The story of the bank’s journey to its grave has never been so poignantly told as in A Colossal Failure of Common Sense… While the crisis has spawned many books, McDonald’s is among the first from an insider and is the front-runner on the subject of Lehman. He witnessed, often in amazement and disgust, the corporate dysfunction and hubristic leadership that lead to the bank’s demise.
It’s a real page-turner.
—The San Francisco Chronicle
Mr. McDonald’s book gives the reader a visceral sense of what it was like to work at Lehman Brothers and the fateful decisions and events that led to the company’s death spiral – decisions that turned the once-proud firm into a grim illustration, in the words of one of the author’s colleagues, of the “colossal failure of common sense…
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
…McDonald, a former Lehman trader, presents a scathing inside account of how the Wall Street securities firm became a house divided. It’s framed as a breathless thriller, yet packed with invaluable insights.
—James Pressley, Bloomberg
…A Wall Street insider and former Lehman trader reflects on the collapse of the nation’s oldest investment bank, a venerable vessel run aground by executives with a reckless addiction to financial leverage and a simplistic grasp of structured finance.
—Gary Rawlins, USA TODAY
… describes a CEO acting as if his firm was too big to fail.
—Wall Street Journal
…the story of the firm’s failure as told through the perspective of a group of in-house dissidents who saw disaster approaching back in 2005 and tried repeatedly (and vainly) to warn CEO Dick Fuld. One of the most compelling of the current crisis chronicles and possibly the most engagingly written.
—New York Magazine
Provides a valuable behind-closed-doors account of how Lehman became schizophrenic. The facts are compelling and need no hype.
The book is engaging and funny, which is tough to do when you’re writing from the perspective of a bond trader at a now-extinct company… While McDonald carps, as most Lehman folks do, about the fact that their company was the only major Wall Street firm allowed to fail, his ultimate takeaway is an important admission to hear from an insider.
In [McDonald's] rendering of Lehman’s demise – nimbly told with novelist Patrick Robinson – the bond traders are the smart guys, the real estate dealmakers are the bad guys, and the folks in charge are the idiots.
Highly readable… A Colossal Failure of Common Sense largely rings true. It expresses the anger that many former Lehman employees still feel toward Mr. Fuld. And it convincingly characterizes the investment bank as a house divided against itself, between the bears who had foreseen bubbles and the bulls who wrongly believed that this time was different.