Customer Review

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't do what it says on the cover, 10 April 2013
This review is from: How Do We Fix This Mess?: The Economic Price of Having it All, and the Route to Lasting Prosperity (Paperback)
This late addition to the post-financial-crisis-analysis genre has the feel of someone cashing in on a trend (and on his name). Peston writes well enough, for the most part, and there are a few chapters where he might actually be telling some readers something new, but only if they haven't read any of the earlier books on the subject.

There are long paragraphs of facts and figures that become quite tedious, and the book is repetitive and in places poorly edited. It comes across as a bit rushed and cobbled together, presumably with a lot of help from the co-author, who gets his name added in tiny print. This rushed feel is confirmed by what appears to be a last-minute chapter tacked on the end, about the Libor scandal at Barclays, which probably broke just before the book was going to print. No attempt is made to blend this information more smoothly into the text, so it comes rather obviously after the original concluding chapter.

But perhaps I'm being unfair. There's a lot of detail, some of it interesting, about British banks in particular, and also some good stuff on the Eurozone. Not all chapters are up to the same standard, however, and some appear to be a rehash of previous writings by the author, sometimes on subjects that have no relevance to the main theme of the book (lots of statistics on mobile-phone use in the developing world, for example).
My biggest criticism is that, apart from a few obvious points about reducing the power of the banks, there is very little in this book that fits the title: How Do We Fix This Mess (if one can fix a mess -- shouldn't messes be cleaned up rather than fixed?)

This book is mostly about the state of British and international banking, and as such is probably of limited appeal. Those who might be interested have probably read a lot of this before. As Business Editor of the BBC, Peston knows his stuff, but this adds little to the large stack of books on the financial crisis, and as I said, there are no new ideas here with regard to a fix.
This strikes me as a typical case of a book being published because of who the author is, rather than because of what he has to say.
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Location: England

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