The person entrusted with the introduction to this (admittedly good-looking) book, Peter C Newman, refers in short order to the 'poet' Willa Cather and the 'ethicist' Herbert Spencer. It is not a good start. On the same page Ondaatje is described as 'fast on both feet and terminally adaptable', by which I think we may presume Newman to mean 'fast on his feet and in the highest degree adaptable'; next we're treated to the spectacle of Ondaatje himself enthusiastically describing leopards, on which he's considered something of an expert when out of the financial jungle, as 'the only animals, besides man, that kill not just in self-defence, but for the sake of killing.' Has he never heard of the domestic cat? When not pushing at the frontiers of natural science, he relies on lame cliché ('you make your own luck', 'there are only winners and losers') and Newman laps it up; he too considers himself a champion ,'he, in corporate finance; I, in books'(sic). Are introductions not subject to the same editorial control as the main body of text, or is this simply another vanity project? (See next review.) From this point on it does pick up (how could it not?) and the book is *very* good-looking - but you will understand if I advance with trepidation..