Fatal Risk. A Cautionary Tale of AIG's Corporate Suicide

  • ID: 2211461
  • Book
  • 350 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Praise for Fatal Risk

"Not surprisingly given his reporting chops, Roddy Boyd has written in Fatal Risk a seminal account of how AIG willfully—and irresponsibly—came to insure much of the risk in the financial world in the first decade of the twenty–first century. Fatal Risk is must reading for anyone who wants to be entertained and to understand."
William D. Cohan, author, Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World and House of Cards

"Read this book if you want to know how one of the world′s largest companies played with risk and got burned."
Charles Gasparino, anchor, Fox Business Network

"Fatal Risk is as in–depth as any autopsy of AIG will ever be."
Felix Salmon, columnist, Reuters.com

"Woody Allen once said that his idea of pure Hell was to be buried alive with a life insurance salesman. But for the rest of us, pure Hell almost became being buried alive by the biggest insurance firm on earth. Here′s the final reckoning of how that happened, when a bunch of little snowballs started rolling downhill until they gathered themselves together into the biggest insurance conglomerate avalanche on earth: AIG. Roddy Boyd has made this tale must reading for every member of every finance committee in Congress; at least they′d learn how the people of Wall Street really think."
Christopher Byron, author, Martha Inc.

The inside story of the company at the center of the financial maelstrom and how it brought down the entire economic system

Written by star investigative reporter Roddy Boyd, Fatal Risk is the first book to tell the complete story of AIG′s pivotal role in the 2008 financial crisis. Relying on insider information available to no other reporter—including the personal notes and records of key players—he takes you behind the scenes at AIG, Goldman Sachs, and the New York Fed, to shine a light on how the company was run, how the same qualities that made it a global insurance and financial giant led to its downfall, and, ultimately, how its collapse nearly brought about the unraveling of the world financial system.

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Cast of Characters.


Chapter 1 The (Noncorrelated) Dream Team.

Chapter 2 Who Dares, Wins.

Chapter 3 The Man with the Plan.

Chapter 4 Changes.

Chapter 5 The Dirt Below.

Chapter 6 War by Another Name.

Chapter 7 The Kids Are Alright.

Chapter 8 In the Shipping Business.

Chapter 9 The Preservation Instinct.

Chapter 10 The Down Staircase.

Chapter 11 Midnight in September.





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Fatal Risk: A Cautionary Tale of AIG′s Corporate Suicide by Roddy Boyd has been longlisted for
The FT & Goldman Sachs Business Book Of The Year Award 2011

Members of the seven strong judging panel will decide on a shortlist of up to six finalists in the middle of September.

‘If there is a theme that links most of the 14 titles on the longlist..it is their authors’ quest to work out how and why companies, governments and their leaders fail – and how not to go wrong in the future’

"A vivid portrait of the giant insurer at the center of the 2008 financial crisis."
(The Wall Street Journal)

"The best book of the crisis is Fatal Risk. This is a fabulous book – but it deals with complex subjects without shying away from their complexity and it assumes you have enough knowledge and intelligence to cope. . . This is the best book yet written about any specific episode of the crisis. Buy multiple copies. Give them to your friends. They will be grateful too."
(Bronte Capital)

"A sober work that appears to have been researched extremely thoroughly. . . more convincing on the mechanics of AIG′s Suicide than it is on any of the deeper motivations."
(The Financial Times)

"Through superb reporting, Boyd has written one of the financial crisis genre′s most important works."
(Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

"As Roddy Boyd demonstrates in his well–written study of AIG′s fall, it was the very solidity of the company′s credit rating that led it astray. Painstakingly built over the course of 40 years by an army veteran, Hank Greenberg, AIG was the ideal counterparty for Wall Street. . . For some, the demise of AIG was not the suicide described in the book′s title, but an act of murder by Goldman. Mr Boyd argues that the investment bank was acting only as any prudent counterparty would. But the author′s analysis is unlikely to dent the conviction of conspiracy theorists that AIG was rescued by Hank Paulson, the former Goldman chief executive turned treasury secretary, to prop up Goldman." (The Economist)

"Engaging and balanced account . . . Many books on the financial meltdown that began in 2007 treat AIG as a plot point in a wider drama. Yet valuable lessons can be gleaned from the narrower account that Boyd lays out here –– lessons about the responsibilities of leaders and regulators as well as the hazards of financial engineering. . . The story of AIG′s demise has many moving pieces, large and small, which Boyd meshes into a smooth narrative. . . Boyd is good with dialogue and knows how to keep the story going. His reporting is thorough and fair, even when it comes to Timothy F. Geithner′s risible assertions that it wasn′t the Federal Reserve′s job to pop bubbles."

The best book on the financial crisis, and . . . favorite piece of non–fiction work since Michael Lewis′ The Big Short. . . The reporting here is incredible."
(Distressed Debt Investing)

"A 10 best finance book.
Does the ongoing financial turmoil leave you scratching your head? Worry not, here′s our pick of the finest – and most readable – books about Big Money..."
(The Independent)

′Fatal Risk is must reading for market insiders, investors, business leaders, and anyone who′s wondered what really happened in 2008.’ (Hereisthecity.com, April 2011).

′researched extremely thoroughly’ (Financial Times, April 2011).

‘…a vivid portrait of the giant ­insurer at the center of the 2008 financial crisis.’ (Wall Street Journal Europe, April 2011).

‘A cautionary tale of corporate hubris.’ (Ethical Corporation Magazine, May 2011).

‘…Boyd is good with dialogue and knows how to keep the story going’.  (Bloomberg.com, June 2011).

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