How to Speak Money reveals how the language of money is often a tool to conceal and mislead; he explains hundreds of common economic terms and argues that we all need to speak money lest those who do write the financial rules for themselves....
In the mid-1930s, North America's Great Plains faced one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in world history....
In the summer of 1964, with the civil rights movement stalled, seven hundred college students descended on Mississippi to register black voters, teach in Freedom Schools, and live in sharecroppers' shacks....
In this eloquent challenge to the reigning wisdom on globalization, Dani Rodrik reminds us of the importance of the nation-state....
Michael Lewis intelligently - and humorously - explains the current economic crisis in The Big Short....
Richard H. Thaler has spent his career studying the radical notion that the central agents in the economy are humans - predictable, error-prone individuals....
In 2000, the total GDP of Earth was $36 trillion. At the start of 2007, it was $70 trillion. Today that growth has gone suddenly and sharply into decline.
John Lanchester travels with a cast of characters - including reckless bankers, snoozing regulators, complacent politicians, predatory lenders, credit-drunk spendthrifts, and innocent bystanders, to understand deeply and genuinely what is happening and why we feel the way we do.
I've read several books (Gillian Tett's Fools Gold, Michael Lewis's The Big Short, Gordon Brown's apology..) about the financial crisis, so I can't really say I learnt anything new from John Lanchester. However, I was richly amused and entertained by his whimsical and informal style. His wry wit and colloquial turn of phrase often had me laughing out loud. And it is a story so amazing, so profound and so ongoing (unfortunately) that it bears retelling a few times, in different registers, by different people. Mr Lanchester is a definite outsider. Son of an old fashioned (good/safe) banker, he read English and became a writer. He can take the 'man in the street' perspective, and uses analogies that make the whole episode both accessible and maximally absurd.
Normally I don't like narrators trying to mimic real characters (e.g. the voices of Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan), but in this context - a rather theatrical book - it does more or less work. The narrator also manages to personify Mr Lanchester's animated and humorous style.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
This book has tackled a diificult subject and made it interesting and accessible. The author is very knowledgeable but he puts over his knowledge in a very clear and witty way.
I have been telling all my friends about it and I hope it has a well deserved sucess
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed and learnt from this book. It sets out an admirably clear and concise history of the origins of the financial crisis; the author has a knack for explaining things simply, and for the telling analogy in describing such things a financial derivatives - you dont need to be an economist or a mathematician to understand them - and he balances the detail and the big picture very well; some nice touches of humour too. Towards the end of the book he does rather get on his soap box, and his ideas for avoiding similar crises in the future are a bit confusing and contradictory; for example he seems to think that Government could run banks better than bankers, which is more than a tad naive, I think. So four stars rather than five for me.
Narration is excellent; very well paced, which is very important with this sort of book, and nicely varied in tone so you dont get distracted or lose interest.
I listened to this book not long after listening to Michael Lewis' 'The Big Short', also available on Audible. Both books together paint a well rounded and intersting picture of what happened and who should shoulder the blame - worth getting if you're interested in the subject.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Whoops! again? Why?
I worked in banking for over 30 years and found this audio book clear and easy to follow. I have listened to it a couple of times to remind myself why the global markets are in a mess.
What did you like best about this story?
I found the information up to date and esay to follow
What about Jonathan Iris’s performance did you like?
The narrator's performance is spot on, neither boring or too excitable. Just what a book of this content needs.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I found myself shouting outloud in agreement with the book
Any additional comments?
I would recommend this book to anyone you don't need to be an economist to understand it !
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Recent exhortations in The Guardian that the time is now to stop reading fiction and start dipping into popular economics swayed me to give this one a try. I’m not going to stop reading fiction, and neither do I think (or, let’s be honest did I anticipate) that Lanchester has the authority of a Chomsky. But an honest endeavour in switching from fiction to faction is well rewarded - this is an informed and informing volume which has the added benefit of impeccable timing. It is important to understand the current economic environment and the insights provided here are wonderful, fresh and endlessly entertaining - but whether the prognosis goes far enough is a matter for further debate and consideration.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is a really fascinating audiobook. Lanchester has done a excellent job of making the financial concepts accessible and explaining them in everyday terms. (I'm an engineer and have next to no knowledge of economics and finance). Occasionally he gets a little carried away with analogies in art & music, but it's rare and it doesn't get in the way of the story.
The narration is some of the best I've heard. If I were reading this on paper, I think I might have struggled to motivate myself to finish it because it's such an unfamiliar area to me. Having it read via audiobook made it so easy to just keep listening though and I'm glad I did. It's a fascinating story, superbly told and engagingly read.
Well worth a listen.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I've read and listened to several other books on the 2007 crash and am late to this one, but this is one of the best. It is about as clear an account of the meaning, origin and development of credit default swaps, collateralised debt obligations and sub-prime mortgages as you will get.
Ten years on much of what he predicts has come to pass, and the rest has still probably yet to happen, as successive governments have managed to just about keep the sinking ship afloat.
Very easy to understand and funny. Explained the topic brilliantly. It showed very clearly why the crash was caused and what happened after.
This is the second book I've read on the topic of the crash-well worth a read / listen!
The narrator is clear, speaks well and is easy to listen to - something I've found not to be the case in other audio books.
The book is well written and details the causes and influences to the financial crash in an interesting but more importantly emgaging way.
A great summary of the reasons behind the credit crunch, which caught us all unawares! The author goes about explaining very complicated financial products and jargon in a language we can all understand, with great examples from everyday life. I really liked the way John Lanchester explains the role risk management plays in the world of finance, the attitudes, perception, assessment and mathematical predictions. Altogether, a very comprehensive account and analysis, strongly recommend to everyone who wants to understand how modern capitalism works (and fails).