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John Gapper's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books John Gapper recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of John Gapper's favorite book recommendations of all time.

"Hell is empty, and
all the devils are here."
-Shakespeare, The Tempest

As soon as the financial crisis erupted, the finger-pointing began. Should the blame fall on Wall Street, Main Street, or Pennsylvania Avenue? On greedy traders, misguided regulators, sleazy subprime companies, cowardly legislators, or clueless home buyers?

According to Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, two of America's most acclaimed business journalists, the real answer is all of the above-and more. Many devils helped bring hell to the economy. And the full story, in all of its...
Recommended by John Gapper, and 1 others.

John GapperIt comes from The Tempest: “Hell is empty / And all the devils are here”. (Source)

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The Way We Live Now

Widely acknowledged to be the masterpiece of Trollope's prolific Victorian career, "The Way We Live Now" is the scathing satire he wrote upon returning to England after traveling abroad. In seeking to discuss the deceit and dissipation he found, Trollope spared no iniquitous aspect he perceived in business, politics, social classes, literature, and various vice-related activities. The result of his efforts is an impressive array of characters, such as the old coquette Lady Carbury, her dissolute son Sir Felix, a spoiled and treacherously lovely heiress Marie, and her colossal figure of a... more
Recommended by John Gapper, and 1 others.

John GapperAbsolutely. And, slightly atypically for Trollope, it is a book written in a spirit of moral disgust. Trollope generally takes a detached, somewhat comic or ironic view of society. But here we have contempt for the state of Victorian Britain in 1875. (Source)

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2009 reprint of the 1852 second edition. Two volumes bound into one. Charles Mackay (1814-1889) was a Scottish poet, journalist, and song writer. He was born in Perth, Scotland. His mother died shortly after his birth and his father was by turns a naval officer and a foot soldier. He was educated at the Caledonian Asylum, London, and at Brussels, but spent much of his early life in France. Coming to London in 1834, he engaged in journalism, working for the Morning Chronicle from 1835-1844 and then became Editor of The Glasgow Argus. He moved to the Illustrated London News in 1848 becoming... more

Jonah LehrerA wonderful eclectic history of mass human irrationality, and a great history of financial bubbles. (Source)

Tom Joseph"Do you know who I am"- Trump cries a/b his status, Iran & Obama are panic b4 his bubble pops Mania's will end in panic as noted in a favorite book: Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay. Not a plug-written in 1841 Trumpmania is now Trumpanic (Source)

John GapperIt’s a very patchy book, but it leads off with three classic financial booms and busts – tulip mania in Holland, the Mississippi scheme in 18th century France, and the South Sea Bubble. MacKay was a journalist with a fine tabloid style, and he writes it all up very entertainingly. He gets the eyewitness quotes and he finds the human foibles. (Source)

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The Great Crash 1929

Of Galbraith's classic examination of the 1929 financial collapse, the Atlantic Monthly said:"Economic writings are seldom notable for their entertainment value, but this book is. Galbraith's prose has grace and wit, and he distills a good deal of sardonic fun from the whopping errors of the nation's oracles and the wondrous antics of the financial community." Now, with the stock market riding historic highs, the celebrated economist returns with new insights on the legacy of our past and the consequences of blind optimism and power plays within the financial community. less
Recommended by Raoul Pal, John Gapper, and 2 others.

Raoul Pal@operationtrader It’s a great book. After that, read Lords of Finance and Manias, crashes and panics (Source)

John GapperThe book shows his talent as a popular economist. It’s not chiefly a work of economics, though it does analyse the causes of the Great Depression. It’s more a work of history, almost of journalism. For an academic, Galbraith writes unusually well. (Source)

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With a new Afterword addressing today’s financial crisis


In this business classic—now with a new Afterword in which the author draws parallels to the recent financial crisis—Roger Lowenstein captures the gripping roller-coaster ride of Long-Term Capital Management. Drawing on confidential internal memos and interviews with dozens of key players, Lowenstein explains not just how the fund made and lost its money but also how the personalities of Long-Term’s partners, the arrogance of their mathematical certainties, and the...

Recommended by Max Levchin, John Gapper, and 2 others.

Max Levchin[Max Levchin recommended this book as an answer to "What business books would you advise young entrepreneurs read?"] (Source)

John GapperThe Fed itself did not bail out LTCM, but it was worried enough to get a bunch of big banks into the room and say, “Would you care to chip in and save this thing?” Which they obligingly did – and then liquidated it. The Fed foresaw that the failure of a single big hedge fund could send shock waves through the entire financial system. The issue of systemic risk was highlighted. (Source)

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