There have been a lot of books on the recent economic crisis, but most of them address only small parts of the systematic failures which caused the crisis, and they don’t do a good job of explaining what the financial system looks like before moving onto the crisis itself. “ECONned”:http://www.amazon.com/ECONned-Unenlightened-Undermined-Democracy-Capitalism/dp/0230620515/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276760627&sr=8-1 is a really good overview of both the systems in place and the crisis.
The book isn’t about just the crisis, but rather the current financial system and the regulatory, personal and economic interests which shaped it. The author’s “blog is really interesting”:http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/ as well.
Other books, like Micheal Lewis’s “The Big Short”:http://www.amazon.com/Big-Short-Inside-Doomsday-Machine/dp/0393072231/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276761002&sr=8-1 do a good job of telling a small part of the story, but completely fail to deliver on what actually happened.
This review on Amazon sums up the book well:
bq. I’ve written quite a bit about the financial crisis, and God knows I’ve read nearly every book on the subject, and I have no hesitation in saying that if there is one book that gets it whole, and gets it right, and is THE book for the intelligent, thoughtful reader to turn to, it is ECONNED. This is not an anecdotal recitation of deal gossip (like, for example, Sorkin’s book); it’s not “source-based” journalism reflective of the way certain participants in the dire events that unfolded in 2007-2009 wish themselves to be seen. It lays out, in what is easily as clear, as direct, as smart and with as much force of fact as any financial writing today how exactly the fun and games that have nearly wrecked our economy and the lives of so many of us went down.
Despite having read a lot of the recent popularly accessible books on economics and finance, like the above reviewer I found this one the best overview.
A good pre-read to this book, or any other book on finance, is Liaquat Ahmed’s “Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World”:http://www.amazon.com/Lords-Finance-Bankers-Broke-World/dp/0143116800/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276761209&sr=1-1 which gives a good overview of how the modern financial system developed in the first place.