This year, 2018, marks the tenth anniversary of the epicenter of the financial crisis of 2008. The crisis is not something to celebrate, only remember soberly. Memories are short. The crisis was devastating. Moreover, crises will recur: we cannot prevent, only mitigate. Therefore, we should take this opportunity to reflect on the crisis, to learn from it, and to resolve to do better in the future.
At the University of Virginia, some 25 colleagues and I are engaged in a months-long retrospective project on the crisis. This consists of presentations, conferences, and the development of new teaching materials and a new course for students across the University. The following list of “notable books” is a small contribution to the retrospective project, intended to answer the students’ inevitable hunger for more to read on the subject. I have read each one (to varying degrees of detail) and commend them all, not because I agree with them (indeed, I take serious issue with some of them) but because each is important for some special perspective or insight about the causes and consequences of the crisis. Much more will be written about the crisis because its effects are lingering and archives, diaries, and memoirs will eventually open up. Therefore, this list is merely a snapshot of the notable books at November 2018.
I recommend that the reader take a systematic approach to this literature. Begin by getting an historical overview of the crisis (see the Histories). Then read some of the memoirs to get a feeling for what it was like “on the ground” during the crisis (see the Memoirs). Finally, to build your point of view about the crisis, read some of the volumes that argue why the crisis happened and what we should do about it (see Analyses and Policy Recommendations). Each category lists the books alphabetically by author. However, if you have time for only one book in each category, I have underlined my recommendation for you.
Read about the financial crisis of 2008 and grow wiser.
- Blinder, Alan, 2013, After the Music Stopped, New York: Penguin.
- Irwin, Neil, The Alchemists: Three Central Banks and a World on Fire, New York: Penguin.
- Gramlich, Edward, 2007, Subprime Mortgages: America’s Latest Boom and Bust, Cambridge: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
- Lewis, Michael, 2010, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, New York: Norton.
- McLean, Bethany and Joseph Nocera (2010) All the Devils are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis, New York: Penguin Group, Portfolio/Penguin.
- Sorkin, Andrew Ross, 2009, Too Big to Fail, New York: Viking.
- Tooze, Adam, Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World, New York: Viking.
- Bair, Sheila, 2012, Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself, New York: Simon & Schuster.
- Barofsky, Neil, 2012, Bailout: How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street, New York: Free Press.
- Bernanke, Ben, 2015, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath, New York: Norton.
- Booth, Danielle DiMartino, 2017, FED UP: An Insider’s Take on Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America, New York: Penguin/Portfolio.
- Bush, George W., 2010, Decision Points, New York: Crown Publishers.
- Cheney, Dick, 2011, In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, New York: Threshold Editions.
- Darling, Alistair, 2012, Back from the Brink: 1000 Days at Number 11, New York: Atlantic Books.
- Frank, Barney, 2015, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
- Geithner, Timothy, 2014, Stress Test, New York: Crown Publishers.
- King, Mervyn, 2016, The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy, New York: W.W. Norton.
- Paulson, Henry, 2010, On the Brink, New York: BusinessPlus.
- Rattner, Steven, 2010, Overhaul: An Insider’s Account of the Obama Administration’s Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
- Varoufakis, Yanis, 2017, Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
- Volcker, Paul, with Christine Harper, 2018, Keeping At It: The Quest for Sound Money and Good Government, New York: Public Affairs.
- Warren, Elizabeth, 2014, A Fighting Chance, New York: Henry Holt and Company.
Analyses and Policy Recommendations
- Admati, Anat, and Martin Hellwig, 2013, The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It, Princeton: Princeton University Press
- Allison, John, 2014, The Leadership Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why the Future of Business Depends on the Return to Live, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
- Angelides, Philip, Chairman, 2011, The Financial Crisis Inquiry Report, Washington D.C.
- Ball, Laurence, The Fed and Lehman Brothers: Setting the Record Straight on a Financial Disaster, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
- Bayoumi, Tamim, 2017, Unfinished Business: The Unexplored Causes of the Financial Crisis and the Lessons Yet to Be Learned, New Haven: Yale University Press.
- Bernanke, Ben S., 2013, The Federal Reserve and the Financial Crisis, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Calomiris, C. W., & Haber, S. H. (2014). Fragile by design: the political origins of banking crises and scarce credit. Princeton University Press.
- Dalio, Ray, 2018, A Template for Understanding Big Debt Crises, Westport, CT: Bridgewater Associates.
- Day, Kathleen, 2018, Broken Bargain: Bankers, Bailouts, and the Struggle to Tame Wall Street, New Haven CT: Yale University Press.
- Eichengreen, Barry, 2015, Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, the Great Recession, and the Uses—and Misuses—of History, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Eichengreen, Barry, 2018, The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Eisinger, Jesse, 2017, The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives, New York: Simon & Schuster.
- Gennaioli, Nicola, and Andrei Shleifer, 2018, A Crisis of Beliefs: Investor Psychology and Financial Fragility, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Gorton, Gary B., 2012, Misunderstanding Financial Crises: Why We Don’t See Them Coming, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Gorton, Gary B., 2010, Slapped by the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Johnson, Simon and James Kwak, 2010, 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown, New York: Random House, Pantheon Books.
- Keen, Steve, 2017, Can We Avoid Another Financial Crisis? Malden: Policy Press.
- King, Mervyn, 2016, The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking and the Future of the Global Economy, New York: Norton.
- Mian, Atif, and Amir Sufi, 2014, House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent It from Happening Again, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Rajan, Raghuram, 2010, Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Reinhart, C.M. and Rogoff, K.S., (2011), This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Ricks, Morgan, 2016, The Money Problem: Rethinking Financial Regulation, Chicago: University of Chicago Press
- Roubini, Nouriel, and Stephen Mihm, 2010, Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance, New York: Penguin Press.
- Scott, Hal S., 2016, Connectedness and Contagion: Protecting the Financial System from Panics, Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
- Shiller, Robert, 2008, The Subprime Solution: How Today’s Global Financial Crisis Happened and What to Do about It. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Shiller, Robert, 2016, Irrational Exuberance, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Skeel, David, 2010, The New Financial Deal: Understanding the Dodd-Frank Act and Its (Unintended) Consequences, Hoboken NJ: Wiley.
- Taleb, Nassim Nicholas, 2012, Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder, New York: Random House.
- Tucker, Paul, Unelected Power: The Quest for Legitimacy in Central Banking and the Regulatory State, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2018.
- Turner, Adair, 2016, Between Debt and the Devil: Money, Credit, and Fixing Global Finance, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Wallach, Philip A., To the Edge: Legality, Legitimacy, and the Responses to the 2008 Financial Crisis, Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press 2015.
- Wallison, Peter J., 2015, Hidden in Plain Sight: What Really Caused the World’s Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again, New York: Encounter books.
- Wolf, Martin, 2015, The Shifts and the Shocks: What We’ve Learned—and Have Still to Learn—from the Financial Crisis, New York: Penguin Books.