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Publisher's Summary

The wildest story in the world these days is not fiction; it's what's really happening all around us as the world's global economy has gone into freefall. How did we get here? What does it all mean? How could so many smart people be so dumb and believe their own hype? Accessibly, cleverly, and with mordant humor, journalist John Lanchester trots the globe in search of the answers to these questions---to Iceland, the scene of catastrophic bank collapse; to Hong Kong, the city of his birth built at the altar of free-market capitalism; to the high-stakes leveraging of Wall Street; and to the tragedy of lost homes in small-town America. And in his capable hands, we see and understand what went wrong and why. Lanchester believes that the current crisis gives us an opportunity to bring about much-needed change and that a stronger and more compassionate system can emerge from the wreckage.

©2010 John Lanchester (P)2010 Tantor

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  • R. Sippel
  • San Jose, CA United States
  • 04-18-12

Economics for dummies

I couldn't stop listening! This book really helped me understand global economics. I enjoyed how the book broke down stocks, bonds, loans and helped my understand how so many people got sucked into the ride.
This book is well written, well narrated and SO not dry!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Unbelievably Well Done.

I feel as though I have listened to them all ... Too Big to Fail, On the Brink, The Big Short, and several others. The global economic crisis of 2008 is so interesting on so many levels. John Lancaster's treatment is the perfect blend of the technical details with the common sense reaction. "How is this even possible that all of these factors could play out this way?" "How did NO ONE but EVERYONE not see this coming?" "Why can't we FIX this?"

I love the British thinking and turn of phrase - irreverent, cheeky, and just a fun romp through a crazy garbage dump. I was entranced and will listen again when I need to be both challenged intellectually and entertained with one-of-a-kind wit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • William
  • Fox Chapel, PA, United States
  • 06-20-11

Good Facts, Bad Philosophy

Lanchester presents excellent observations of what happens when risk is removed from finance. He tries to validate his personal beliefs that Socialism is necessary to keep capitalism honest. Removing risk from finance is actually a manipulation of capitalism and is the direct cause of financial collapse. Lanchester thinks capitalists no longer have to be nice to others because there is no socialism to compare their actions to - a Karl Marx as yardstick, if you will. He suffers the same inattentional blindness many liberals suffer. (Watching the basketball - missing the gorilla) Watching the harmful escalation of bad behavior of "bankers" while missing the increasingly complex but well intended regulations which pushed those bankers by moving the cheese. There are no perfect regulations. It is always best to connect self interest to behavior as directly as possible. Allow banks to fail - caveat emptor doesn't work is everyone is protected from negative consequences.

Still, Langton is an excellent narrator. The book is a pleasant listen.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful