Also of interest ... in new business books
<em>Too Big to Fail</em> by Andrew Ross; <em>The Sellout</em><strong> </strong>by Charles Gasparino; <em>Googled</em><strong> </strong>by Ken Auletta; <em>The King of Oil</em>
Too Big to Failby Andrew Ross Sorkin (Viking, $33)“It is hard to imagine” that a better blow-by-blow account will be written about last year’s financial meltdown, said The Economist. The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin “sometimes gets carried away” trying to empty his notebook of narrative details. He also makes little attempt to pinpoint root causes. But if you’ve been waiting for 12 months to get inside the rooms in which Wall Street’s chieftains improvised their way through “the most extraordinary financial spectacle in 80 years,” Too Big to Fail should prove “too good to put down.”
The Sellout by Charles Gasparino (HarperBusiness, $28)This “splendid” account of the financial crisis pins much of the blame on Washington, said James Freeman in The Wall Street Journal. CNBC’s Charles Gasparino shows how two Clinton-era housing secretaries created excessive subsidies for homebuyers of modest income and how a series of Federal Reserve policies prodded investment banks to “go long” on risky mortgage-backed securities. Gasparino is annoyed with a range of players—from Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld to Citigroup director Robert Rubin—and he’ll get you angry, too.
Googled by Ken Auletta (Penguin, $26)The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta makes good use of his Old Media credentials in his new history of the Internet search giant Google, said Robert D. Hof in BusinessWeek. Auletta doesn’t offer startling new insights into the company or its geeky co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. But he has enough sense not to treat Google as the villain in Old Media’s demise, and his access to Brin, Page, and others provides “the most deeply reported look yet at what is perhaps the world’s most closely watched company.”
The King of Oil by Daniel Ammann (St. Martin’s, $27)This new biography of rogue oil trader Marc Rich is “a must-read for any businessman facing federal indictment,” said A. Craig Copetas in Bloomberg.com. Rich’s story has been the subject of previous books: Most readers will remember that he was pardoned by President Clinton after a long career of paying bribes, evading taxes, and doing deals with despots the world over. This book was written with Rich’s cooperation, so it’s both a fascinating psychological profile and “a gleeful celebration” of money’s amoral power.