September 26, 2006

So I'm thinking I need to write a book - "HousingPanic's Guide to the Housing Bubble Collapse - The End of the Late Great Housing Ponzi Scheme"


Or something like that... Basically HousingPanic - The Book

Only problem is I'm just too damned busy (yet lazy) to tackle it. But I figure with almost 2,000 posts since we launched, nearly 2 Million page views, an active and growing HP community, and a very timely and impactful issue, a book would be a pretty cool thing to put out at this point. But I want HP'ers feedback before I even give it any serious thought.

The blog itself serves as a great base, with all the articles and comments (and funny pictures) that could be drawn upon to form the book and tell the story, hopefully with some humor balancing out the scary stuff.

And, as loyal HP'ers know, I tend to say a few controversial things here and there. So I think it'd be an interesting read, especially in a time of super-slick, do-nothing politicians, lies and more lies from the NAR and REIC, and a mainstream media looking for someone to blame for this debacle.

So, any aspiring writers out there who would like to collaborate on a book, as a ghost-writer or "as told to" kind of thing, let me know. Or anyone involved in publishing, I'll be looking for advice.

I figured we'd hit all the hot buttons and try to tie it together in a neat little bow, including off the top of my head:

The corrupt REIC
Mortgage brokers
Realtors
Builders
Appraisers
The Bubblicious Fed
Greenspan's bubbles and call to ARMs
No-down, negative-am, "liar's loans", interest only
Bush's misguided ownership society
The Fannie/Freddie disaster

Our corrupted Congress
Stupid tax policy
The rip-and-read MSM
Brainwashed/Braindead/American-Idol Americans
The problem with commoditized loans
24-year old speculators
Classic bubbles and manias
Human greed and denial
The out of control consumer / debt fueled society
Building standards, sprawl, urban planning and the exburban nation
Wal-Mart/China/Trade Imbalance/Interest Rates
Poor financial knowledge of Americans
The manufacturing jobs we've lost, never to regain
Illegal immigration
Iran/Iraq/Gas Prices
US Debt/$$ crisis
Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid/The Bankrupt USA

What'd I leave out?

And would you buy the book?

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about this for a chapter.

"How to bankrupt yourself by selling your house and buying oil with your money"

panicearly said...

anecdotal evidence through out will give it humor.

just watched the 3rd installment of Too Fast Too Furious, Toyko Drift.

i know i`ve lost credibilty now :) but anyway the first 15 minutes is hilarious. These teenagers are racing through a mc.mansion construction zone
with massive houses all in mid construction, 100`s of them.
perfect movie(15 minutes anyway), perfect title.
it was too fast, but now we are entering the too furious stage. buckle up Hp`ers

David in JAX said...

I think it would be better to write a book on how blogging changed many Americans' views on the housing industry. Or, how blogging helped take down the REIC. I think we are going to see a lot of spin on how blogging changed other things (ex. politics) and you might as well be there to get your piece of the action.

If you did write a book on the housing bubble collapse you probably won't get any traction from the press (which you would need) because you are not part of the REIC. I think all of the bubble collapse books will go to the same guys who wrote the get rich on the bubble books. You probably will see a book by David Lareah on, "How I predicted the housing bust."

In either case, if you did write a book, I would buy it.

oneclickplus said...

way ahead of you - already writing a book (e-book, but it could be printed obviously). If you've done your homework, you know there's already a few books of this type out there. I think in order to be successful (the book, that is), it can't be just ABOUT the bubble/meltdown. That would be like writing a book about fat people. No one will buy it UNLESS you tell them how to solve the problem (lose weight). Hence, all the diet books. You need to offer solutions or at least explain where/why the reader is in trouble and how he/she might improve upon that position. Just telling people how screwed they are, even if true, won't sell the book (IMO). Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Keith,

Yes you definitely SHOULD write a book--and as soon as possible.

In fact, I have a suggestion for your "ghost writer" or "as told to" person:

John Rubino.


John has written a number of books on various subjects, including one on the real estate bust, back in 2003, entitled "How to Profit form the Coming Real Estate Bust".

He also contributes to www.thestreet.com.

Unfortunately, I don't have an e-mail or other contact for John, but I'm sure you can find him with a quick Google search.

