Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, The Toughest Firm On Wall Street (Book Review) ~ market folly

Friday, July 17, 2009

Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, The Toughest Firm On Wall Street (Book Review)

We're going to be doing a few more book reviews here now that things have settled down a bit and we've actually had a chance to read some of the many books that have been released in the past few months. Previously, we reviewed Mebane Faber's The Ivy Portfolio which details the endowment model of investing and touches on our favorite subject: hedge fund tracking. This time around though, we're reviewing a book by Wall Street Journal Reporter Kate Kelly. And, it's a different kind of book.

Kate Kelly's Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours Of Bear Stearns, The Toughest Firm On Wall Street reads almost like a movie or TV script timeline. If you want to feel like you were right there in the room when Bear's collapse occurred, then this is the book for you. The amount of detail portrayed in this book is both fascinating and almost appalling. If a documentary or movie was made about the fall of Bear Stearns, Kate Kelly would be both director and cinematographer of the final scenes, in charge of what you see and hear. In a financial world of secrecy and mystique, this book is the definition of behind the scenes. She does a remarkable job at painting a picture and making you feel like you are a part of the action.

At the same time, (depending on the reader) the book's greatest attribute might also be its biggest flaw. Street Fighters is detailed in that you read through 229 pages and only cover the span of 3 days. At times, it almost seemed as if the timeline was moving at a snail's pace in an attempt to cover every single little detail. After all, each section of the book is dated and timestamped within Bear's final days/hours with some flashbacks thrown in. Some of you out there will probably point out, "Well, duh, it's about the last 72 hours of the firm, a lot happened then!" And, that is very much the case. While I do think the events right before Bear's collapse are integral to the story, there is so much more behind their fall and I wanted more in this regard. But again, to be fair, this is a book about the last 72 hours, not about the entire timeline of their rise and fall. It is good for what it is: a story about the panicked last few days of the firm.

The book is captivating and definitely draws you in. You know the ending, yet you will still want to keep reading. And, in that regard, Kelly has done a fantastic job. While Street Fighters is not like the typical finance books we read, it is a great story. And, in the world of finance where so many people are concerned about numbers, not stories, this journey into what will be regarded as a historic event was refreshing. If you want to know what went down behind closed doors, if you want to relive history, or if you just love a good drama, then check out Kate Kelly's book, Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, The Toughest Firm on Wall Street. And, if it doesn't sound like your cup of tea, then we're sure you'll find plenty of other finance related books that will intrigue you in our recommended reading lists. We've selected our favorite reads on the topics of:

- Fundamentals
- Technical Analysis/Charts
- Market Gurus
- And good overall investing & trading books

Additionally, we presented a comprehensive series of hedge fund Blue Ridge Capital's recommended reading lists. Their list encompasses the following categories: Analytical, Economics, Historical, & Behavioral Finance. Lastly, as we mentioned above, this is the second book we've reviewed in our new ongoing series of book reviews. You can check out our past review of Mebane Faber's The Ivy Portfolio here. Look for more reviews in the near future!

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