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Who will be first to write about the crash?

By / September 24, 2008



You might think that it would be a bit premature to start pitching books about the current US financial crisis. (After all, wasn't just a couple of weeks ago that our government was still insisting that there was no crisis?)

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But if you think the world of publishing will be content to wait for the perspective of time and distance, then you'd be wrong.

According to yesterday's New York Observer, a pair of book proposals about the crash are already making the rounds. The Observer reports that New York Times business columnist Joe Nocera and Bethany McLean (former Fortune reporter and coauthor of Enron book "The Smartest Guys in the Room") are already pitching a book to publishers. They arrived at their decision, the Observer says, the day that Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch sold itself to the Bank of America.

Nocera and McLean are said to be seeking more than $1 million for their book.

At the same time, the Observer also reports that Newsweek's Daniel Gross will publish a "quickie electronic book" about the crash before the end of the year. Harris told the Observer that his goal was to "fill the void between daily and weekly journalism and the big door-stopper books that will be published a year or two from now.... I assume there's a real hunger for a comprehensive understanding of [the crash], which is not well sated by having to wait six months for a book."

And today the Associated Press reported that financial writer Roger Lowenstein (author of "Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist" and "When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management") is working on "Six Days That Shook the World," a "probing look" at this week's events for Penguin Press.

Perhaps none too soon. The AP also reports that it's become a "bull market" for books on economic disasters. According to publisher Viking, "Bad Money" by Kevin Phillips sold 5,000 copies in the two days following Phillips' appearance last Friday on Bill Moyers' PBS program. As of Wednesday night, the book was in the top 20 on Amazon.com's best-seller list.

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