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The Power of Yes: A Dramatist Seeks to Understand the Financial Crisis [Paperback]

David Hare
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Oct 2009

On 15 September 2008, capitalism came to a grinding halt. As sub-prime mortgages and toxic securities continued to dominate the headlines well into 2009, the National Theatre asked David Hare to write an urgent and immediate work that sought to find out what had happened, and why.

Capitalism works when greed and fear are in the correct balance. This time they got out of balance. Too much greed, not enough fear.

Meeting with many of the key players from the financial world, David Hare, author of The Permanent Way and Stuff Happens, has created The Power of Yes: a compelling narrative, as enlightening as it is entertaining.

It's like a ship which you're being told is in apple-pie order, the decks are cleaned, the metal is burnished, the only thing nobody mentions, it's being driven at full speed towards an iceberg.

Not so much a play as a jaw-dropping account of how, as the banks went bust, capitalism was replaced by a socialism that bailed out the rich alone.

The Power of Yes opened at the National Theatre, London, in September 2009.


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The Power of Yes: A Dramatist Seeks to Understand the Financial Crisis + The Norton Anthology of Poetry + Literary Theory: An Anthology (Blackwell Anthologies)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (1 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571254683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571254682
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 12.6 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 186,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

David Hare is the author of 30 full-length plays for the stage, seventeen of which have been presented at the National Theatre. They include Slag, The Great Exhibition, Brassneck (with Howard Brenton), Knuckle, Fanshen, Teeth 'n' Smiles, Plenty, A Map Of The World, Pravda (with Howard Brenton), The Bay At Nice, The Secret Rapture, Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, The Absence Of War, Skylight, Amy's View, The Blue Room (from Schnitzler), The Judas Kiss, Via Dolorosa, My Zinc Bed, The Breath Of Life, The Permanent Way, Stuff Happens, The Vertical Hour, Gethsemane, Berlin/Wall, The Power Of Yes and South Downs. His many screenplays for film and television include Licking Hitler, Wetherby, Damage, The Hours, The Reader, Page Eight, Turks & Caicos and Salting the Battlefield. He has also written English adaptations of plays by Brecht, Gorky, Chekhov, Pirandello, Ibsen and Lorca.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hare has a Hit 1 Nov 2009
Format:Paperback
My experience of David Hare plays is that they are often hit and miss: for every "Plenty" or "Amy's View" you get a "My Zinc Bed" or "Breath of Life"--and the writing in the plays is not significantly better or worse, just some of the plays "work" better than others. Mr. Hare's most recent play before this one, "Gethsemane," I found VERY disappointing, but this new one, "The Power of Yes," seems a return to form. If you liked "The Permanent Way" and "Stuff Happens" then don't hesitate to pick this one up. Again Hare constructs his narrative from public records and interviews he recently conducted--this time adding himself as a character on stage to tie the material together. The result is informative, entertaining and compelling. He even manages to add a little personal conflict when a Financial Journalist implicitly compares him to Fred Goodwin of RBS and other bankers who refuse to take criticism: "When you write a play and the critics say it's crap. Do you accept it?"

Ultimately the image of Hare interviewing the billionare who met with Alan Greenspan both before and after the financial crisis will stay with you:

Soros: When we met...it was before the crisis, and...he said, 'Markets are imperfect but they bring such benefits that you have to live with the fact that from time to time they collapse, so you just pick up the bits.' But then I saw him again recently--after the crisis...He said 'What I said in June no longer applies.' Yes, but even at the first lunch,...when he said, 'The benefits of the market are so great that you have to live with the price,' even then I had an answer...I said, 'Yes, but Alan, the people who end up paying the price are never the people who get the benefits.'
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Poer of Yes 2 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
I had been to see the play at the National Theatre and wanted to recall some of the detail. The book is an excellent playscript and has the stage directions from the production. As I purchased it shortly after the play it was all very vivid. It was better to buy this through Amazon than pay full price at the National Theatre bookshop.
Since reading 'The Power of Yes' I have bought 'The Habit if Art' and 'Enron' before seeing the productions. I think this will make the experience even more worthwhile.The Power of Yes: A Dramatist Seeks to Understand the Financial Crisis
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "THE POWER OF YES" IS THE POWER OF ACCURACY AND TRUTH 30 Nov 2010
By Joseph B. Hudson Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Tuesday
November 30, 2010

Sirs:

After 32 years of the practice of law, the
bulk of which was in the areas of large-scale
syndicated loan faciilties, State and Local
and Municipal public finance (both tax-exempt
and taxable), large-scale project infrastructure
finance, and structured financial products,
I can only say that the playwright David Hare
has somehow - and almost miraculously, for a
layman - "hit the nail squarely on the head"
with regard to the origins of the current
"Great Meltdown."

On a par with the great Ms. Gillian Tett's
recent work, "Fool's Gold," (Ms. Tett is currently
the Financial Affairs editor of The Financial Times
of London), this book is - or should be - mandatory
reading for anyone who wishes to see exactly what
happened to "the 'genius' of 'laissez-faire' economics"
when it was allowed to run amok in an ideologically
based 'perfect storm' of deregulation.

We are back, as it were, in late 1933 - having not
remembered history, and having been condemned to
repeat it.

Three cheers for David Hare! He richly deserved
his KBE honors.

J. B. Hudson, Jr., Esq.
Fallbrook, California
United States of America
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Hit for Hare 31 Oct 2009
By EPluribusUnum100 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My experience of David Hare plays is that they are often hit and miss: for every "Plenty" or "Amy's View" you get a "My Zinc Bed" or "Breath of Life"--and the writing in the plays is not significantly better or worse, just some of the plays "work" better than others. Mr. Hare's most recent play before this one, "Gethsemane," I found VERY disappointing, but this new one, "The Power of Yes," seems a return to form. If you liked "The Permanent Way" and "Stuff Happens" then don't hesitate to pick this one up. Again Hare constructs his narrative from public records and interviews he recently conducted--this time adding himself as a character on stage to tie the material together. The result is informative, entertaining and compelling. For the non-British reader a little research will help your appreciation of the "drama" immeasurabley"--e.g. finding out about Fred Goodwin--former head of Royal Bank of Scotland who many in Britain believe was almost single-handedly responsible for the financial melt-down there. But even without such knowledge the play is enjoyable. The image of Hare interviewing the billionare who met with Alan Greenspan both before and after the crisis will stay with you:

Soros: When we met...it was before the crisis, and...he said, 'Markets are imperfect but they bring such benefits that you have to live with the fact that from time to time they collapse, so you just pick up the bits.' But then I saw him again recently--after the crisis...He said 'What I said in June no longer applis.' Yes, but even at the first lunch,...when he said, 'The benefits of the market are so great that you have to live with the price,' even then I had an answer...I said, 'Yes, but Alan, the people who end up paying the price are never the people who get the benefits.'
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarity, understanding, wisdom 16 April 2012
By L. J. Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
You can, like me, read book after book on the causes of the Great Recession.
Read them, discuss them, try to learn from them, and end up mired in a quicksand of details that dishearten and diminish.
Not this play by David Hare.
Read this play; let the ideas settle in your mind.
The gritty detail is embedded in a lucid intelligence that communicates with such clarity it is like a pearl.
The final words of the Power of Yes are filled with the kind of wisdom we need to speak truth to the beneficiaries of the financial disarray that continues to mire us all.
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