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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 Audiobook, by William D. Cohan Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.4 out of 53.4 out of 53.4 out of 53.4 out of 53.4 out of 5 3.40 (30 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William D. Cohan Narrator: Alan Sklar Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2009 ISBN: 9781400181681
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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 delicious 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 the unprecedented events that have reshaped Wall Street and global finance in the past two years. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • [A] fascinating tale. The Wall Street Journal
  • “Fascinating.”

    Wall Street Journal

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

    Economist (London)

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

    Newsweek

  • “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.”

    AudioFile

  • 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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tia | 1/3/2014

    " the first part of this book was a good description of the fall of Bear Stearns; unfortunately I had to return it to the Seattle Public Library before I could finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kenny Gardner | 12/24/2013

    " Somewhat repetitive but enjoyable nonetheless. Paints a good picture of the final days of Bear Sterns. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 12/22/2013

    " Great account of the fall of Bear Stearns and a look back at the firm's history/management which all contributed to their ultimate demise. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stuart | 12/22/2013

    " "A well-written and engrossing account of the history of Bear Stearns from it's bruised-knuckle beginnings to its fixed-income heyday and final sudden downfall as it bet the house on subprime-mortgage backed securities. The final negotiations to save the firm from death are gripping and occupy the final third of the book." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Davidcard | 12/15/2013

    " Some of this book was over my head, but the general point was pretty clear. A complex, but good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Burke | 10/28/2013

    " I only finished maybe half of the book. Very interesting but super detailed. It's worth trying to read to see how a crisis of confidence caused everything to come crashing down, and makes you wonder what is truly holding up our entire financial system. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dean Economy | 9/26/2013

    " Very good book about the fall of Bear Stearns and good insight to hedge funds on wall street and how they effect the market. The book was a few hundred pages too long. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Morris | 9/11/2013

    " Excellent account of the Bear Stearns debacle. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandy | 6/26/2013

    " I thought this was excellent book about the downfall of Bear Stearns. It reads as though you are there during the activites. This is actually 4 1/2 stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ollie | 4/2/2013

    " A great and remarkably detailed account of the history and demise of Bear Sterns. Makes you wish other books about the Wall Street debacle would take the time to explain it step by step like this book does. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Questionfear | 9/30/2012

    " A bit dry at times, but overall if you're interested in the financial crisis a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 8/9/2012

    " I liked this book, but not enough to finish it once I got into the 'How Bear Stearns became Bear Stearns' part. Too many people to keep straight. The first part that goes through the week leading up to their downfall was really good, esp the part about how little the Board seemed to care. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Seth Assink | 7/7/2012

    " This book was vert informative. It really my kept my attention from beginning to end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hana | 5/19/2012

    " Fascinating and deliciously gossipy, but the juicy gossip is why I gave this 4 and not 5 stars. Nevertheless if you want to understand what went wrong read this book, followed by Andrew Sorkin's Too Big to Fail, and Henry 'Hank' Paulson's On the Brink. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 10/30/2011

    " very informative and clear-read summer '10 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lezlie | 6/15/2011

    " Everyone should read this to really appreciate the market crash and current housing crisis. Egos involving both private and public individuals at the top and how the rest of us suffer because of it. A lot of detail to digest but you can still get the gist of what is happening. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darrick | 6/14/2011

    " This book was insanely long, very technical, but still pretty interesting. The amount of money these people make is just sickening. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 5/24/2011

    " very informative and clear-read summer '10 "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 julie | 2/27/2011

    " I did not know you could make the financial crisis boring (I have a warped definition of fun, haha), but this guy pulled it off. Oye. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexander | 2/21/2011

    " Excellent overview of the disaster called Bear Stearns. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack | 2/5/2011

    " What I liked about this version of the Bear Stearns downfall was the insight into why the offer price of $2 a share was never going to work.
    J P Morgan really put itself into a corner on this one and was lucky to get a deal at $10 per share

    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peter | 1/28/2011

    " Brutal tale of the destruction of Bear Sterns and wall street. Makes me see Talib's Black swan wisdom more sharply. They had it coming, but we got it. Made me more informed and less happy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 11/19/2010

    " Excellent account of the Bear Stearns debacle. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joe | 11/7/2010

    " Interesting book but it was way above my knowledge about the financial industry. It did confirm that all of the Wall Street is way over paid and most of them are crooks! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ob-jonny | 10/23/2010

    " Interesting detailed story of the financial crisis of 2008. It is so interesting to hear what really happened behind the scenes. The amount of money those big banks were throwing around every day, tens of billions! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bookworm(Jack) | 9/30/2010

    " It is a fascinating book to give the layout about how Bear Stern was the last straw for the falling Wall Street. "

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About the Author

William D. Cohan is the author of the New York Times bestsellers House of Cards and The Last Tycoons, which won the 2007 FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, has a weekly opinion column in Bloomberg View, and writes frequently for Fortune, the Atlantic, Art News, BusinessWeek, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Irish Times, and the Washington Post, among other publications. He also is a contributing editor on Bloomberg Television and a frequent on-air contributor to MSNBC, CNN and CNBC. A former investment banker, he is a graduate of Duke University, Columbia University School of Journalism, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

About the Narrator

Alan Sklar, a graduate of Dartmouth, has excelled in his career as a freelance voice actor. He began narrating audiobooks in 1996, winning seven AudioFile Earphones Awards and earning several “Best Voice” awards. He has also worked as a stage actor and as a promo announcer at WPIX-TV in New York City. His dream is to be an opera singer, a role for which he hones his bass-baritone operatic skills in the upstairs shower of his home.