Summer Reading: 3 Books on Wall Street

The following books on the U.S. financial services industry are out this month and might be worth putting on your summer reading list.
Publish date:

If your idea of a fun summer includes reading about Wall Street excesses or secret hedge fund practices, you've come to the right place.

There's probably no better time to get fired up about overhauling our financial system than now. Congressional negotiators are already merging the House and Senate bills on

financial reform

and a final version is expected as early as July.

The following books on the U.S. financial services industry are out this month and might be worth putting on your summer reading list.

Enough. True Measures of Money, Business, and Life

(Wiley; June 2010) by John C. Bogle

In his new book, John C. Bogle -- founder of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group and creator of the first index mutual fund -- writes that easy credit, unparalleled greed, Wall Street excess, overleveraged risk and rampant speculation have caused the current crisis. The financial services industry, he says, has come to detract far more value from society than it adds.


is a call for the return to core values or to what Bogle refers to as "the old-fashioned liberal humanitarianism that was the hallmark of the Age of Reason." The title has a double meaning: "Enough" as in fed up, and "enough" as a reflection on what people value and how they define success and satisfaction.

Bogle, who grew up in the Depression Era, earned a Princeton University scholarship and founded the Vanguard Group, says: In a world that is increasingly focused on status and score-keeping, one can indeed have enough.

Have you read this book? Add your comments below.

Chasing Goldman Sachs:
How the Masters of the Universe Melted Wall Street Down
. . . And Why They'll Take Us to the Brink Again

(Crown Business; June 2010) by Suzanne McGee

When Lloyd Blankfein testified before the Senate in April, he was asked whether he thought

Goldman Sachs


(GS) - Get Report

competitors were taking the same approach to their business that Goldman was. Without hesitation, he replied, "Yes, and to a greater extent than us."

This "Goldman Sachs envy," writes Suzanne McGee, is one of the main forces that transformed Wall Street into a risk-taking giant. We now know how that risk-taking spun out of control, taking the economy down and millions of 401(k)s along with it. Wall Street, says McGee, is like a power grid. We take it for granted when it's functioning smoothly, but it can be strained beyond its capacity if its functions are distorted.

>>Suzanne McGee: Inside Wall Street's Goldman Obsession

Through interviews with traders, hedge fund managers, private equity dealmakers, venture capitalists and corporate executives, McGee shows readers how Wall Street became "a self-serving and ultimately destructive profit machine."

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More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite

(The Penguin Press; June 2010) by Sebastian Mallaby

"Small enough to fail" is how author Sebastian Mallaby describes hedge funds. While a number of these funds have failed during the financial panic, he says, the industry itself has emerged from the crisis far better than its rivals.

Mallaby argues that because hedge fund managers have their own money invested in their funds, they are less disruptive than larger, heavily regulated financial institutions. Hedge funds' innovation, he writes, has spawned new markets in exotic financial instruments and rewritten the rules of capitalism.

The title

More Money Than God

refers to the new financial elite -- those who made at least $240 million dollars in 2006 vs. the likes of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein who earned "just" $54 million in the same period. How did hedge fund managers do it? Mallaby looks back to their history -- from the rebel beginnings of hedge funds in the 1960s to the role of these funds and their managers in the financial crisis of 2007-2009.

Have you read this book? Add your comments below.