One of the most insightful books on financial crises.
Tim Geithner was the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York when the 2008 financial crisis first broke out, and later became Secretary of Treasury under President Obama.
Throughout 'Stress Test', Geithner does a fantastic job presenting the complexity of the financial system, particularly with regards to how interconnected financial instruments and transactions can become, and how this can - and ultimately did - bring the whole system crashing down when one asset class implodes.
Geithner provides insight into how the crisis ignited, and what went on behind the curtains, including the efforts to change market sentiment to avert further chaos, the bureaucracy in government, and the sleepless nights before the impending doom of systemically critical institutions: the rescue of Bear Stearns; the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; the failure of Lehman Brothers; and the AIG bailout.
Acknowledging the criticism of bailing out Wall Street corporations which had taken on more risk than they could handle - and continuing to pay out lavish bonuses while taxpayer money saved them from bankruptcy - Geithner defends his actions by illuminating the alternative: a financial depression so severe it would inevitably cripple Main Street, potentially beyond repair.
Despite the density of the topic, Geithner presents the events of the 2008 financial crisis in a digestible, captivating way that keeps you eagerly engaged.
This is a must read for anyone with an interest in economics.