In my massive accumulation of books when Hastings closed, I found an interesting book called “The Bullies of Wall Street: This is How Greed Messed up Our Economy”by Sheila Bair, former chair of the FDIC.
I grabbed this without really looking into it, because I have my own opinions on our economy and I wanted to see an expert’s perspective. I didn’t realize this is a children’s book, meant to explain the economic collapse of 2009 (and surrounding years) to kids.
Overall, I think this book does a great job of introducing kids to financial terms and concepts. The first section shows fictional anecdotes of how children and their families were affected by the collapse, and then explains the economical factors that led to their situations. All of these stories have a happy ending, which I thought was unnecessary, but I understand why that choice was made.
The section of the book I enjoyed the most was where Bair talks about her time as head of the FDIC. She explains several key positions and entities, as well as how parts of the legislative process works. This is definitely written with her opinions as the main bias, but I feel she stays pretty neutral about many things. She talks about how she disagreed with certain people and policies, but also saw some reasoning in what they did. She also explains that a lot of differences stem from priorities. She felt the FDIC needed to protect consumers, while others felt that protecting banks would lead to better outcomes for consumers. I remember some of the bank buyouts she refers to and it was very interesting to find out more information about the behind-the-scenes happenings.
I think this book would be great for educating kids and refreshing adults on many financial and economic concepts. I didn’t learn a lot of new information in terms of broad knowledge, but I did learn some things about specific banks and government officials that I didn’t know. I thought this was informative and interesting, while being a very easy, accessible read.