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Download Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America, by Matt Taibbi Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,354 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matt Taibbi Narrator: Patrick Egan Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The dramatic story behind the most audacious power grab in American history
The financial crisis that exploded in 2008 isn’t past but prologue. The stunning rise, fall, and rescue of Wall Street in the bubble-and-bailout era was the coming-out party for the network of looters who sit at the nexus of American political and economic power. The grifter class—made up of the largest players in the financial industry and the politicians who do their bidding—has been growing in power for a generation, transferring wealth upward through increasingly complex financial mechanisms and political maneuvers. The crisis was only one terrifying manifestation of how they’ve hijacked America’s political and economic life.

Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi here unravels the whole fiendish story, digging beyond the headlines to get into the deeper roots and wider implications of the rise of the grifters. He traces the movement’s origins to the cult of Ayn Rand and her most influential—and possibly weirdest—acolyte, Alan Greenspan, and offers fresh reporting on the backroom deals that decided the winners and losers in the government bailouts. He uncovers the hidden commodities bubble that transferred billions of dollars to Wall Street while creating food shortages around the world, and he shows how finance dominates politics, from the story of investment bankers auctioning off America’s infrastructure to an inside account of the high-stakes battle for health-care reform—a battle the true reformers lost. Finally, he tells the story of Goldman Sachs, the “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.” 

Taibbi has combined deep sources, trailblazing reportage, and provocative analysis to create the most lucid, emotionally galvanizing, and scathingly funny account yet written of the ongoing political and financial crisis in America. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the labyrinthine inner workings of politics and finance in this country and the profound consequences for us all.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Taibbi chronicles the corruption of the political process with indignation and dark humor. The takeaway? Be angry, but blame the right culprits.”


  • “A stinging new history of the financial crisis that heralds a return of Menckenesque, dirt-under-the-fingernails American journalism.”


  • “A relentlessly disturbing, penetrating exploration of the root causes of the trauma that upended economic security in millions of American homes…a full-scale indictment of Wall Street and Washington.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Matt Taibbi is [Hunter S.] Thompson’s heir…[Griftopia] is the most lucid, justifiably angry description of what happened and what continues to happen to our nation’s economy.”

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

  • “Delving into complicated financial history and lingo, Taibbi deftly lays the subject bare, rendering heretofore dense subject matter simple without being simplistic…Taibbi asserts that the collusion between Wall Street and the White House has effectively turned the United States into a massive casino, in which working Americans are regularly bilked out of their savings and homes while the wealthy are repeatedly rewarded for their graft. It’s an important and worthy read but not for the Randian disciple or Goldman-Sachs alum.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A blistering examination of the upheaval that has roiled the American economic system over the past several years. At the heart of the upheaval, he says, is a vein of greed running up and down the real-estate industry, from mortgage brokers who falsified customer loan applications to banks that parceled out mortgages to second and third parties to rating agencies that signed off on highly suspect loans. Taibbi saves a good deal of venom for former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, arguing that Greenspan’s philosophy of easy cash, limited government oversight of markets, and bailing out ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions all fueled the recent economic meltdown. And Taibbi profiles a recently passed health-care bill severely compromised by an all-powerful insurance lobby. As critical as he is of the process—a process not likely to get fixed any time soon—he doesn’t seem to carry an agenda; instead, like any good investigative reporter, he mostly follows his nose.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A ticked-off field guide to modern America, a place where the con artists of high finance call the shots…The author writes with populist fervor, but with the left-trending populism of an Upton Sinclair rather than a Father Coughlin…Taibbi writes carefully about such things as the way that ‘gamblers disguised as Wall Street broker’ manipulate commodities to the exclusive benefit of the small capitalist—grifter, that is—class. Meaty food for thought, steeped in righteous bile.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “The outrageous, unchecked greed and power of financial industry behemoths like Goldman Sachs and AIG are meticulously and succinctly described…Taibbi’s glib prose is punctuated with just enough irreverence and wit to allow him to appeal to more casual readers while providing sufficient detail to satisfy those looking for a serious discussion of the high-level manipulation of the economy.”

    Library Journal

  • “Think you understood the Wall Street collapse and what’s going on in America? Listen to Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia, and you’ll realize two things: You don’t have a clue what happened, and things are worse than either the right or the left can imagine. Taibbi, a contributing editor to Rolling Stone, explains that the reason people aren’t gathered outside Wall Street institutions with pitchforks and torches is that the financial system has been deliberately made so complex that few understand it. Patrick Egan performs the book with a voice that sounds like a man barely keeping his rage inside, a style that is the perfect for this story of theft, deceit, and betrayal. It’s still happening. This is a true crime story.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Nick | 2/19/2014

    " The chapter about Greenspan and his relationship with Ayn Rand was the highlight of the book in my opinion. It gave me a good idea of how a lot of the current administration and the corporations see the world- A giant sponge that they will stop at nothing to squeeze every last drop of water from. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Steve | 2/11/2014

    " I have read several books about the financial crisis--and we are still in the middle of it--but none with the impact of this one. Read this book. Read about the crimes of Wall Street, including insider trading, fraud, bribery, extortion, etc., and the unholy alliance of Wall Street and Washington.. Read how all of us taxpayers were screwed in the 2008 bailout to make sure that Wall Street bankers could keep getting six-figure bonuses. Read about the lies of Obamacare, which did not even remove the anti-trust exemption of the insurance industry, but instead guaranteed it millions of new customers and more taxpayer subsidies. Read how Wall Street has systematically jacked up oil prices over the past 8-10 years, and then read how Chicago, Indiana and many other jurisdictions have sold pieces of American Sovereignty to foreign investors (with large fees to Wall Street), whose funds come primarily from American oil purchases. Read how the Tea Party is subsidized by Wall Street as a diversion to the real issues, and how elections are nothing but Wall Street Democrats vs. Wall Street Republicans. We are all screwed, and you will want to kill someone from Goldman Sachs. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by William Ward | 2/11/2014

    " A nice summation of the real causes of the financial crises, written by one of my favorite Rolling Stone political reporters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Brett | 2/3/2014

    " This book was infuriating! It's a a shame to read about the severity of the crimes committed and know that everyone got away. "

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