Michael Lewis and This American Life on Financial Meltdown

For those of you who enjoyed Michael Lewis’s piece on “job vs. calling,” and my follow up post Why So Many Struggle to Find a Job or Calling, I must alert you to another recent Lewis piece, this time on the Wall Street melt down.

It’s titled The End of Wall Street’s Boom in Portfolio magazine and it’s absolutely essential reading for understanding the financial crisis. There’s so much to read about on this topic — one must be picky. I recommend reading Lewis’s long, helpful chronicle of how we got here and why.

Interestingly, he opens by wondering why Wall Street entrusts 24 year-olds with no experience to dispense investment advice to grown-ups. Though he doesn’t explore this particular angle too deeply, it is worth wondering how much responsibility a young, money-hungry, recent college grad should assume for understanding the work he is doing and how it fits in the total picture. Certainly, the willingness of young bankers to re-package and sell essentially fraudulent mortgage-based financial products up the food chain contributed to the overall systematic breakdown.

The other great piece of journalistic reporting on the financial crisis happened on This American Life radio program. Turn up the volume, kick back on a couch, and listen. Prepare to be deeply disturbed and dismayed, but also grateful for at least a few people’s ability to explain what is going on in plain English.

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