At the end of Pub Crawl this morning we offered a short (and incomplete) list of books that financial reporters were either working on or done with that are likely to be affected by what happened on Wall Street last week. Among them was The Sellout, by CNBC scoop artist Charles Gasparino, which is described by its publisher, Collins Business, as a chronicle of “how the leaders of numerous major U.S. banks—including Bear Stearns’ Jimmy Cayne—caused their firms to lose billions of dollars” by dealing recklessly with subprime mortgages.”
Collins announced Mr. Gasparino’s book through a posting on the Publishers Lunch deal wire just over a week after the collapse of Bear Stearns. According to Mr. Gasparino, though, the idea for the book—to broadly examine Wall Street’s biggest players and argue that they are making themselves vulnerable to foreign money and jeopardizing the U.S. economy—was born and sold to Collins in January 2008, months before Bear fell, and was kept under wraps until the firm’s demise in March finally compelled an announcement.
Mr. Gasparino said he actually considered narrowing the scope of his book to just Bear Stearns at that point, but was dissuaded by Ethan Friedman, an editor at Collins.
“I said, ‘Listen are you sure we shouldn’t be writing a Bear book?'” Mr. Gasparino said. “And he said ‘No! Do not do it… It’s too narriow. I think you want to writer a bigger book.'”
Now that it’s clear that Bear is only one part of the story, Mr. Gasparino is glad he took the advice.