So Big I Might Fail

14 Dec

After a Saturday night spent killing brain cells one game of beer pong at a time, I went into this week feeling relatively ambitious on the book front: After all, what are the post-college years for if not to read all those enormous and intellectual books you never had time for in school? Well, that and sitting in your big-girl apartment eating takeout food you bought with a hard-earned paycheck.

So given my thirst for intelligence, I decided to finally get around to one of the mammoth hardcovers that’s been sitting on my shelf for the better part of a year: New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big To Fail, a nonfiction tome outlining in unprecedented detail the days surrounding the financial crisis of 2008, with a healthy dose of back story and context.

The book made headlines when it was released (in October of last year) because it leaves no stone unturned (also because a few irate Times reporters accused Sorkin of using material from their stories without credit). Having read the first few chapters, I can see why it made waves: Sorkin has more than 500 sources, and details include everything from Lehman Brothers’ CFO Erin Callan’s suit color of choice to Timothy Geithner’s predilection for the word “fuck.” It turns the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression into something of a page-turner.

Unfortunately, it’s also massive. The hardcover version, which I stupidly bought and am now forced to carry around—much to the dismay of my shoulders, back and wrists—comes in at 624 pages (with endnotes) and 2.2 pounds. Even after two solid commutes of reading, I still haven’t made it past page 75. This isn’t because the book is dull, far from it, but rather because it’s dense. Forgive me Warren Buffetts of the world, but when reading about complex financial instruments, I have to take my time.

So it’s TBD whether I’ll manage to finish this week, but I can’t say I’m optimistic. Just in case, I have a few light reads on standby, the kinds of books I could finish in a few hours on Sunday afternoon and thereby finagle my way into victory for the week. Because if I learn anything from Too Big to Fail, it’s that cheaters ….usually win.

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