On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System

Written by:
Henry M. Paulson
Narrated by:
Dan Woren

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
February 2010
15 hours 0 minutes
When Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, was appointed in 2006 to become the nation's next Secretary of the Treasury, he knew that his move from Wall Street to Washington would be daunting and challenging.

But Paulson had no idea that a year later, he would find himself at the very epicenter of the world's most cataclysmic financial crisis since the Great Depression. Major institutions including Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup, among others-all steeped in rich, longstanding tradition-literally teetered at the edge of collapse. Panic ensnared international markets. Worst of all, the credit crisis spread to all parts of the U.S. economy and grew more ominous with each passing day, destroying jobs across America and undermining the financial security millions of families had spent their lifetimes building.

This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime economic nightmare. Events no one had thought possible were happening in quick succession, and people all over the globe were terrified that the continuing downward spiral would bring unprecedented chaos. All eyes turned to the United States Treasury Secretary to avert the disaster.

This, then, is Hank Paulson's first-person account. From the man who was in the very middle of this perfect economic storm, ON THE BRINK is Paulson's fast-paced retelling of the key decisions that had to be made with lightning speed. Paulson puts the reader in the room for all the intense moments as he addressed urgent market conditions, weighed critical decisions, and debated policy and economic considerations with of all the notable players-including the CEOs of top Wall Street firms as well as Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, Sheila Bair, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, and then-President George W. Bush.

More than an account about numbers and credit risks gone bad, ON THE BRINK is an extraordinary story about people and politics-all brought together during the world's impending financial Armageddon.
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John Parker

I'd read some criticism that, in writing "On the Brink" Henry Paulsen was making a self-serving shot at writing the first draft of history. Such critics were looking I guess for more apologies from Paulsen, or perhaps some agonized admission that he had done some things wrong. Well, anyone looking for that will be disappointed, but personally I would have been disappointed if he had. "On the Brink" is a pretty straightforward account of the 2008 global financial meltdown, starting in late 2007. Paulsen certainly does his share of patting certain people on the back for working hard through the crisis, but that wasn't a distraction. He also draws a pretty clear line to the people who he believes weren't up to the task, with the CEO of Bear Stearns probably drawing the roughest comments. If you like business history, I think this is a must read. If you tend to believe that all capitalists are bastards, well, pick up Rolling Stone. (I also subscribe to the Rolling Stone.)

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Brian B.

Enjoyed hearing this perspective, even though I didn't agree. I learned alot

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