I'm trying to create some more space on my iPod, so lately I've been listening to a backlog of episodes of This American Life. If you don't listen to this show, you're really missing out on something -- it's frequently funny and/or illuminating, and it's always entertaining. I'm a relative latecomer myself, having only started checking in occasionally with Ira Glass and his intrepid crew a couple of years ago, and it's only the last six months or so that I make a point of trying to listen regularly. Anyway, this morning I finally caught up with an ep from last September entitled "Return to the Giant Pool of Money," which is a repeat of a show originally broadcast in May of 2008 coupled now with a lengthy followup to the story.
This show is the best, simplest, most straightforward explanation of the housing and financial boom and bust I have heard. For the last couple of years, I have struggled to understand much of what is going on with the collapse of the world's banks and so on; I've felt as if I've had only the barest grasp on what I'm hearing. This particular episode of This American Life does a great job of explaining things (for instance, making it clear to me for the first time why those bundled adjustable rate mortgages were so appealing to investors) without dumbing any of it down. If you get a chance, listen to at least Act One of the show. It's enlightening.