The first mainstream review on Bailout Nation is out, and its from Bloomberg (Europe).

I am not disappointed:

“Ritholtz waltzes the reader though the decisions and missteps that landed us in this morass, including the Federal Reserve’s power grab over the years, notably during the leadership vacuum of 2007 and 2008, when markets melted like a Salvador Dali timepiece and President George W. Bush went AWOL . . .

Along the way, the book supplies useful sidebars, charts and textboxes on subjects ranging from funky mortgages — when did “liar loans” supersede “fixed-rate” in American real- estate chatter? — to the now notorious Commodity Futures Modernization Act.

His verdict on former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan is as astute as it is merciless. A telling moment comes when Ritholtz shows how Greenspan drew the wrong conclusion from the first crisis during his tenure, the crash of ‘87 . . .

Ritholtz rocks along with a raucous, sometimes crude voice that transcends his occasional cliches about cowboys and cattle wrestlers. He’s smart, sassy and often amusing. . . If you’re looking for an all-in-one place explanation of what went wrong and why, this is the book for you (or your confused neighbor).”

How cool is that?


Greenspan Flunks Test, Bush Falls Into $15 Trillion Pit: Books
James Pressley
Bloomberg, May 27 2009

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

33 Responses to “Bloomberg Review: Bailout Nation”

  1. Next up (hopefully) WSJ and NYT

  2. karen says:

    Tremendous review! Congrats! (putting my amzn order together this evening.)

  3. Ned Bushong says:

    I’ve always found, it takes a special person to write what people want to read. Just scribing a documentary will get you nowhere. Congratulations!

  4. JohnnyVee says:

    Congrat! I can’t wait to read it.

  5. franklin411 says:

    Great review, but I’ll reserve judgment on your assertion that government intervention was historically quite limited until I read how you handle it for myself. Meanwhile, here’s a link to an excellent article on the subsidies the American government paid to the railroads. 9.5% of land in the public domain was given to the railroads as a subsidy from 1850-1871. Doesn’t sound very limited to me!

  6. willid3 says:

    Franklin I think BR means the lack of enforcement. but i am just guessing

  7. The Curmudgeon says:

    Bloomberg is the new WSJ and NYT, in real time and accessible, all the time. Excellent work, Mr. Ritholz.

    For once, just shut up Franklin.

  8. franklin411 says:

    The reviewer suggests otherwise–that RR’s were given easements and rights of way. Perhaps that’s the reviewer’s construction, and I’ll have to wait to see what Barry says in his book, but frankly RR’s made out like bandits on government subsidies.

  9. Fredex says:

    “Ritholtz waltzes”

    Gotta see that. A waltzing Ritholz would look like a dancing bear.

  10. Transor Z says:

    Barry, this part in particular is a really nice plug:

    Another book on the financial crisis, you ask? Hasn’t the subject been bludgeoned to death? Surprisingly, no. Ritholtz makes a valuable new contribution to our understanding of how we arrived at this sorry juncture.

    The pig/bull is staring at me from my nightstand.

  11. AmenRa says:

    I just realized something. Did Bloomberg cancel the “On the Economy” that used to broadcast from 2-3pm?

    The book is on order and I can’t wait to get around to reading it.

  12. DL says:

    We could all go to and write rave reviews of the book. That might boost sales further.

  13. ZenProfit says:

    @The Curmudgeon:

    Bloomberg is the new CNBC.

  14. DL says:

    ZenProfit @4:41

    Bloomberg is more willing to have money managers on who will admit that stocks can go down as well as up.

  15. Cursive says:

    Is anyone else hearing that Macke is done on Fast Money?

  16. adavydov says:

    I would read just for the “cowboy and cow wrestler” cliches!

  17. Cursive says:

    @Transor Z

    Thanks. I’m curious to hear what Macke says once he is off the show. He’s not the type eat his thoughts. You know, somebody could write a huge expose’ on CNBC if they had access to the right meetings/water cooler moments. That somebody probably hasn’t because of the repercussions.

  18. franklin411 says:

    I’m glad Macke’s gone. He really went off the deep end starting last summer.

  19. By Peter Greene (NYC, NY United States) – See all my reviews

    Bailout Nation is a great read, easy to follow logic that actually discusses the underlining problems that brought us to this financial mess. Barry Ritholtz does a fantastic job of finding the origins to the collapse of so many financial giants. He also discusses how these and past bailouts may lead to more financial problems in the future.

    I would recommend this book for everyone interested in finding out how giants like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and the auto makers are all connected and may lead to more problems because of corporate welfare.

