- Paperback: 592 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (May 5, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0804138613
- ISBN-13: 978-0804138611
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 510 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises Paperback – May 5, 2015
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A Financial Times Best Book of 2014
“He’s written a really good book — we might as well get that out of the way, as so much else about Timothy F. Geithner remains unsettled… There’s hardly a moment in Geithner’s story when the reader feels he is being anything but straightforward — a near-superhuman feat for someone who spent so much time in public life defending himself from careless and dishonest personal attacks. The decisions he made are easier to criticize than they are to improve upon. I doubt many readers will put his book down and think the man did anything but his best. On his feet he might have stammered and wavered. That in itself was always a sign he was unusually brave.” –Michael Lewis, New York Times Book Review
“An intimate take on the financial crisis… gripping… conveys in visceral terms just how precarious things were during the crisis, just how frightened many first responders were, and just what an achievement it was to avert a major depression… [Geithner] demonstrates that he can discuss economics in an accessible fashion, making the situation the country faced in 2008 and 2009 tactile, comprehensible—and harrowing—to the lay reader. Along the way, he also gives us a telling portrait of himself.” –New York Times
“A how-to manual for anyone faced with a financial crisis… Mr Geithner was known for his brutal candor, and as an author, he does not disappoint.” —The Economist
“A fascinating memoir about life in the maelstrom of the financial crisis… Earlier books have described much of what happened that September, but Geithner was present for all the frantic meetings, the thousands of phone calls — and in the case of Lehman, the failure to find a buyer that could keep it alive. New problems cropped up almost weekly, if not daily. He explains each in easy-to-understand language and what the issues were that shaped the responses… There could be another crisis someday, of course, but what Geithner and his colleagues did has made one far less likely.” –USA Today
“Sharply worded and candid memoir.” —Financial Times
“Geithner does an admirable job of explaining the origins and complexities of the crisis for the average person. But there’s enough detail and retrospective lessons-learned to make it valuable for students of financial history….fast-paced and colorful….Stress Test goes beyond other crisis books.” –Los Angeles Times
“Throughout Stress Test, one gains a deep appreciation for the heart-pumping decisions made by Geithner and his colleagues from 2007 through 2012. And he makes a compelling case that overhwelming force is necessary in crisis, and that the measures taken by the Fed and two successive administrations prevented even more pain for ordinary Americans.” –WashingtonPost.com
“An unsparing insider’s account of the financial crisis from the former Secretary of the Treasury, unpacking the hard decisions and terrible trade-offs that devastated the economy but staved off a deep, lasting depression.” —TIME.com
“The central irony of Stress Test, the new memoir by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, is that a guy who was accused of being a lousy communicator while in office has penned a book that is such a good read…I’ve now read four or five of these first drafts of the history of the Great Recession, and I believe Stress Test represents the biggest contribution of the bunch.” —Bill Gates
“Sensational . . . Tim’s book will forever be the definitive work on what causes financial panics and what must be done to stem them when they occur.” —Warren Buffett
“Very few important subjects in American history have been the subject of as much disinformation and deliberate distortion as the events surrounding the financial crisis that broke in 2008. Tim Geithner’s candid, clear-headed, and refreshingly self-effacing account of his role in formulating the federal government’s response is a very welcome antidote. Geithner’s book is a triple threat: it is first-rate economic history, insightful political science, and, most important, a cogent exposition of the importance of adhering to the policies adopted in the aftermath of the crisis if we are to succeed in diminishing the likelihood of any recurrence.” —Barney Frank
“Stress Test is an absolutely compelling account of the financial crisis, written in a clear, graceful style with striking honesty at every step along the way. Timothy Geithner brings a complex story to life with telling anecdotes and personal reflections.” —Doris Kearns Goodwin
“This is a lucid, fascinating, and extremely important book. Every American should read it. Geithner does something unusual: he engages in substance. With both insight and humility, plus a good dose of wry humor, he explains what really happened during the financial crisis. No matter your political persuasion, you will find this book educational, enlightening, and interesting.” —Walter Isaacson
“The country owes Tim Geithner great appreciation for his role in overcoming the financial crisis of 2008. He has now indebted it further with writing a thoughtful, very readable and informative account of the conduct of policy at the edge of disaster.” —Henry A. Kissinger
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
TIMOTHY F. GEITHNER was the seventy-fifth secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and previously served as president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He wrote this book as a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
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To my surprise, Geithner comes across as very likable. Of course, likability is not a critical characteristic for a great Treasury Secretary. However, it's a necessary and maybe even a critical characteristic if you're going to read a 500-page book by a Treasury Secretary; had I found him obnoxious, I doubt I would have finished this (and you can see my review of "Duty" by Robert Gates for proof of that). Geithner comes across as extremely intelligent but not at all a "peacock," to use one of his words. He readily admits that he screwed up in many ways, and he makes no bones about his failings. At the same time, he takes us through the panics (his own and that of the economy) and his approach to his responsibilities, and he seems to be, well, human.
The book is also not even remotely snarky. He is candid in expressing his views of a number of other key players in dealing with the meltdown, and he's not always complimentary. However, his views are policy-based rather than personal, and he doesn't shy away from giving credit where credit is due to people he's not fond of from a policy point of view.
I also learned a lot about the financial crisis that I didn't learn from the other books I've read. Much of that new knowledge is the "inside story" that Geithner tells, of course, but it's an interesting and important story, and I found him more or less persuasive.
My comment about the sausage-making is the only negative. In order to tell the inside story he feels he must tell (and I can't really blame him for wanting to tell it), he gives lots and lots of detail about various financial institutions' failures and rescues and many details of how the policies (i.e., the sausage) was made. IMHO, these lengthy discussions could have been edited a bit more judiciously, and doing so would have made the book more readable (not that it's unreadable - it's just long and rather too detailed). However, while I've deducted one star to reflect this view, I believe this is a worthy book and, in fact, a worthy man.
This book should not be taken as "stand-alone" but read in the context of all the other ones out there about the crisis itself. It helps one to form their opinions in a clear and more fair way in my opinion.
Finally, this book also help show that the work of the Treasury, Federal Reserve, and other institutions that prevented the crisis relied on countless individuals who never get recognized for their hard work and countless hours helping make this country better. My admiration and gratitude only got bigger after reading this account.