BERKELEY – To solve a problem, it is not enough to know what to do. You actually have to implement the solution – and be willing to change course if it turns out that you did not know quite as much as you thought. That is the message of two recent books that, together, tell you everything you need to know about the 2008 financial crisis: what caused it, what can be done to prevent it from recurring, and why those things have yet to be done.

The first book is The Shifts and the Shocks, by...

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