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Flash Boys
Flash Boys
by Michael Lewis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating topic, but heavy going at times, 8 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Flash Boys (Hardcover)
Michael Lewis is a gifted writer. That is certain. He has taken a topic that I know moderately well, and which less talented writers have covered before (step forward Mr Patterson), and still managed to write a funny, impactful, impressive and insightful book.

However, whereas you could pick up Liars Poker or The Big Short without any prior knowledge of the topic, and still find them entertaining reads, I'm not sure that is true of this book. It can be very heavy going at times, and will be too technical for many. Personally, I liked the fact that he didn't dumb it down for his audience. It's about high-frequency trading, after all, so some appreciation of the micro-structure of markets is necessary. But many will find it too dry for their tastes.


Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think
Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think
by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.69

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written & Interesting, but content is a little thin, 4 Jan 2014
This is a well written book (one of the authors works for the Economist magazine, which prob explains it) and I find the topic interesting. This is a good introduction in that respect.

The problem is that the content becomes very repetitious very quickly. Apart from the fascinating examples given, the rest of the 'real' content could have been written in a couple of paragraphs. Instead it's padded out to eight or so chapters. It became a little tedious reading the same thing over and over again (forget about causality, big data is better than small data, data may have secondary uses aside from the primary purpose for which it was collected, etc)


Circle of Friends: The Massive Federal Crackdown on Insider Trading---and Why the Markets Always Work Against the Little Guy
Circle of Friends: The Massive Federal Crackdown on Insider Trading---and Why the Markets Always Work Against the Little Guy
by Charles Gasparino
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

2.0 out of 5 stars Highly flawed, but there is an interesting central narrative in there somewhere, 13 Dec 2013
The central narrative - involving wiretaps and big name hedge funds - is interesting but the book itself is poor in both structure (because the publisher wouldn't wait for the SAC investigation to conclude, the book has no ending as such. It's just a case of 'let's wait and see what happens') and also in writing style (some of the chapters seems strangely unrelated to each other, like they were written at different times and so facts/exposition is repeated). Equally problematic is that the author clearly doesn't believe that insider trading is a particularly bad thing (at least compared to other white collar crimes), which kinda makes you wonder why he wrote a whole book on it. If the author had (a) waited for the investigation to conclude, and (b) taken more time in writing it, this could have been a much better book.


Making It Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the men who blew up the British economy
Making It Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the men who blew up the British economy
Price: £5.89

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but with flaws, 1 Oct 2013
Making It Happen more or less gets it right - it gives enough detail, but doesn't drown the narrative in banking detail. It is also fairly even handed it it's allocation of culpability. It would have been easy to have made Fred a pantomime villan, but the author doesn't fall into this trap. I think the author deserves credit for this.

That is not to say it is perfect. The perspective is a little too 'Scottish' in places, and would benefit from a greater global perspective. And whilst I understand why the author opted for the structure he did, it meant that the book just faded out with a whimper, rather than the big BANG it deserved. Finally, if the author mentioned that Fred had the RBS limos painted in 'RBS Blue' one more time I think i might have knocked another star off ;)

Finally, I disagree with all the other reviewers saying that this is a story of megalomania, ego or hubris. For me it was a warning about the dangers of group-think and the bad decisions that get made when dissent is all but banned.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 17, 2014 4:59 PM BST


Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalisation
Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalisation
by Gordon Brown
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars There's simply no content, 20 May 2013
I found this book very disappointing indeed. There simply isn't much content to it. There is nothing to agree or disagree with, nothing to make you think, nothing particularly insightful. There is simply page after page of empty, middle-of-the-road commentary that really doesn't tell us anything. Poor.


HHhH
HHhH
by Laurent Binet
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book for fellow authors, not for readers, 20 May 2013
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This review is from: HHhH (Paperback)
Anyone who goes to the effort to write a book gets my respect, but I'm afraid the style of this book wasn't my cup of tea. I found the 'gonzo' or post-modern way of writing was self-indulgent and more than a little pretentious. Its a book for fellow authors rather than readers.

I also find that the book fails on its own terms. The author bangs on about how he is determined to make a historically accurate novel, but seems to skim over some important research, and also includes some rather questionable claims such as the idea that Hitler once flew into such a rage that he ended up chewing on a rug (?!?).

The translation seemed to have been well done, however.


Back from the Brink: 1,000 Days at Number 11
Back from the Brink: 1,000 Days at Number 11
by Alistair Darling
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An unexpectedly balanced & readable take on the banking crisis, 20 May 2013
I've read most of the books on the financial crisis and this - to my surprise - was both one of the most readable and one of the few books not to have attempted to re-write history.

Darling admits that mistakes were made, admits that events were moving fast, acknowledges the legal & political constraints in resolving the crisis - all of which gives a good context for the difficult decisions that he (and his team) were required to make.

There is a little political point-scoring (which isn't too my taste) but overall this is a very readable and - in my opinion - accurate representation of the UK givernment's response to the crisis.


2 x Universal Capacitive Stylus Pen for iPad 1, 2 & 3, iPhone 4, HTC, Tablet pc, Asus Tablets, Advent, Samsung Galaxy, Mobile Phones, PC, Blackberry Playbook & Phones, Android and all other Capacitive Screens Devices - Universal Stylus Touchscreen pen with STRAP - Assorted Colours
2 x Universal Capacitive Stylus Pen for iPad 1, 2 & 3, iPhone 4, HTC, Tablet pc, Asus Tablets, Advent, Samsung Galaxy, Mobile Phones, PC, Blackberry Playbook & Phones, Android and all other Capacitive Screens Devices - Universal Stylus Touchscreen pen with STRAP - Assorted Colours

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't give me the accuracy I was looking for, 19 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was looking or a tablet pen that I could use to write notes in meetings, etc.

These don't have the accuracy to do that as the nib is very fat and soft (think the size of a chalk stick and texture of an office stress-reliving toy, rather than a pen nib). Any writing you do with them has to be so large that it simply isn't practical.

Not for me, I'm afraid.


Black & Decker GD300 30 cm Lawnraker
Black & Decker GD300 30 cm Lawnraker
Price: £54.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small, a bit plasticky, but very powerful, 19 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I hired one of these for a day, and liked it so much I went out and bought one from Amazon.

It looks small and - if I'm honest - feels a bit flimsy, but my word does it do its job well! It throws up amazing volumes of thatch. It's really staggering how thoroughly it scarifies your lawn. It throws the rubbish into the basket at the front very well (this fills up too fast, but I can't find a scarifier that doesn't have this problem).

In my opinion, the function you get for the price is amazing.


Samsung SE-208AB/TSBS 8 x DVD+/-RW Slim Portable External DVD Writer - Black
Samsung SE-208AB/TSBS 8 x DVD+/-RW Slim Portable External DVD Writer - Black
Offered by The Component Shop
Price: £25.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nightmare to open the first time - then it works fine, 19 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's small, quiet, looks quite nice and performs its function admirably.

BUT it is a nightmare to get the CD drawer open the first time you take it out of thebox. Thank god I read a review here that said that you had to use a pin/needle with quite a lot of force. I was on the verge of giving up (I thought I'd been sent a faulty one) when I FINALLY managed to get it open. They really need to sort this out - they must get soooo many returns...

Its important to say though, that you only need to do this the first time, after that it works faultlessly.


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