Again, I strongly urge you to puruse this project--imeediately. You may be sitting on a gold mine here and you should take advantage of all the hard work you have done in amassing information on this site.

Butch

Anonymous said...

Don't bother. People buy these "investment/get rich quick" or "The Sky is Falling /Run for your life" books because they want someone to tell them what the future will be like.

A Housing Bubble WILL crash book might sell, but a I "Told you So & Here's Why" book on the Housing Crash won't sell 10 copies.

Just MHO.

Paul E. Math said...

I like the idea, but I agree that you have to stay away from the 'I told you so' tone.

Can anyone tell me if there is a book out there that documents this multi-tentacled monster, the REIC? I think the concept really could strike a cord with people who were caught unawares by the bursting of this bubble and will want someone to blame. It also plays into the paranoid conspiracy theory psychology. And the beauty is, this is no paranoid fantasy - this is real.

You can document all the stories like the one last week about those poor people having trouble selling their 3,000 sqft house that's just too small to start a family with - how could they start a family when they only have 4 bedrooms and no swimming pool? It's that kind of biased journalism that makes you realize you're being misled by the mainstream media.

The book should be like Fast Food Nation (which is crap but it sold because it fed into a pre-existing suspicion). Again, the differentiating factor for your book is that it really is true.

I love the idea.

FC John said...

I'd buy it!

It would be like looking back at a scrap book of some of the happiest, stress and debt free days of my life.

Keith you are a great writer and it would be a warning to future generations that it is never “different this time”.

Anonymous said...

reporting by catherine reagor in arizona republic

Anonymous said...

How about calling your book
"Equity Gone with the Wind" ?

Or perhaps " Even the RE Monkeys Fall out of moneytrees"?

Anonymous said...

keith, i think you should do it, but do it quick, before casey starts his. lol.

i also think it would be an ineteresting read if you have real stories of victims of various exotic loans. it will be a lesson learned for future generation.

another piece of advice, make sure you proof read it over and over again, because the "spelling" of words that i've noticed here are terrible.

Anonymous said...

Maybe start your book

"It was a dark and stormy year"

:D

Joey said...

Why not use your blog material?

It would be cool if it was written in timeline form, month by month, or quarter by quarter. The most relevent articles would be included, along with the more outrageous comments by HPers and FBers. Maybe throw in a MSM article excerpt on each quarter to show how clueless they were.

Add a little smugness, a bit of "I told you so" and some FBers horror stories and you've got a winner.

You've got all the material you need on your blog. It really should not be so hard to write this. Get an elephant boy on www.elance.com or www.rentacoder.com to write it for you.

Anonymous said...

REAL ESTATE! Or how to take one up the ASS with a smile!

Anonymous said...

with all the dumb asses in the USA you could just publish the blog whole and sell it, no additonal work and a perfect timeline.

Anonymous said...

Israel Israel Israel!!!!!!!! The biggest thief that is sucking us all dry!!

Anonymous said...

keith,

here's on good title; The Real Estate Book That Realtors & Brokers Don't want You to Read.

Anonymous said...

Write the book! I'll buy at least one copy. . .

Maybe you should do a chapter on home equity extraction via heloc's and how that has kept the consumer driven US economy afloat.

Also a chapter on 'flipping' as has been showcaseed by 'Flip this House' and related TV shows.

Anonymous said...

Include plenty of examples of housing mania craziness. My favorite recent examples include:

The southern lady who took out a HELOC because she was afraid the price of her house was going to decrease and she wanted 'to get her equity out'.

The grocery clerk in Salinas who bought a $600K house because he 'wanted to leave a legacy for his family'.

tabasco jenkins said...

Classic. I should write a book. Would somebody do it for me?

Anonymous said...

tabasco jenkins:

get borkafatty and richard help to you.

Anonymous said...

You'd have to get permission from the copyright holders for the pictures that you swipe and use without permission on your Web site. You do know, don't you, that most of the pictures you use, without credit, are protected property?

Crucial Taunt said...

I second this title:

Anonymous said...
keith,

here's one good title; The Real Estate Book That Realtors & Brokers Don't want You to Read.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 5:36:36 PM

Anonymous said...

another title to consider keith;
The Truth About Real Estate That David Lereah Didn't Tell You About.

