Too Big To Fail — Andrew Ross Sorkin

Too Big To Fail"Too Big To Fail" is by far the best retelling of all the events surrounding the financial crisis. 

I’ve read Meltdown, Fools Gold, House of Cards, The Quants, The Big Short, and even Paulson’s “On The Brink” which is a wonderful documentary of these events but still limited to his singular perspective. 

Sorkin goes way beyond anything I could image by taking us inside all the conversations at the Treasury, the Fed, and the highest levels of the banks and investment banks at the center of this disaster.  The extent of his research must have been enormous.

I could feel the panic, the shock-and-awe, and determination not to mention the patriotism of so many people as they struggled to understand what was happening and triage a solution that would hold the system together. 

This is truly a well-written story.

My takeaways:

– There are countless heroes who had to work for weeks on 3-4 hours sleep per day and make gut-wrenching decisions that affected the entire world financial system.

– Just like in any industry you or I work in, there are idiots everywhere and in this case most of them were creating and trading risk and financial products they had no intelligence to understand.

Screen shot 2011-09-29 at 10.48.22 PMDick Fuld is an idiot for refusing an acquisition offer months before Lehman’s implosion and instead choosing to ride the hopes of a better deal right to the end, like the captain of the Titanic.

Screen shot 2011-09-29 at 10.46.06 PMVikram Pandit is another idiot purely based on his behavior and lack of understanding of Citi’s tenuous situation and his inexplicably lowball offer of $1 for Wachovia.  I’m glad Wells Fargo jumped in to prove Pandit’s incompetence.

Screen shot 2011-09-29 at 10.44.59 PMJamie Dimon is Mr-Cool in what must have been the hot-seat of a lifetime.  His sharp grasp of all the dynamics, foresight at what was coming and how JP Morgan needed to be positioned, and pure wit makes him my hero.  If I had any money to manage, he would get all of it.

– It is critical to anyone’s personal success to surround yourself with a small group of brilliant and trusted people.  Clearly that element is present with all the leaders of the “winning companies” who persevered and prospered through this challenge.

Screen shot 2011-09-29 at 10.43.56 PM Thank you Mr. Sorkin for the tireless research and bringing the facts of this unbelievable event to light.  This work will serve many generations to come.


Canceled: 16 Oak Tree Pl, Hillsborough 94010

16 Oak Tree Pl – $3,999,999. Listed 9/26/11 (Geoffrey Nelson of McGuire Real Estate represents the Seller)

– 5 bed, 3.5 bath

– 3915sf living space on a 16988sf lot

– Built in 2011

– Unobstructed Bay view, Large courtyard + 2 levels of dramatic view terraces

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Mark’s Preview Notes:

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SOLD: 27161 Moody Rd, Los Altos Hills 94022

27161 Moody Rd – $3,700,000. Listed 9/22/11 (Art Sharif of Sotheby's International Realty represents the Seller) Sold for $3550K, COE 10/31/12

– 4 bed, 3.5 bath

– 4500sf living space on a 130680sf lot

– Built in 2006

– Atop of 3 oak studded acres, Natural materials flow congruently creating tranquil environment 

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Mark’s Preview Notes: 

MLS Photos:

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Canceled: 539 Castlerock Ct, Sunnyvale 94087

539 Castlerock Ct – $799,000. Listed 9/20/11 (Kevin Welby of Intero Real Estate represents the Seller)

– 3 bed, 2 bath

– 1540sf living space on a 4180sf lot

– Built in 1969

– Quiet & private grounds, Loft is ideal for home office, Cul-de-sac lot

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Mark’s Preview Notes:

Here is another Bahl Patio home in Sunnyvale from the late 60s.  Somewhat on the pricey side given that it needs bathroom updates and the tiles need a makeover.  A nice neighborhood and certainly good schools.

MLS Photos:

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SOLD: 2161 Valparaiso Ave, Menlo Park 94025

2161 Valparaiso Ave – $2,300,000. Listed 9/19/11 (Terel Beppu of Intero Real Estate represents the Seller) Sold for $2275K, COE 11/11/11

– 4 bed, 3.5 bath

– 2500sf living space on a 6000sf lot

– Built in 2009

– Custom built green smart home, Bamboo floors, Zen-American landscaping 

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Mark’s Preview Notes: 

MLS Photos:

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SOLD: 10 Mount Vernon Ln, Atherton 94027

10 Mount Vernon Ln – $4,995,000. Listed 9/18/11 (Richard Sequeira of Alain Pinel Realtors represents the Seller) Sold for $4375K, COE 11/18/11

– 4 bed, 4 bath, 2 half-bath

– 7075sf living space on a 43195sf lot

– Built in 2002

– Office with custom maple built-ins, Home theater, Huge bonus room 

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Mark’s Preview Notes:

MLS Photos:

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Withdrawn: 3112 Sunset Te, San Mateo 94403

3112 Sunset Te – $1,049,000. Listed 9/15/11 (Janis Grube of Coldwell Banker represents the Seller)

– 4 bed, 2 bath

– 2030sf living space on a 7200sf lot

– Built in 1956

– Separate living room with fireplace opens to covered atrium & spa, Gourmet kitchen

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Mark’s Preview Notes:

MLS Photos:

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