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Summary

There was no single, dramatic event that set the current financial crisis off. A whole series of very questionable decisions by many people, in many places, over a period of years, built up the pressures that led to a sudden collapse of the housing market and of financial institutions that began to fall like dominoes as a result of investing in securities based on housing prices.

This book is designed to unravel the tangled threads of that story. It also attempts to determine whether what is being done to deal with the problem is more likely to make things better or worse.

©2009 Thomas Sowell (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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"Among economists of the past thirty years, [Sowell] stands very proud indeed." ( Wall Street Journal)

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Oh how I was wrong

I was so very wrong about the reasons for the 2007 financial and housing crash, I've read many Thomas Sowell books and I always leave with hmm so that's the truth of it.

Brilliant insights on human made housing bubble.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Adolphe
  • 04-08-09

Inciteful Non partisan blame

I read other reviews of this book before buying. The ones who rated it poorly seemed never to have read the book in its entirety.
Mr Sowell is a gifted communicator. He backs up his view with facts and statistics. He implicates those who deserve blame regardless of political affiliation, or business affiliation. He calls it like he sees it and I concur with the evidenciary findings he brings to light.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • AndyK
  • 07-03-11

Informative, especially for this liberal listener

I was reluctant to hear Sowell due to his right leaning, and my left leaning, politics. But I am very glad I did. His book is very clearly written. While I did not agree with all of his suppositions and conclusions, I found them to be well reasoned and supported. I also found his tone to be far less severe than I feared. He does not treat the left with kid gloves, but he does not employ the hyperbole and theatrics of other current conservative authors. Most important is that I feel much more informed, and curious, about economics and politics as a whole after having listened to this book. Any book that held my attention though out, and inspired me to ask more questions and seek more information, is a 4-5 star listen for me. What makes this one a 5 star listen is the excellent narration by Robertson Dean (who kept reminding me of a serious Elliot Gould).

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gail
  • 20-11-09

Explains the Bust

Provides a lot of details on how we ended up in this housing trouble. There's a lot more to it than I realized.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Roy
  • 02-06-09

Right to the Point

Thomas Sowell has his detractors, but this is another of his books well worth reading whatever your point of view. Essentially he sets out to explain how the Housting Boom came about and what the resulting Bust means to the average American. He is best when he describes the affordable housing movement and its ramifications. His point of view may not appeal, but his analysis and presentation can't be faulted.

If you are scratching your head about the current real estate problem - start here.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Eunice
  • 20-07-09

Dr. Sowell does what the media SHOULD do

Dr. Thomas Sowell is a national treasure, in my estimation. This book gives the origins of the current housing "bust" and recession his usual thorough treatment. His text is clear and concise, his facts well documented, and his logic brilliant. The Washington politicos and the mainstream media have blamed the crisis on Wall Street, but Dr. Sowell digs deeper. This is an extremely important book. We in the voting public need to be educated now more than ever, looking further down the road than tomorrow when making political decisions. Dr. Sowell teaches a long term view of things, and The Housing Boom and Bust is a timely lesson. Very, very highly recommend.

Also recommended by Dr. Sowell: Applied Economics, Black Rednecks and White Liberals, Quest for Cosmic Justice. All excellent.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Barry
  • 19-10-12

Yet another biased review of the housing crisis

I guess you could say I was tricked into getting this book. I had been looking for a book that gave an in depth layout of all that happened during the housing crisis and saw several very positive reviews from other members saying the author was very in depth and unbiased in his account. I already had a good understanding of it from some of the other books and essays I've read on the subject but was hoping to find something that really went in depth and covered all aspects, this book did not even come close

I will admit, the author did make some good points in regards to things like the unwarranted push to end discrimination of minorities in mortgages or how section 8 vouchers are not really needed and only tend to bring down an area(I've lived in an area like that, it happens). However, he fails to bring up, or downplays some very large causes like the creation of credit default swaps or the repeal of Glass-Steagall(which was not even mentioned!!!). He used a lot of cherry-picked facts to portray the banks as being almost without fault and the government without benefit to support his cause and to make it sound like he was thorough in his research. There was even a chapter solely devoted to how the Government solely caused the Great Depression and then how FDR made everything worse by trying to help. Now granted, there is some truth to the role of the Government in causing the Great Depression, but there is a great deal of debate among economists as to how much and whether FDR did help or not. The problem I have with him is that he displayed his opinion as an absolute fact rather than tell the whole story.

Overall, this is just another case someone having an opinion and then finding ways to manipulate facts and ignore others to try to prove his point. He does point out that he was one of the few that predicted the housing crash, but one correct prediction does not mean that everything else you say is the absolute truth. I would imagine that someone who perhaps enjoys listening to Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh would also enjoy this book, but for those looking for a serious evaluation of the housing crisis and the following recession should look elsewhere. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find someone who is truly unbiased on their assessment of the issues we have been facing.

The final thought I want to leave you with is this. Macroeconomics is an infinitely complex and still fairly poorly understood science. The recent housing crisis and recession is also incredibly complex. How in the world can you expect to explain it thoroughly in a mere 4 1/2 hours?

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • joe blower
  • 29-12-09

very good

Another great book by Thomas Sowell.
I have read most of his writings. The clarity of his thoughts and his intelligence is amazing.
Another classic for the 'weekend' economist.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tim E. Higgins
  • 29-06-09

Sowell Makes it Clear

In this short (192 pages) explanation of the roots of our current economic situation economist Thomas Sowell cuts through all the obfuscation and spin with a meticulously documented and easily followed narrative. If you are interested in a coherent, step-by-step description of how we got to a world economic order undermined by "toxic assets" then Sowell's book is for you.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom Seest
  • 28-05-09

Comprehensive Overview of the Problem

I read (listened) to the entire book. Not only does it outline in detail the players (in both major political parties) that brought about the problem, Dr. Sowell does an excellent job in outlining the many causes for the boom, and then subsequent bust. He also discusses in detail, options that may, or may not help solve the problem in the long term.

This book is well worth the price of purchase, and well worth the time spent reading (listening) to it.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Doug
  • 24-12-12

Excellent but incomplete

Thomas Sowell does just what you would expect him to--get right at the root problem of the financial crisis with all the important facts, lucid analysis, and clean prose. In that sense, this book is the definitive overview of the genesis and trigger of the 2008 financial crisis.

On the other hand, I was disappointed that he did not go into the derivative problem--what the finance industry ("Wall Street") engineered out of the underlying fundamental mortgage securities, and the collusive relationship of that end of the industry with Washington DC.

Whereas Sowell's treatment of the primary phenomenon is outstanding, he seems uninterested in the secondary problem, remarking in passing that if everybody had kept paying their mortgages, there would not have been a problem. In that sense, this book is a missed opportunity for one of the finest minds of our time to fully analyze the financial crisis.

2 people found this helpful