NPR logo Reading List: Understanding The Crisis

Reading List: Understanding The Crisis

So, you want to know what the heck is going on. How did we get here? Who is to blame? What's going to happen next?

Here are some helpful books and articles and radio stories.

First off, I do think that Alex and I did a good job of laying out the causes of the subprime crisis in our This American Life story.

Enough self-promotion.

My favorite single book account is Charles Morris's Trillion Dollar Meltdown. It's short and well-written. I find the first few chapters just great to see how the current crisis is an outcome of decades of irresponsible government policy. Toward the end, as he gets into the specifics of how new financial instruments work and why they are dangerous, it's a bit harder to read. But, with a bit of patience, you'll get a lot out of it.

I hear good things about Robert Shiller's The Subprime Solution. Haven't read it yet. I'm too busy. But I want to.

There are a lot of phenomenal economics blogs that I find helpful and consult daily. My single favorite: Naked Capitalism. It provides a smart, daily insider look at how Wall Street works and is responding to the crisis.

Nouriel Roubini's blog has been way out in front. He has been remarkably prescient about every step of this crisis. He has gone from a slightly fringe figure to one of the most respected financial observers in the country. Because he was right, about almost everything. He still is way out on his own: he's more pessimistic, more judgmental, more frustrated than most. He also writes for a financially literate audience. But I think you can slog through and understand enough to make it worth reading.

Please let us know your favorite blogs and books and what you think we should be reading.