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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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You, Me & The U.S. Economy

Comments (14)

I got anxious just reading the book You, Me & The U.S. Economy.

Last Thursday, I had a beautiful dinner at Susan and Richard Casey’s house.  The Casey’s co-founded and run Square 1 Bank and have become good friends over the past few years.  During dinner we had a wide ranging conversation about a bunch of things “not-tech.”  On my way out, Susan handed me a book titled You, Me & The U.S. Economy by her friend Stacy Carlson.  I tossed it in my bag along with the book Richard gave me (Thomas Sowell’s Intellectuals and Society).  I started reading it last night and finished it up today.

It lived up to its subtitle “A Plainspoken Story of Financial Crisis.”  The only other book I’ve read on the financial crisis of 2008 was Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big To Fail.  Amy and I were in the UK on a week off the grid from 9/12/08 to 9/20/08 so we left as the crisis was blossoming and returned to a very different financial superstructure.  I found Too Big To Fail to be riveting but felt that it was missing something.  After reading You, Me & The U.S. Economy I realized that Sorkin was doing too much storytelling and didn’t really get under the skin of some of the massive intellectual contradictions going on.  I think Carlson filled that gap for me without necessarily trying.

Carlson was Paulson’s speechwriter during the financial crisis.  The book is told in her voice and describes the events as they unfolded.  She does it is clear language (she is a speechwriter after all), is delightfully self-deprecating, and defines and endless array of terms and acronyms in a way that a human can understand.  She also gives a somewhat different view of the events from the inside – less drama and inside baseball than Sorkin, but just as much sense of stress, anxiety, and urgency.

If you are interested in the history of the financial crisis, want to understand what it looked like from the inside to someone who was part of the battle but not on the front lines, or just want a dose of anxiety, you’ll enjoy You, Me & The U.S. Economy.

  • John Buehler

    I'm afraid we are all waiting for the second book, "Oops! That wasn't supposed to happen!" available all too soon, but only when sold in exchange for Gold, Silver or Yuan…

  • http://roundpegg.com Chris Kilmer

    Just an FYI, all the book links point to Intellectuals and Society, including the You, Me & The U.S. Economy links.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      Oops. Fixing now.

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  • Rick Hengehold

    Like the looks of the new background.

    I’m very interested in what happened, but I’m also interested to learn what’s being done to change our economy for the better. We need more support (private and/or government) going to small business rather than large corporate! The Foundry Group is doing its part.

  • Melissa

    You might want to have quite a bit of skepticism about the explanation of the financial crisis coming from someone very close to Henry Paulson, who has very close ties to Goldman Sachs and was one of the engineers of a highly questionable bailout. If you really want to understand what happened, and who was at fault, I highly recommend just about anything written by economist Dean Baker from CEPR, who is one of the very few economists who warned about the housing bubble well before 2008 and the threat it posed to the larger economy (and was ignored by the MSM), and also one of the few who successfully predicted the bursting of the dot com bubble before that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/taylor.brooks Taylor Brooks

    Really curious to hear your take on Intellectuals and Society. Let us know when you finish!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      I read the first few chapters (about a third of it) – really concentrated on Intellectuals and the Economy which I thought was excellent.

  • thucydides

    You might want to have quite a bit of skepticism about the explanation of the financial crisis that does not come down to regulatory failure (especially unintended consequences of things like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on the markets), crony capitalism and huge doses of government interference with the economy (everything from enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act, bribery (Friends of Angelo, anyone?) to manipulation of interest rates).

    A long look at the politicians who denied "Fannie Mae" and "Freddi Mac" were heading into trouble and worked hard to prevent regulatory oversight of those institutions in 2003 and 2006 would also be very revealing.

    All roads lead to Washington, and greater intrusions in the market (from the effective government takeover of financial institutions, Obamacare, Cap-and-trade, VAT and ownership of the auto sector) will only amplify the problem. Looking at the high unemployment figures and especially the slowdown of the small business sector you can see that happening now. Artificially keeping the housing bubble inflated can only mask the problem so long while increasing the underlying damage to the economic foundations.

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