    You do not have to be in the financial industry to enjoy this book.
    J. Weitzman says:
    Barry’s book shipped this week and is climbing the bestseller list. Barry is one of the smartest people I know and his insight into the financial world is astounding. If you want to understand the mess we’re in and give it some historical context, click the link and order his book.

    Good going, BR~

  20. cvienne says:

    @Franklin (6:02)

    PERFECT! :-)

    You just wrote your own obituary!

    Now I won’t have to waste any brain cells thinking about what to write about YOU in ’10…

    Although it IS technically spring at present…Eh well…I’ll have to waste a little energy changing a few syllables or consonants…

    I hope AL GORE won’t mind as he SEARS along the atmosphere in his jets presching to the unwashed masses…

  21. gloppie says:

    Ritholtz is cool !

  22. john6pack says:

    Barry Ritholtz,

    I’ve been lurking a few months now. Congratulations on the book. My only issue is why couldn’t you have written it last summer – this stuff has been coming to a head for years right? I frequently post on a buy-and-hold forum. For half of ’07 and all of ’08, one poster on this forum consistently told the rest of us we were nuts. I PM’d the guy (a regular commenter on your blog) and asked him to recommend one book to read explaining his position. I’m trained as a scientist but knew little at the time about the Fed, credit bubbles, etc. He told me he couldn’t recommend a book that laid it all out, but pointed me to the Big Picture and its blogroll.

    Call me old-fashioned, or skeptical of this new medium, but I wasn’t able to glean a coherent thesis for why I should be out of the market from a smattering of blog posts. I don’t blame anyone else – you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. But I sure could have used this book last summer though.

    BTW, I remain 100% long, and my 401k which became a 201k is now more like a 301k. I keep my finger on the bail-out trigger though, but so far I’m glad I’ve ignored all the “looks like the smart money is headed for exits” calls in the comments section this last two months. Time will tell.

  23. One day, I will do my behind the scenes of the publishing world expose…

  24. Andy T says:

    The only thing I would take exception with is being called “sassy.” Down here in these parts, a man wouldn’t like be referred to as “sassy.” Ha.

    Many congrats on turning out a great book…. AT.

  25. Cursive says:


    Welcome to the best financial blog on the web. If you think the board seems overly bearish, please ask your inner-self what has happened since 2003. Meditate on that for a while. Think about the mortgage equity withdrawals that sustained our economy since 2001. Think about the mountain of debt, public and private, that towers high above us; then look at the rise in the yield of the 10-yr. note today.

    Think about how corporate managements, whether they be financial firms or otherwise or both (think GE or Enron), have used every attempt to inflate their stock price using any combination of leverage and financial engineering. Think about the rampant lies of Angelo Mozilo, Jimmy Cayne, Franklan Raines, etc. (not even mentioning Bernie Madoff or Allen Stanford) and the duplicity of the our government agencies run by Ben Bernanke and Paulson/Geithner. Think about Goldman Sachs. You could cave your head in, thinking about GS!

    Let all of this stew inside your head. Then, make a plan to start unwinding your investments. Feel uneasy? Make a resolution to sell 10% the first time. You’ll love it. It’s very liberating.

  26. Timodee says:

    Heard you on NPR today – great (but short) interview – congrats!

  27. drollere says:

    congratulations on the book, barry. it’s bound to heap treasure on your business and i hope also bring many of those sweet investor colloquies by the resort swimming pool, cocktail in hand and rapt attention all around you. there’s still tons of wealth out there, and madoff left a hole of trust that your generation has the privilege to repair.

  28. drollere says:

    re macke … drugs? overwork? seething rage? i think he is trying to say that it’s all a little too complicated for his bald head to comprehend … or that he’s seen what is going on behind the scenes, and it’s driven him insane!

    either way, if *i* were management, i’d can his ass before he took off his lapel mike.

  29. deanscamaro says:

    Boy, this better be good, Barry. I just spent my hard earned money (what was left after bailing out the banks) to buy your book from Amazon after bailing out the banks. Just kidding. Good luck with sales.

  30. Graphite says:

    I’ll have to wait to see what Barry says in his book, but frankly RR’s made out like bandits on government subsidies.

    Except, of course, for James J. Hill’s Great Northern, which was built entirely without public subsidy. Having failed to genuflect to the new progressive masters in Washington, Hill’s railroad was naturally sued by antitrust regulators.

  31. kmayer98 says:

    Great book, so far. Well worth ordering it from Amazon three times.

  32. Dude says:

    How about a Kindle edition so I can read it on my iPhone?