Money is our global language. Yet so few of us can speak it. The language of the economic elite can be complex, jargon-filled and completely baffling. Above all, the language of money is the language of power - power in the hands of the same economic elite.
Now John Lanchester, bestselling author of Capital and Whoops! sets out to decode the world of finance for all of us, explaining everything from high-frequency trading and the World Bank to the difference between b******t and nonsense.
As funny as it is devastating, How To Speak Money is a primer and a polemic. It's a reference book you'll find yourself reading in one sitting. And it gives you everything you need to demystify the world of high finance - the world that dominates how we all live now.
Novelist (Capital) and New Yorker contributor Lanchester offers a terrific primer on financial jargon. Lanchester believes that ordinary people are perfectly capable of understanding the arcs of macroeconomics and managing their own microeconomic decisions they only need to learn the basic lingua franca. Lanchester's glossary cleverly illustrates arbitrage by way of cocoa futures, explains what a lender of last resort is, and helpfully defines terms such as "yield curve." Along the way, Lanchester throws in entertaining asides: for instance, he explains how the lexicographer who oversaw the Oxford English Dictionary felt about the word "monetarism." There are intriguing cultural byways, such as the plug for the "highly illuminating and not-at-all dated 1940 book Where are the Customers' Yachts? and a useful distinction between "wealthy" and "rich." The book's structure could be improved; it would be helpful if, within a definition, any words that have their own entries earlier or later in the book appeared in bold or italics. But that is a small quibble. Anyone who wants to understand the nightly news should keep this volume at hand.