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Masters of Nothing: How The Crash Will Happen Again Unless We Understand Human Nature Paperback – 5 Sep 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback Publishing (5 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849541434
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849541435
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 391,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Anyone wishing to understand the nature of the global economic mess in which we still find ourselves - an understanding which is essential if we are to avoid a repetition - would do well to read this timely book. --Nigel Lawson

Amusing and incisive, Masters of Nothing is the best account of the crash I have read. Hancock and Zahawi make original and powerful arguments about the crash, told through gripping stories about the real behaviour of the people at the heart of it. Entertaining, honest and provocative, this is a must-read from two rising voices in British politics.
--John Humphrys

About the Author

MATTHEW HANCOCK is the MP for West Suffolk. He was formerly George Osborne s Chief of Staff and an economist at the Bank of England. NADHIM ZAHAWI is the MP for Stratford-on-Avon. He is co-founder and former CEO of YouGov plc.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steve on 8 Sep 2011
Format: Paperback
The media coverage of this book makes out that it's either a book about RBS and Fred Goodwin or about gender in banks, but it's actually much more.

Writing in an entertaining and accessible manner, Hancock and Zahawi examine the economic crash in a different way to other books and bring it alive with stories about the people who were involved. At the heart of their analysis and their solutions is behavioural economics, terms like loss aversion, bystander effect and prospect theory are all explained and used to explain the irrational behaviour that led us to the brink.

Whilst their conclusions on gender have been well trailed by the media there's a lot more in there on the Vickers review, the way corporate governance works and how we tackle the current regime of rewards for failure in banking, and in business across the board.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pete Farmer on 23 Sep 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Masters of Nothing is a hugely accessible, well researched and authoritative account of the events surrounding the banking crisis, written insightfully from the perspective of human behaviour.

Unlike many of the other works that tackle this subject which are fairly biased towards events in America, this book takes a more balanced approach and looks in detail at events that unfolded in London too.

The authors are both Conservative MPs, so it is no surprise that the previous administration takes many punches, although they are well argued and evidenced!

In many respects, this book tells the same story as the seminal Black Swan, but is infinitely easier and more fun to read!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Will Matthews on 13 Sep 2011
Format: Paperback
I initially bought this book to further my understanding of "The Crash" without having much knowledge of the authors and their established backgounds. Upon investigation however I learned that not only do the authors (Nadhim Zahawi and Matthew Hancock) have significant economic knowledge of the intricacies of the crash, but they were also active businessmen and economists during its occurence. From their established past's, a great book has been written that speaks with authority. It spectacularly combines human nature and finance using credible evidence and well conducted research and the book's fluidity contributed to what was ultimately an enjoyable read. 5 stars!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By harrylimex on 11 Feb 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All about the financial industry who know less than we all thought. A lesson in arrogance. Written by those who have knowledge of the subject, including one who is now an MP.
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There are many books which survey the events which led up to the financial crisis, and then chart its course. This book is different. It looks at the behaviour of the people involved: taking appalling risks because of inappropriate rewards; herd behaviour; the worst practices of male dominated groups and much more.

"You have to pay the most to get the best" is shown to be a fallacy, indeed a pernicious lie. The people who caused the crash are indeed "Masters of Nothing"

If only we could dismantle that and return to appropriate rewards, in right proportion to other people's remuneration, then how much better it would be for us all.

The final chapter gives a series of recommendations which, if followed, would transform our financial sector, indeed our whole society. The book would be worth it for those alone.
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There are many things on which I disagree with my MP, Nadhim Zahari; but for my money, he should arrange to have George Osborne abducted by aliens, and acquire the position of Chancellor for himself. This book demonstrates clearly how the current financial crisis came about, and suggests admirable solutions. The irony is that anyone with half a brain cell could see it coming: only the testosterone-fuelled lunatics at the top of Industry and Government failed to do so!

As ever, the book arrived in advance of the promised date and its second-hand condition (an ex-library book, indeed) was excellent.
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