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Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear your diary for a week!, 9 April 2010
This review is from: Who Runs Britian?....and Who's To Blame for The Economic Mess We're In (Paperback)
I've had this book sitting on the shelf since last April after buying it in a fit of enthusiasm one day. Truth be told, I was a tad wary of picking it up, thinking that I would understand not a word of it and be left feeling more bewildered than fiscally enlightened.

I couldn't have been more wrong. Rarely has a subject grabbed me with so much force and simply compelled me into sitting down and learning. I kept finding myself opening it up again while sitting at my desk, desperately trying to cram in a few extra lines between tasks. The writing is vivid and engaging, and the subject matter actually makes for eye-popping reading at times, which isn't something I thought I would ever encounter in a book dealing with that jaw-droppingly sexy subject that is finance.

Peston covers most topics economic, from private equity to hedge funds to collateralized debt obligations (I didn't even know those existed let alone what they were before!) and their relevance to the market meltdowns of 2007 and beyond. It really is a whistle-stop `tourist guide' to modern economics, a subject which, I would hazard, swathes of us know shamefully little about. I personally have been completely staggered by some of the things I have read here. Particularly shocking and upsetting are Peston's insights into the way in which our elected representatives have consistently bowed down to what he refers to as `the plutocracy' through generous tax treatment, special favours and even knighthoods.

It appears to me that the world of the uber-financials is a sort of sub-terranian environment within itself that many (most?) of us in our day-to-day lives are quite happy to completely ignore or dismiss on the basis that it's too complicated to even begin to try and understand. Well Peston has done all of the hard graft for us here. The book has evidently been well-researched and his arguments are presented in an extremely readable fashion. When I come to think of it, there's actually no good reason for us not to be clued up on these things, especially given the fact that we are all affected one way or another by the wheeling and dealing that goes on in our biggest financial cities. As far as the UK is concerned (and there are some fascinating insights into other countries as well), I'd definitely advocate Peston's book as a good place to start reading. Just clear your diary of all prior engagements first!
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