All The Devils Are Here by Bethany McLean and Joseph Nocera
I can't really say where in the book I exactly read these things, but the books does a great job of describing the people in charge of the financial institutions that sorta started the ball rolling on this latest financial disaster. Some, like AIG's Hank Greenberg, were extremely hands-on and controlling while others just felt plain incompetent like Merrill Lynch's Stan O'Neal who ended up marginalizing the very people who would have helped save his company from falling apart. I really felt like they were someone to maybe admire a bit or just kinda feel really upset at. It's easy to view Wall Street as some giant entity that just tries its best to make and accumulate as much wealth as it can, but it's hard to imagine the kind of people who work there. Imagine all of the bright eyed college graduates rolling around in the expensive cars with six-figure pay checks as they go around committing fraud and the company CEO's above them who are just as human as you or me and can clearly make mistakes even with the best of intentions. Men from humble beginnings like Countrywide's Angelo Mozilo, wanting to do something right, instead end up taking the fall for one of the biggest economic downturns the history of the country. Maybe the only difference between them and myself is a giant money making corporation that has too much influence in the welfare of the nation, but that doesn't mean they are any smarter or more intelligent than I am. Which is actually kind of scary.
Hopefully, if anything, students will be able to leave the throngs of egocentrism that apparently abounds during adolescence and understand that people are people. These people, while powerful, were certainly not above mistakes and having faults. There is probably a lesson in all of this about hubris and pride, but even without those things it would be nice to see students trying to understand what it's like for other people in all walks of life. Not that I want them to envy these people in particular. For my own sake anyway.