Anonymous said...

I'd buy the book and might even help to write it, but only if it was the Bust Book with Attitude. The cover would look like that scene from the Wizard of Oz where the house squishes the witch.

Lots and lots of mean, lowdown snark, good, mean cartoons and pictures. Toeing the line on defamation of RE people. If I wanted another boring, factual, rehash of data I already know, I'd go for something by Shiller or the dull Ben Jones or someone with a lot of PhDs. And good God, not another boring book about blogging. ZZZZZZZ.

You only need to sell about 10K copies to be considered a best-seller and I think that there are enough bubbleheads to accomplish that.

Now, to publishing advice. Here's how the book deal works. Write up an outline, write up that sample chapter with illustrations and start calling Agents. It is almost impossible to get a book published without an Agent who knows Someone in the right place.

Anonymous said...

after-the-fact or i-told-you-so books do not do well. when conditions and mass-social mood turn ugly, and millions are suffering real hardships, people do not plop down dear cash for a gloomy book by a self-congratulatory author; they do not want to be reminded how greedy they were or how much of a sucker they were for following the maddening crowd.

it's too late for an i-told-you-so book. despite having heeded the bubble's warnings and implications and having sold, few of us bubble sitters will escape what promises to be a VERY difficult 5-10 years for us, our families, friends, relatives, and coworkers.

rather than boast about our having sidestepped the bubble, we ought to be thinking long and hard about how we're going to survive the bust.

when the fed cuts the funds rate to 0% and treasury note/bond yields fall to 2%, returns from savings, stocks, real estate, and commodities will disappear. people will be short income and cash for staples, let alone discretionary items. foreclosures, crime, assaultes, divorce, and social unrest will soar. we darn well had better get our priorities in order. this is not some academic exercise for most people; times will be rough and get rougher before things improve.

mall rat teens, wives, and single females are going to learn some hard lessons in economics and what is important in life when the cash dries up. in the meantime there are going to be some nasty, angry females to contend with.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3:35:44 PM wrote:

“another piece of advice, make sure you proof read it over and over again, because the "spelling" of words that i've noticed here are terrible.”
________________________

And sometimes the grammar are terrible too!

Anonymous said...

keith,

you might want to seek some help from prodessional realtors; seriously, i mean the honest to goodness ones, who can navigate you through certain real estate processes. you need that. you definitely need to know how these exotic loan works, how much commission they get, etc.

Can they really do that? said...

How about how to make money as RE flippers now buy stocks, driving the equities up and up despite a poorer and growing more debted/broke J6P.

Notice the disparity between gasoline and diesel prices? Think GS and the markets as we run into the fall elections.

Anonymous said...

Some of this book has already been written - check out
Empire of Debt by Bill Bonner. The trainwreck ahead for America's finances is spelled out in frightening black and white.

Anonymous said...

"some of this book has already been written..."

i know, but i don't think there's one out there yet that comes directly from real people going through difficult times as a result of the housing bubble. this is a perfect "reality" show if you will. real accounts from real people.

Anonymous said...

"We can do this"

By Susan

danimal said...

Like the book idea, though you should probably shoot for something that has a bit more of a shelf life.

As per previous comments, a book detailing how bad things are or how bad somebody screwed up won't sell very well. If you've got a wife constantly telling you how stupid you are for trying to become "the next real estate tycoon", do you really think you're going to buy a book to do the same?

So, here's the angle as I see it. You've got two options.

Option #1: Title the book "Things are NEVER different this time!" and discuss historically how every time people have shouted from the rooftops that things are different, they eventually reverted to the mean. Talk about the dot-com bust, housing bust, and so forth at length with some ongoing wisdom for future generations to learn from.

Option #2: Go straight to the blame game with a book titled "The 12 people who screwed you...and how". When people are down, they don't want to hear about how they f'd up - they want to hear about how David L., Alan Greenspan, mortgage brokers, the REIC screwed them over so they get to be completely blameless in their misery. People need to feel like they never had a shot and that they were felled by some great conspiracy of wealthy, land-owning boogeymen.

Just my thoughts. I say go for it and best of luck.