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Planet Property Paperback – 1 Dec 2013
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About the Author
Peter Bill is a columnist for the London Evening Standard and Estates Gazette. He was editor of Building magazine for seven years and Estates Gazette for 11 years. He has won many awards for his writing.
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It goes into some detail about the property crash and subsequent recovery and explains the stupidy that abounded in the investment banking sector brilliantly.
I loved it.
The book I wrote, 'Opportunity Dubai' about the Dubai boom-and-bust exactly parallels the cycle that 'Planet Property' explains. I even used the same 'excerpts from my own columns' in the way that Peter has, also to the annoyance of some readers, although now that the wonders of the world wide web have trashed them it is nice to have them on the record.
But of course he still does it all better than I can, and his capacity for explaining hugely complex issues in a few words is a type of genius in my view, not a weakness.
My own book came out in November 2008 and proved to be another top-of-the-bubble indicator. Peter's sense of timing is also better than mine though selling my dot-com in 2007 was a standout best-of-career decision, and an indication of how you can learn from previous cycles.
This is not an academic tome, but it is definitely excellent journalism, informative, irreverent at times and easy to read. The appropriate anecdote or witticism surely lodges stuff in your brain better than endless dates, names and a flat presentation.
Well, Peter and I both made careers out of it! He's somebody who made a big impact on my life and this book could do the same for some readers, of that I am sure. Those who don't learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat it.
The book is a cracking good read. Even more so when you know some of the characters involved. Interspersed with the narrative are many of Peter Bill's Estates Gazette leaders which, seen in context and especially with the advantage of hindsight, are in many cases particularly prescient and give a real insight into sentiment in the sector at the time. Peter charts the build-up to the biggest property crash in history
Insights and information
Planet Property contains a wealth of insights and information for real estate aficionados including an invaluable breakdown by Tony Key of Cass Business School of the UK's £385 billion commercial property. One chapter is devoted to `politics, planning and taxes' and gives a most illuminating overview of the machinations of government. It makes you wonder how anything actually happens. There is so much more packed into Planet Property so get your copy and start reading.
Peter Bill's unerring journalistic eye and ear have captured the key events of the boom, bust and recovery and especially many of the characters involved.
It is a book you won't want to put down and it's a must-read for anyone seeking the essence of the UK real estate scene over the past 15 years.