For the past few weeks every newspaper, magazine, and scrolling ticker has been plastered with photos of anguished traders, scary graphs and complex analysis of financial instruments that seem more like magic than math. The current financial crisis seems unprecedented and unpredictable. Yesterday’s New York Times offered some perspective by examining the roles of two famous businessmen during hard times: Warren Buffett and J.P. Morgan.
The Times notes that “Comparing the two men and their moves in periods of market turmoil, just more than a century apart, reveals how much some things have changed over the years and how other things have not, according to business historians and finance experts.”
This got a few of us thinking about the history of the markets and the comforts of knowing that we’ve been in dire straits before and it doesn’t always end with apple carts and a generation growing up sharing a pair of shoes with their siblings. Several of you are ahead of us on this curve- when we started looking for books on the history of Wall Street, we found a number of them were already checked out. We’ve put what’s here on the front table for you to peruse.
For the historically-minded, there’s
Manias, Panics, And Crashes : A History Of Financial Crises
Bull! : A History Of The Boom, 1982-1999 : What Drove The Breakneck Market--and What Every Investor Needs To Know About Financial Cycles
What Goes Up : The Uncensored History Of Modern Wall Street As Told By The Bankers, Brokers, CEOs, And Scoundrels Who Made It Happen
House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty And The Rise Of Modern Finance
If you're looking for a modern take (and maybe a little schadenfreude) we have
America's Bubble Economy : Profit When It Pops
The World Is Curved : Hidden Dangers To The Global Economy
Chain Of Blame : How Wall Street Caused The Mortgage And Credit Crisis
The New Paradigm For Financial Markets : The Credit Crisis Of 2008 And What It Means
Crash Proof : How To Profit From The Coming Economic Collapse
Undue Influence : How The Wall Street Elite Put The Financial System At Risk
If you want a more explanatory approach, try:
Money, Greed, And Risk : Why Financial Crises And Crashes Happen
How the Stock Market Works
Or for biography fans, in addition to the new Warren Buffett bio, there’s:
The White Sharks Of Wall Street : Thomas Mellon Evans And The Original Corporate Raiders
Titan : The Life Of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
The Dark Genius Of Wall Street : The Misunderstood Life Of Jay Gould, King Of The Robber Barons
Henry Clay Frick : An Intimate Portrait