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Publisher's Summary

The past 20 years saw unprecedented growth and stability followed by the worst financial crisis the industrialised world has ever witnessed.

In the space of little more than a year, what had been seen as the age of wisdom was viewed as the age of foolishness. Almost overnight, belief turned into incredulity.

Most accounts of the recent crisis focus on the symptoms and not the underlying causes of what went wrong. But those events, vivid though they remain in our memories, comprised only the latest in a long series of financial crises since our present system of commerce became the cornerstone of modern capitalism.

Alchemy explains why, ultimately, this was and remains a crisis not of banking - even if we need to reform the banking system - nor of policy-making - even if mistakes were made - but of ideas.

In this refreshing and vitally important book, former governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King - an actor in this drama - proposes revolutionary new concepts to answer the central question: are money and banking a form of alchemy, or are they the Achilles heel of a modern capitalist economy?

©2016 Mervyn King (P)2016 Little Brown Book Group

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Complicated matt presented undestandebly

Had to stop some periods but then easy to come back. Clear voice to listen to.

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  • Judy Corstjens
  • 05-01-17

Quite a hard read

I was constantly rewinding and ended up buying a hard copy. I would say Mervyn King is not a natural story writer - not a Michael Lewis - and the subject matter is hard. King seems to argue that people 'decide' to 'bring forward future earnings to the present' because they see the low interest rates and overestimate their future earnings (a sort of rational error). I think people just get into debt because they 'can', so I found some of his theorising unconvincing. I liked his 'paradox of policy', which explains why politicians are attracted to Keynesian expansion, because it works short term, but which actually gets them deeper in the s*** long run. This explains something that had been puzzling me - why politicians believe that more debt is a solution to a debt crisis. It is a paradox, comparable to Keynes's paradox of thrift. By the way, there is not really an optimistic ending to this book.

Narration. I found it irritatingly 'Jackanory'. ie. the style is like an adult reading to a child, with exaggerated emphasis on clues as to what will happen next.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • 09-06-16

Suprised by frankness

What made the experience of listening to The End of Alchemy the most enjoyable?

I had anticipated one book and got another. Anticipating a dryer tome sanitised of harsh truths, however, I received a compelling easy read with some unvarnished heavy opinions, given by a man whose opinions can be codified closer to the real world than most. Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gary Watts
  • 08-11-16

Brilliant and informative book on global financed

Would recommend to anyone wanting to understand how global finances work and the reasons behind previous downturns. Also explains his concerns on different currencies.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-06-17

Monotonous story, lacking sequence of events

I felt that the story was lacking "and so what" element at times. There was nothing new in Author's slides and several themes were totally repetitive and did not resonate with me. For example, "uncertainty" is a trendy term these days which doesn't really mean much, in my view. It was a stretch to dedicate a 1/3 of the book to a topic which is part of everyday life and has been for centuries. Narration is somewhat monotonous too.

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  • Riccardo tonelli
  • 09-17-17

lots of hindsight

interesting that Mervyn did not advocate any of the ideas in this book when he was in charge of the Bank of England.

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  • Derek
  • 08-28-17

King tells the story of Mr Money

King tells the story of money from our earliest records of it and why it came about, how it has progressed in history, and where we are today. He explains how it has necessarily become the domain of banks and attempts to solve some of the problems by creating a metric called 'alchemy', which would in part be dependent on a regulator to make specific, and argues why he believes it's a good measure of bank solvency in a crisis. Overall a very good story, pointing out very obvious problems in our world's monetary policy, but importantly offering possible solutions as well.

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  • FarmerDave
  • 04-26-17

Interesting subject but dull delivery

Really interested in the subject matter but halfway through struggling with the sleep-inducing narration. I have the physical book as well so I'll turn to that.

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  • Shorty
  • 01-06-17

Excellent!

Great first book, one I would have bought in hardback then taken a year to read. The narrator was excellent. 5 stars!

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  • N. Dwyer
  • 11-14-16

Whether you agree with the author or not it's an excellent book

Reviews are always subjective of course but I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Given it's fairly recent the discussion around Greek debt, the role of the ECB and most recently Brexit are thought provoking. Brexit isn't covered but it's clear that it's a symptom of a much wider problem for the EU. Great audio book.

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  • Jake
  • 01-12-17

Insightful if not a bit to clever about

This is a personal review as I feel it was very insightful and did in most areas breakdown the complex nature of the banking system very well, although I can't deny I got lost a few times with terminology. This book is an eye opener and one which I encourage people to listen to if we are ever going to question the future economy and banking infrastructure

0 of 1 people found this review helpful