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Download House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street, by William D. Cohan Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,700 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William D. Cohan Narrator: Alan Sklar Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Written with the novelistic verve and insider knowledge that made The Last Tycoons a New York Times bestseller and a prizewinner, House of Cards is a chilling cautionary tale about greed, arrogance, and stupidity in the financial world—and the consequences for all of us.

In March 2008, Bear Stearns, a swashbuckling eighty-four-year-old financial institution, was forced to sell itself to JPMorgan Chase for an outrageously low price in a deal brokered by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who was desperately trying to prevent the impending catastrophic market crash. But mere months before, an industry-wide boom had “the Bear” clocking a record-high stock price. How did a giant investment bank with $18 billion in cash on hand disappear in a mere ten days? In this tour de force, Cohan provides a minute-by-minute account of the events that brought America’s second Gilded Age to an end.

Filled with intimate portraits of the major players, high-end gossip, and smart financial analysis, House of Cards recounts in detailed narrative form the dramatic events behind the fall of Bear Stearns and what it revealed about the financial world’s progression from irrational boom to cataclysmic bust. House of Cards is the Rosetta stone for understanding the dramatic and unprecedented events that have reshaped Wall Street and global finance in recent years.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Fascinating.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A riveting blow-by-blow account.”

    Economist (London)

  • “Cohen’s autopsy uncovers all the symptoms of a walking disaster.”


  • “This volume turns complex Wall Street maneuverings into high drama that is gripping—and almost immediately comprehensible—to the lay reader…Mr. Cohan writes with an insider’s knowledge of the workings of Wall Street, a reporter’s investigative instincts, and a natural storyteller’s narrative command…makes for riveting, edge-of-the-seat reading.”

    New York Times

  • “An authoritative, blow-by-blow account of the collapse of Bear Stearns.”

    Washington Post

  • “Cohan vividly documents the mix of arrogance, greed, recklessness, and pettiness that took down the eighty-six-year-old brokerage house and then the entire economy. It’s a page-turner…offering both a seemingly comprehensive understanding of the business and wide access to insiders…Hard to put down.”

    Bloomberg Businessweek

  • “Masterfully reported…[Cohan] does a brilliant job of sketching in the eccentric, vulgar, greedy, profane, and coarse individuals who ignored all these warnings to their own profit and the ruin of so many others.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Cohan’s epic account chronicles a watershed moment in Wall Street history.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Alan Sklar is the perfect narrator for conveying the tough vernacularism of these (almost entirely) male voices. The cast is large, hard to keep track of, and through the book’s long first part—a ‘minute-by-minute’ reconstruction of the collapse—each voice recounts a variation on the same basic epiphany: ‘We’re finished.’ The voices merge into one, and what comes across most distinctly is Sklar’s rendition of the Wall Street personality: brusque, cynical, assured to the point of arrogance—the voice of hubris. Finalist for the Audie Award.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Finalist for the 2010 Audie Award for Best Business/Educational Narration
  • A 2009 Time Magazine Best Book in Business

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Derek | 2/3/2014

    " This book covers way too much extraneous detail. Very antiseptic, "facts-only" storytelling style, which makes for a rather boring read given the subject matter. In other words, the book could have been written in bullet-point form and it would have worked just as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by K | 2/1/2014

    " A somewhat technical book on the rise and fall of Bear Sterns which helped bring the current economic troubles to light. What is unbelievable is what the company (and others) were doing for years that no one tried to stop. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Amanda | 1/11/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book about the rise and fall of Bear, Stearns & Co. Not only was it an interesting story with a pretty rich cast of characters, but I liked that the author assumed that I was smart and didn't talk down to the reader, yet explained things in a way that even without a trading background, the reader is able to follow along and better understand what happened. Very interesting take on a very interesting time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Christopher Culp | 1/8/2014

    " I have no idea how accurate the book is, but it's a well-written description of the rise and fall of Bear Stearns. I didn't quite like all of his political and policy commentary, but he didn't attempt to conceal his rhetoric as fact. "

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