“13 Bankers” In The Media

By Simon Johnson

I’ve already discussed the main points of 13 Bankers with more than a dozen interviewers across a wide range of formats; we’ll post links on the book’s site as they become available. 

The Colbert Report and MSNBC aired interviews on Tuesday.  Tom Keene talked to both James and me for his Bloomberg radio show – this ran about 40 minutes, so we covered a lot of ground (but I’m not sure if this is on the web).  On WNYC I had an extended conversation with Mike Pesca.  And here’s the Reuters coverage.

There are more discussions to come, including with Big Think (already taped) and on The Diane Rehm show tomorrow.

20 thoughts on ““13 Bankers” In The Media

  1. I noticed a commenter criticized you for not making enough effort in the media. I thought that was incredibly ironic because you have always made yourself quite accessible for a University Professor. I think Obviously, TV and radio are still the best bets with internet features sprinkled in.

    I would love to see you guys make a small university tour of the nation. Just Simon and James and a host being themselves and talking in a casual manner I think would sell a lot of books. Young college kids are probably more engaged than they get credit for and they have are large vested interest in their future with a solid and sound Banking/financial system.

    College kids love to interact with authors and I think it would sell a lot of books. Maybe contacting the Economics Departments of different Universities and scheduling a small 15-20 minute speech and then open talk. I know the University of Central Oklahoma, Grinnell College in Iowa, Miami University in Oxford Ohio, Northern Texas and other campuses off the beaten track would love to have a couple authors like yourselves interact with the students.

    One of the reasons Ron Paul has had so much success politically is his efforts to engage the young minds at University campuses.

  2. The Bloomberg interview with Tom Keene is available by podcast. Only an abbreviated version is available on the Bloomberg website. “Tom Keen on Demand” has the full interview but it is considered “premium content” and is available by subscription.

  3. Dear Simon and James,

    I have been out of work for nearly 7-months and I was forced to move back in with my parents in November (this despite the fact that I have a Masters degree and six years’ experience in the financial industry). Anyway, for Christmas I asked for (and was lucky enough to receive) Sorkin’s book, Justin Fox’s book and Liaquat Ahamed’s book. I read them all. Quickly.

    I’m telling you this because I’m currently enrolled in the CFA program and there is a Borders within walking distance of my parents’ house where I often study. Over the last few weeks, when my studies have finished, I sat in the cafeteria and read Michael Lewis’s book. I finished it, quickly, and then picked up ’13 Bankers’ yesterday and finished it today.

    I’m writing this to tell you that I’m sorry I couldn’t afford to buy your book, and I’m sorry I read it for free. I also want you to know that I liked your book much more than Sorkin’s and I’m not playing favorites with who I give my parents’ money to. I also liked your book as much as I like (love?) your blog so, if I ever get a chance to make it up to you, I promise I will.

    Of course, the only way I can see this happening is if you promise to write another book in the future and I promise to buy it… which I do (presuming I have a job by then, of course). I even promise to buy your next book if it’s about the mating habits of the North American Yak.

    Anyway, please consider this my formal apology… I realize I should probably apologize to Lewis as well, but he doesn’t have a readily-available blog with which I can interact. I should also probably apologize to Borders (admittedly doing much worse than either of you or Lewis), but what with my job searching and studying there isn’t time for me to apologize to everyone in the world.

  4. So far the best coverage link (noted in your blog above) is the radio WNYC with Mike Pesca–may be about 40 minutes(?) Didn’t time the discussion but the exchange with the radio host was more thorough and explanatory. However, you do get the better laugh on Colbert’s show (as always)…. okay, a good lead-in for a reservation on the 15th—hopefully no drama, no flat tires and may be okay to bring the blackberry or laptop (if allowed, although probably more distracting and disconcerting especially when talking.) Would invite my BAC friend Christina, but she’s got family duty and others not particularly interested even though they agree with the “pitchfork” crowd—cynicism turned into apathy, maybe. [And for the young person’s post above, I see patrons at Borders all the time, reading for ‘free’ and having done it myself on a couple of the chapters from Sorkin’s and Cohan’s books…]

  5. There are many stories about financially successful people that went through extremely bad times. J.K. Rowling was living on welfare with a new baby and sipping tea (or coffee I can’t remember the details exactly) very very slowly in a cafe as she wrote Harry Potter. Keep reading and acquiring knowledge and keep yourself up on new developments. When your day comes and you have a lot of success, don’t forget when you see others in hard times.

    Keep your nose to the grindstone and your chin up and your day will come.

  6. Simon,

    that Colbert interview was fantastic!!! you 2 need to play tag team more often!!!!

  7. Simon,

    i am a busy physician and i can tell you that just about every one of my patients is well aware of whats happening to America and the looting by the bankers and the Obama team. i’ve never seen the anger at such a feverish pitch. your message is getting through and i am sure something big is going to happen soon.

