The genre of narrative business books that I love so much - the ones that have a you-are-there quality - was invented, or so it is said, in 1982 by David McClintick, who wrote 'Indecent Exposure,' a rollicking good read about a Hollywood scandal and the ultimate boardroom power struggle at Columbia Pictures.
By now, it seems as if everyone has already read Thomas L. Friedman's 'The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century.' It changed the way we think about global business, competitiveness and the implication for far-flung economies, governments, education and more.
Several companies have explicit policies against cronyism, with good reason. Hiring a family member simply for a relationship can be troubling and may not necessarily serve a company's interests. But by and large, financial firms in particular commonly hire people who have certain connections, whether through family or a business relationship.
In truth, in the fairy-tale version of bailing out Lehman, the next domino, A.I.G., would have fallen even harder. If the politics of bailing out Lehman were bad, the politics of bailing out A.I.G. would have been worse. And the systemic risk that a failure of A.I.G. posed was orders of magnitude greater than Lehman's collapse.
No one suggested Lehman deserved to be saved. But the argument has been made that the crisis might have been less severe if it had been saved, because Lehman's failure created remarkable uncertainty in the market as investors became confused about the role of the government and whether it was picking winners and losers.
Here's the perversity of Wall Street's psychology: The more Wall Street is convinced that Washington will act rationally and raise the debt ceiling, most likely at the 11th hour, the less pressure there will be on lawmakers to reach an agreement. That will make it more likely a deal isn't reached.