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Masters of Nothing: How the crash will happen again unless we understand human nature

Masters of Nothing: How the crash will happen again unless we understand human nature [Kindle Edition]

Matthew Hancock , Nadhim Zahawi
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description


An epic inquiry into the human desire to defy death and how to overcome it. --Julian Baggini, Financial Times

A must-read exploration of what spurs human ingenuity. --New Scientist

Product Description

Behaviour is important. Whether this be the behaviour of those who saw it coming, or of those who constantly berated them. The behaviour of those who rode the boom and switched at the tipping point to ride the bust, or the behaviour of those who held on to their principled as the system collapsed around them. It was human behaviour after all, that led us to construct a bubble nobody suspected was dangerous, yet nonetheless would burst with disastrous consequences.  Contrary to the views of many before the crash the cycle is inevitable  -  you cannot eliminate boom and bust. In a boom the bullish are promoted whilst the cautious are overlooked, reinforcing the cycle. This factor is generally ignored by the beautiful but flawed models of economic analysts.  Since we cannot abolish the cycle, we must ensure that busts are not so dangerous in the future. The policy solutions are there if we're brave enough, from changing incentives, and creating fiscal and financial regulators with clout and discretion, through to changing corporate governance and shifting the power of executives.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Steve
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A great insight 23 Sep 2011
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling Read 13 Sep 2011
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Where Did it All go wrong 11 Feb 2013
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars A book that needed to be written 29 Dec 2013
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Great work by my MP and Sidekick! 5 Dec 2012
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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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting take on the financial crisis and how to recover
I have read quite a few books on the financial crisis but this book is unusual in that it concentrates on the underlying motovational reasons which caused the crisis and, more... Read more
Published on 12 Feb 2012 by ajb bucks
2.0 out of 5 stars useful insights
I heard Mathew being iterviewed (on radio 4 today), and his weak response to questions concerning the importance of pursuing individuals who have recklessly contributed to the... Read more
Published on 31 Jan 2012 by realshadey
3.0 out of 5 stars Masters of Nothing
A light look about the financial crisis which is good for the layman as it attempts to make sense of human behaviour during in a financial crisis. Read more
Published on 7 Nov 2011 by Maurice Howse
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for everybody
It's remarkable that, to my observation anyway, this important and highly readable book has received little attention in the mainstream media. Read more
Published on 10 Oct 2011 by A. Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-informed insight into financial crash
I agree with the comments of all the other five star reviewers. I really like the way the authors clearly explain the technical complexities of the bundles of debt that threatened... Read more
Published on 10 Oct 2011 by Mary Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Prompt, courteous, reliable service. Thank you!
I will order from them again. Their shipping price was very reasonable .
That is all I have to say.
Published on 6 Oct 2011 by Affi Ansari
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