“The book teems with eccentric characters and scenes that made my skin crawl…. Explained simply, read easily, Bad Paper defies expectations. It should also raise quite a few alarms.”-Colin Dwyer, NPR
The Federal Trade Commission receives more complaints about rogue debt collecting than it does about any activity besides identity theft. In Bad Paper, journalist Jake Halpern reveals why. He tells the story of Aaron Siegel, a former banking executive, and Brandon Wilson, a former armed robber, who become partners and go in quest of “paper”-the uncollected debts that are sold off by banks for pennies on the dollar. As Aaron and Brandon learn, the world of consumer debt collection is an unregulated shadowland, where operators often make unwarranted threats and even collect debts that are not theirs.
Introducing an unforgettable cast of characters, Halpern chronicles Aaron and Brandon’s lives as they manage high-pressure call centers, hunt for paper in Las Vegas casinos, and meet in parked cars to sell the social security numbers and account information of unsuspecting consumers. The result is a vital exposé on the cost of a system that compounds the troubles of hardworking Americans and an astonishing feat of storytelling.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, October 2014: Everyone knows about collections agencies, but how they actually operate is much more interesting than you probably think. Falling somewhere between Glengarry Glen Ross and Mean Streets, Jake Halpern’s Bad Paper introduces us to an economy spanning many shades of gray. Halpern’s book tracks the descent of “paper” (spreadsheets containing the information of millions of debtors and their debts) as it’s sold for pennies on the dollar by banks and credit companies and passed through a network of collectors. Files are often bought and sold multiple times, each transaction stripping away the best remaining prospects as collectors wring paper dry through all manners of persuasion and coercion. Along the way, Halpern encounters first-hand the game’s players, from the financiers at the top of the pyramid to mid-level “brokers” and the ground-level phone-jockeys; these are all hard men within their contexts, as one tale of a Tarantino-grade stand-off over stolen information attests. This book is unexpected, and unexpectedly fun. –Jon Foro
In a nation whose debt has outgrown the size of its entire economy, the greatest threat comes not from any foreign force but from Washington politicians who refuse to relinquish the intoxicating power to borrow and spend. Senator Tom Coburn reveals the fascinating, maddening story of how we got to this point of fiscal crisis-and how we can escape.
Long before America’s recent economic downturn, beltway politicians knew the U.S. was going bankrupt. Yet even after several so-called “change” elections, the government has continued its wasteful ways in the face of imminent danger. With passion and clarity, Coburn explains why Washington resists change so fiercely and offers controversial yet commonsense solutions to secure the nation’s future.
At a time when millions of Americans are speculating about what is broken in Washington, The Debt Bomb is a candid, thoughtful, non-partisan expose of the real problems inside our government. Coburn challenges the conventional wisdom that blames lobbyists, gridlock, and obstructionism, and places the responsibility squarely where it belongs: on members of Congress in both parties who won’t let go of the perks of power to serve the true interests of the nation-unless enough citizens take bold steps to demand action.
“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” -John Adams
Throughout a distinguished career as a business owner, physician, and U.S. senator, Tom Coburn has watched his beloved republic careen down a suicidal path. Today, the nation stands on the precipice of financial ruin, a disaster far more dangerous to our safety than any terrorist threats we face. Yet Coburn believes there is still hope-if enough Americans are willing to shake the corridors of Washington and demand action.
With an insider’s keen eye and a caregiver’s deft touch, Coburn diagnoses the mess that career politicians have made of things while misusing their sacred charge to govern.
Coburn’s incisive analysis:
Reveals the root causes of America’s escalating financial crisis Exposes Washington’s destructive appetite for wasteful spending, power grabs, backroom deals, and quick non-fixes Rises above partisanship to implicate elected officials of all stripes in steering the nation off course Lays out a commonsense guide to restoring order Concludes with a clarion call and sound advice for Americans who would dedicate themselves to defusing the debt bomb Above all, Coburn believes the United States can continue as a beacon of opportunity for future generations-but how we act today will determine whether we deliver the nation to our children and grandchildren fully alive, on life support, or without a pulse.
A white marriage is no match for dark desires. Sir Percival Hanbury is prepared to pay almost any price to regain his family’s ancestral seat. Yet the demand of its current owner, the Earl of Stanville, sets his teeth on edge. Wycombe Oaks can be his-if he agrees to marry the earl’s disgraced daughter. With memories of his first marriage still tormenting him, Percy never intended to marry again. But if he refuses, the castle will be razed. Lady Letitia’s beauty and fortune proved no match for scandal, costing her a fiancé and her reputation. The last thing she wants is to instead marry a boorish country squire, but the alternative is even worse. In spite of himself, Percy finds his resistance melting in the face of Letitia, an accomplished artist who takes deep interest in his family pile. Until all that’s left is sizzling desire. And while the broad-shouldered, handsome baronet far exceeds Letitia’s grim expectations, he’s a harder challenge than his half-ruined castle. But to trust a woman again, Percy must face dark secrets from the past…and learn to trust himself, as well. Warning: Contains English country gossip, vengeful plots, a brooding, tormented baronet, and a feisty lady who refuses to let anything break her spirit.
Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also one of the most stressful–and most expensive. Expectations run high and it’s tempting to whip out the credit cards to create the perfect Christmas for your family, with lavish meals, new decorations, and the latest, greatest gadgets and fashions for everyone on your Christmas gift list. But you don’t have to overspend or go into debt to have a fabulous holiday.
Financial expert Mary Hunt shows readers how. She helps readers assess their financial situation, commit to no new debt, and think creatively about their gift list. With Mary’s guidance, readers will identify what has caused them to overspend in the past and approach this Christmas with a plan and a new attitude toward holiday spending. This just might be the best gift you can give yourself and your family. This book is an updated edition of Debt-Proof the Holidays.
Jack Ryan, the new president’s National Security Adviser, sees the problems of peace fully as complex as those of war. Enemies have become friends, friends enemies, and even the form of conflict has changed.
When one of the new enemies prepares to strike not only American territory but the heart of its economy, Ryan, with the help of CIA officers John Clark and Domingo Chavez, must prepare an untested president to meet the challenge. But how? For there is a debt of honor to be paid — and the price will be terrifyingly high.Razio Yamata is one of Japan’s most influential industrialists, and part of a relatively small group of authority who wield tremendous authority in the Pacific Rim’s economic powerhouse. He has devised a plan to cripple the American greatness, humble the U.S. military, and elevate Japan to a position of dominance on the world stage. Yamata’s motivation lies in his desire to pay off a Debt of Honor to his parents and to the country he feels is responsible for their deaths: America. All he needs is a catalyst to set his plan in motion. When the faulty gas tank on one Tennessee family’s car leads to their fiery death, an opportunistic U.S. congressman uses the occasion to rush a new trade law through the system. The law is designed to squeeze Japan economically. Instead, it provides Yamata with the leverage he needs to put his plan into action. As Yamata’s plan begins to unfold, it becomes clear to the world that someone is launching a fully integrated operation against the United States. There’s only one man to find out who the culprit is: Jack Ryan, the new president’s National Security Advisor.
Every novel by Tom Clancy has been “a jaw-tightener and a nail-biter of the first order,” as the San Diego Union described Without Remorse. But Debt of Honor surpasses them all, with Jack Ryan facing his greatest challenge-against a periil that may become all too real. Debt of Honor is Tom Clancy’s most timely and gripping novel yet. Filled with the exceptional realism and intricate plotting that are his hallmarks, it attests to the world of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “The man can tell a story.”