the book is yet.”

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