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Publisher Description

'Endlessly witty, but the wit is underpinned by a tremendous, unembarrassed anger and moral lucidity. A superb guide which will turn any reader into an expert within the space of 200 pages' Jonathan Coe

There's probably a word in German for that feeling you get when you can understand something while it's being explained to you, but lose hold of the explanation as soon as it stops. A lot of writing about the credit crunch has that effect: you can grasp it while it's going on, and then as soon as it's over, you can no longer remember the difference between a CDO, a CDS, an MBS, and a toasted cheese sandwich. Whoops! makes it possible for all of us to grasp how we found ourselves in this predicament.

What went wrong? 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, with an effect roughly resembling that of putting a car into reverse while doing seventy down a motorway.

John Lanchester is a journalist, novelist and winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award. He is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books and the New Yorker, with a monthly column in Esquire. John's piece on our love affair with the City, 'Cityphilia', generated much response on its publication in January 2008 and indeed predicted a worldwide crash based on the misuse of financial derivatives. In October 2008 he charted the crisis as it had developed over the year in 'Cityphobia', which also attracted much attention as a piece that explained not only what had happened, but how we felt about it. John was raised in South-East Asia and now lives in London

John Lanchester travels with a cast of characters - including reckless banksters, 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.

Business & Personal Finance
January 28
Penguin Books Ltd

Customer Reviews

Misfit island ,

Loved reading this book

This book was a great read.

Thank you.

jonmay ,

Cheers you up while terrifying you

A fast paced and easily readable account of the causes and probable consequences of the banking crisis. Everyone should be given a copy by their state and have to pass an mcq before being allowed a vote.

Two tiny things in my edition: .3% is three in a thousand, not one in three thousand; and (despite the ironical intent) 'all rich people are smart' is definitely NOT a logical conclusion from the premise 'all smart people are rich' (bidirectional error or affirmation of the consequent).

Jimmydee1984 ,

Scary stuff...

This book provides a chillingly frank explanation and evaluation of the banking crisis, it's causes and effects on all parties affected. The beauty of John Lanchester's writing is that the complicated nature of the subject matter is made so accessible for any reader. Complex ideas are broken down and explained in 'everyday' language, which only goes to emphasise even more how short-sighted, arrogant and lacking in common sense the banking sector appears to have been in creating this crisis!

The final chapter of this book is one of the best evaluations of a situation I have read and John Lanchester provides well rounded and sensible insight into the potential future of the world economy, based on what should happen and what probably will happen....after reading the book, two unsurprisingly different things.

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