  8. I still hope Charlie Rose is among your future interviews. As a devout follower of his show, I believe his conversation with you is seriously overdue. His guests include plenty of top minds, and you should be among them.

  9. Hi Ted,

    I’m Paul Cohen. I’m the commenter that wants Simon, James and others to reach out to as many Americans as possible.

    The only way to root out government corruption and enact positive changes championed by Simon and James is to touch the raw twitching nerve of Americans that feel insecure and angry about the rigged game. The vast majority of these people do not read newspapers (or online variety), will not browse at borders or attend university chats promoting 13 Bankers by authors they’ve never heard of. If they read one book in a decade, I would be surprised. And if they did, and chose 13 Bankers, well then, God strike me dead.

    For all their efforts- and its tremendous, Simon and James work will not change Washington. Only an aroused, vocal, disruptive mass of people that protest, march in the street, boycott and draw loads of television attention can do that.

    Rather than university chats, go into a community devastated by the collapse with high unemployment and home foreclosures, and have a town hall meeting. Let Simon and James start off with a very brief opening, like, “Hi, my name is Simon/James, and I came here because I feel our government caters to Wall Street, wealth and privilege. And now I’ll take questions.”

    From there, the rage will vent, and Simon/James can suggest ways these people do have power that can bring about change at the top.

    Does Simon have students that will need letters of recommendation from him? Make them earn it, especially for the privilege of having Simon as an instructor. Get them to do the same thing in another sad community.

    Someone record each town hall meeting with a camcorder and upload it to Google afterwards.

    There is a powder keg of anger in this country waiting to explode. All it takes is a spark.

  10. I caught the last part of the Diane Rheem show just now. I was actually trying to call in a few questions. Almost impossible to get through. I am going to shoot an email with the questions. Great book by the way. And I agree with Deebs, Charlie Rose should be your next stop.

  11. LOL. Great way to kick start the whole April 1st thing. I sent this to a colleague downstairs and he responded “Ok. That’s it. We are officially a Banana Republic”….I still don’t think he got it. LOL

  12. Sprizouse,

    Thanks for your apology, but it’s wholly unnecessary. The business model of Barnes & Noble and Borders is to allow customers to read books in their stores for free. They realized that the more inviting you make a bookstore, the more time people will spend there, and the more they will buy . . . on average. They realize that for some people book consumption will go down, but they know that in aggregate they win. It’s a business calculation for them.

    Arguably the same holds for us. We have no control over how books are distributed, but (assuming a free market in which the winners are acting efficiently, yes, a big assumption) if B&N and Borders have figured out how to maximize sales, that helps us, too. So don’t feel bad about it.

    Incidentally, in the early 1990s I lived in Paris for about a year. FNAC, one of the biggest bookstores, had a similar policy, and you would often seen dozens of college students sitting on the floor in the aisles reading entire books and taking notes (in their notebooks).


  13. Mine, too. Very first impression: The book jacket feels like it will last 100 years. Hopefully, students and financial professionals will still be reading and learning from 13 Bankers at least as long as that.

  14. Simon,
    I heard you on Diane Rehm today – wonderful show! I had just yesterday gotten into a heated email discussion with an old school chum who’s VERY T’d off at what he thinks is government intrusion into everything, so he was not keen on regulation of the financial industry until I sent him a link to Baseline Scenario and a few other nudges.
    One of the callers to the show today bemoaned the lack of “personal responsibility”, as did my friend yesterday, regarding the people who “bought more house than they could afford”. What about the personal responsibility of the financiers to not drag us all into penury as they reap huge rewards? I just read a headline today about how hedge funds are reaping huge paydays again.
    Listening to the BBC this morning, I heard the political strategist for the conservative candidate say, “You can’t have capitalism when the poor have no capital, and you can’t have a secure country when the social bonds are broken.” The widening gap here between the very rich -very much the minority-and the bulk of society who is barely getting by is a recipe for disaster. I am always amazed at the “let them eat cake” attitude of the gilded set. But since they live in a bubble where they only associate with those of like station, they literally don’t get it. I hope their awakening doesn’t come at the cost of total social disintegration.

  15. PS – I’m also ordering two copies of “13 Bankers” – one for myself, and one for my school chum!

  16. I can personally vouch for Dr. Johnson’s accessibility, it’s remarkable for such a busy guy. I understand the need to get the most bang for the buck in promoting the book and the agenda, but I’m disappointed not to see any appearances in flyover country. Denver’s a pretty big city with a lot of readers, and they would find a great reception in Boulder, which is probably the most liberal place on a line between Cambridge and Berkeley. The idea for a campus tour makes sense to me at least. As personable and communicative as Dr. Johnson and James are, I think they could make a great impression in person at such events.

  17. Thanks for the kind words and the words of encouragement James and Ted… but I convinced Pops to buy it on the Kindle for himself. He did. So, in the end, no harm, no foul. Right?

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