Financial Crisis Reading List

If you feel like you don't understand much about the megabanks and the financial crisis, start here.

Even if you choose just one book from this list or listen to one podcast, you'll know more about what's happening than many people do. 


This American Life 

The Giant Pool of Money "A special program about the housing crisis produced in a special collaboration with NPR News. We explain it all to you. What does the housing crisis have to do with the turmoil on Wall Street? Why did banks make half-million dollar loans to people without jobs or income?"

Return to the Giant Pool of Money "In which we mark the anniversary of the economic collapse and the anniversary of Planet Money: Recapping some of the original episode, The Giant Pool of Money, and finding out what's happened to all those guys in the year since."

Another Frightening Show about the Economy "Alex Blumberg and NPR's Adam Davidson—the two guys who reported our Giant Pool of Money episode—are back, in collaboration with the Planet Money podcast."

EconTalk with Russ Roberts

Interview with Simon Johnson "Johnson argues that the financial sector has captured the regulatory process and the result is that regulation and government intervention have been steered more by the interests of the financial sector than to the benefit of the general public."

Interview with Nassim Taleb "Taleb talks about how we can cope with our ignorance and uncertainty in a complex world." 



Inside Job documentary

Addendum to Inside Job (YouTube)

Money, Power, & Wall Street PBS Documentary (PBS online)

PBS Frontline documentary “The Warning" (PBS online)

Meltdown (YouTube)

High-frequency trading (CBS) (YouTube)

Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street (YouTube)




"Very Risky Business - Derivatives" Senator Byron Dorgan, Washington Monthly - Oct 1994

Warren Buffet's 2002 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders where he describes derivatives on page 15 as “financial weapons of mass destruction.” 

"The End of the Financial World as We Know It" Michael Lewis & David Einhorn, NYTimes - Jan 2009

"Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street" Felix Salmon, Wired - Feb 2009

Algorithms Take Control of Wall Street Felix Salmon & Jon Stokes Wired - Dec 2010

"Why This Entrepreneur Is Having a Sleepless Night" Paul Allen, blog post - May 2010

Testimony of Eric Dinallo, former insurance regulator in New York State, before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Dinallo explains how AIG would have been safer with the original Glass-Steagall law - July 2010

Wiki - Derivatives

Wiki - Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 

Wiki - Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999

Wiki - Commidity Futures Modernization Act of 2000



Arranged roughly in order of mass appeal to nerd appeal. But who are we kidding? They all have nerd appeal.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine: (2011) Michael Lewis

Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World (2011) Michael Lewis

Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street (2012) Neil Barofsky, former special inspector general in charge of oversight of TARP 

Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street From Wall Street and Wall Street From Itself (2012) Sheila Bair, former FDIC chair

A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers (2010) Lawrence McDonald

Infectious Greed: How Deceit and Risk Corrupted the Financial Markets (2003) Frank Partnoy, San Diego University law professor and former derivatives trader 

Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America (2012) Charles Ferguson

Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President (2012) Ron Suskind

Too Big To Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System—and Themselves (2011) Andrew Sorkin 

Throw Them All Out (2011) Peter Schweitzer 

All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis (2010) Joe Nocera & Bethany McLean

Reckless Endangerment (2011) Gretchen Morgenson & Joshua Rogner

Trillion-Dollar Meltdown (2008), Charles Smith, financial reporter

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World (2008) Niall Ferguson

13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown (2010) Simon Johnson & James Kwak

Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress and a Plan to Stop It (2011) Lawrence Lessig

A Demon of our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation (2007) Richard Bookstaber, former chief risk officer for major investment banks, currently employed by SEC

Fool's Gold: The Inside Story of JPMorgan (2009) Gillian Tett, reporter for the Financial Times

Guns, Traders, and Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives (2010) Satyajit Das, expert in derivatives

Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance (2010) Nouriel Roubini & Stephen Mihm  

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite (2010) Sebastian Mallaby

Senate Investigative Committee 300 page report (2011)

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report (2011) 

This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (2011) Carmen Reinhart & Kenneth Rogoff

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