This is a thoughtful guided tour of recent financial history. The viewpoint is built around correlations, linkages between deals, markets and asset-classes. I had noticed these on a daily basis and thought them important, but hadn't seen a focused explanation such as this. This book addresses various general investment types and portfolios, showing how the idea of diversification can be an illusion. Oil and commodities fluctuations over the last few decades are one big focus, in the USA and relatedly in emerging markets. But this book is a big-picture overview of the global economy, linkages across its regions and parts, finance innovations, shocks and adjustments over recent times, through 2010, with well-thought considerations for the future. I had seen many of these terms before but always enjoy a new lucid explanation and walk-through with its own angles and nuances. I would put this in my "top 5" of financial books, out of dozens read lately. The downloadable graphs and charts are readily understandable and well-integrated with the text.
Bagehot was a ground-breaking writer on things financial and economic. This work was a landmark I believe in the formation of 20th-century concepts of banking, and central banking in particular. Those who enjoyed "The Bankers Who Broke the World" might like this, though this is drier. I liked the cadence of this fine, sober English prose.
I found this a great accompaniment to an all-online financial accounting class, because it fills in what the class and textbook lacked: a nice conversational sort of overview of how all the parts fit together.