For those who fancy tales of corporate fraud, dodgy accounting, international permutations of same, PR manipulators, foibles of regulators, weird judges, and such, this one goes to the top of the stack. The author, though an attorney, has a light nimble step of intelligence, great nimbleness and ease with words, ready humor, and is a great explainer of fairly complex things in plain English with relentless puckishness. I found myself smiling incessantly, and repeatedly laughing out loud. The reader was well-cast, matching his effervescently amused tone with the content. Being in legal and teaching fields, I admire this presentation and content.
This book is well-organized, very clear, and very comprehensive on its subjects. It has 10 books' worth of stuff, as I have rummaged around through similar titles picking out scraps of what is all laid out here, a-b-c, 1-2-3: the terminology, the history, etc. It gives a very complete history of money and debt, without bogging down in incidental details (as some authors seem tempted to pack in, perhaps to give an impressively big book). This is one of the better-edited books I have read. The author has positions and opinions, but always gives plenty of room in the discussion, indicating various voices on the important topics of the world's handling debt imbalances going forward. The narrator has a fine voice and style that serves the material well. This is not a personal finance book. As the title suggests, it is about the big picture, but I find it very pertinent to my political thought, plans and expectations. I wish I read a book like this long ago.
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.
I purchased this book because I saw Chrystia doing an interview about the topic. Starts with a survey of plutocrats in the past to establish a basis for comparison but quickly devolves into an apologist's vantage of plutocrats and oligarchs, a trend that continues past half the book. I was a bit discouraged with the tone, but I decided to finish it. She finally returned to the tone I expected, albeit more politically correct and nuanced treatment than I would have liked.
As I listened to the audiobook version, I'll mention that the narrator did a good job reading the material, notwithstanding the mispronunciation of several words, most notably "specious" and employing the rendering of "conservatorship" with a long A vowel sound; this, whilst technically correct is awkward and uncommon, so perhaps an overly pedantic choice over the more typical pronunciation with a short A or schwa sound."