Lessons from the fall

  @FortuneMagazine August 29, 2013: 7:07 AM ET
OUT16 lessons fall
(Fortune)

In this issue we commemorate the anniversary of something whose remembrance requires no celebration. It's been five years since the smartest guys in the room blew up the economy. Those were dark days. I remember being in a conference room in the late autumn of 2007. Our CFO, not a jolly fellow to begin with, was looking out the windows at the Manhattan skyline. "In a couple of months," he said, "the mortgage market is going to fall off a cliff and take the rest of the economy with it." I thought, "Come on, Ned. Have another plate of berries and cheer up." He had the berries. He didn't cheer up. Now we know he was right.

By 2008 we were in free fall. Everybody's stock lost most of its value. Each day brought disclosures of how intelligent people can be stupid when their minds become besotted with money and the unfettered power to make it. Thank goodness we've learned so much from it all!

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