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Notes on Too Big To Fail

For some books, such as Sorkin's Too Big to Fail, I like to take notes. It helps me gather a succinct picture of what I'm thinking while reading. Normally, however, I don't blog these notes. I have an image to maintain, and that image is not to upend believers who really believe I'm smart.

But then a bright idea came out of nowhere and sat me upright as I thought, 'why would anyone want to be thought of as smart?' Tone it down. Start showing, not telling, how I don't have even a quarter of the 'right' answers. This is how I came up with putting on 'blog display' just how resourceful and clever I am NOT. Like really? What's the chances someone will recall all of my trips and falls buoying the rise in my image. So yes, taking note of my notes resonated like a wholly bright idea. It should clearly elucidate how inexpertly I handle details while reading, just by the way I take notes.

(Note: I'm only posting the cleverish of the cleverest, in which my first note should be of me reading this book, going on a month now. Somehow I didn't get around to jotting that one down. I mean, can anyone be reading any slower? I'm even starting to wonder at what reading grade level I'm reading at. –And oh, when I write notes, I don't write them in an orderly fashion. I have to turn the notepad several ways to reread them).

First note was Paulson not offering his guest any water. (Instantly I identified with the man. These are little things some of us don't think about until after we read about it in print).

Page 161 – "and oh, they go away..."

Bernanke's statement: "...not the feds responsibility to protect lenders and investors from their decisions." (Amazing! Just as I was about to write I disagree, there was Bernanke's next line. We disagreed at the same time, and for the same reason!)

Crisis of confidence. Wonder if Paulson read that other book?

First hundred pages I just read (and jotted down a few notes); but after a while I was constantly flipping back and forth between the cast of characters and the companies they kept.

For some reason I kept noting page 120. One note even noted, page 121 – top heavy! But I'll have to reread the pages and figure out why because it could be something as benign as why I make no mention of Fuld (Lehman's CEO) until subsequent chapters where I'm all over the page about the portrayal of his character.
He keeps saying taxpayers? Is that us? (Many, many thoughts, poems, short stories... you name it, came out of this one note).

If this is not déjà vu 'Panic of 1907', only embodying a much larger cast, I'd swear I was reading the same book all over again.

Law degrees and banking? (distinctly recall bells ringing in my head while making this note.)

Murky lines crossing over between Feds, Treasury, Wall Street and banks.

Page 220 – bottom.

Page 297 – Macomber (touching)

Patriotic Duty? (Financial war…as opposed to the old-fashioned ground war?)

Problems at Lehman structural rather than cyclical.

Sorkin painstakingly draws out every euphemism – a week's worth of transactions is covering 50 plus pages, at a stretch!


Sycophants!?! (I probably had to look this word up).

"The glue that holds the whole 'arrangement' together is old-fashioned trust." (...umm, could this be where I get it... me 'reliving' or 'always living in/on/from the past?')

...unbelievable... (pg. 310 – top)

Wait... hadn't their stock 'just' plunged 38% a few pages ago?

"Would the credit crisis be a chapter or footnote?" (Or a history book?)

I am too, too smitten (how's that for a dazzling word) with the development of this story to breeze through it. With only 200 pages left to go I am still looking for one, or maybe two phrases that will convince me I'm really seeing the big picture.

This book certainly will make my Top Ten list. It wholly reminds me of the books I first started reading.


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