Whoops!: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay Paperback – 7 Oct 2010
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This is what George Bernard Shaw might have called An Intelligent Person's Guide to the Crisis of Modern Capitalism, and everyone ought to read it (Robert Harris, Sunday Times)
Original . . . beautifully written . . . both entertaining and profoundly anger-inducing (Chris Blackhurst, Evening Standard)
The route map to the crazed world of contemporary finance we have all been waiting for. John Lanchester's superb book is everything its subject - the 2008 crash - was not: namely lucid, beautifully contrived, comprehensible to the reader with no specialist knowledge - and most of all devastatingly funny (Will Self)
Wickedly funny . . . Good humor and good company will be the things that'll get us through (Dwight Garner, New York Times)
Endlessly witty, but the wit is underpinned by a tremendous, unembarrassed anger and moral lucidity. A superb guide which will turn any reader into an expert within the space of 200 pages. (Jonathan Coe)
Explains the madness of modern capitalism with razor-sharp insight, brilliant clarity and a refreshing dose of humour. A great book. (John O'Farrell)
Scarier than Thomas Harris (Nicci French)
John Lanchester's newfound mission: to explain the world of finance to the general public . . . The result is the perfect read for anyone still wondering what went wrong and why. Unless you'd rather they didn't know (Bloomberg)
Literary and profound . . . a master explainer with an excellent grasp of sophisticated finance (Christopher Caldwell, The Daily Beast)
Acidic, frightening, and sharply funny . . . a better book about the global meltdown than any other to date (EW.com)
[A] sober message lurking among Lanchester's delightful wordplay, and it deserves attention by everyone who cares to understand where we are, how we got here and who is responsible (John Lawrence Reynolds, Globe and Mail)
This is a piece of genius . . . It tells a proper story, like a novel, and we're all part of it - which means it is *gripping*. Yes! Gripping! A book about money! I know! But it's true. It is necessary, particularly - but not exclusively - if you're somebody who thinks, 'Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Iceland, um, mortgages, er...' and doesn't want to keep thinking it until the end of time, amoeba-stylee. I humbly posit that it is a masterpiece (India Knight)
Lanchester has turned that fascination - coupled with a kind of astonished anger - into a lucid, conversational account of the crisis designed for non-financial types and helpfully leavened with jokes, swearing and interesting asides (Quentin Webb, Reuters)
An excellent book for anyone wondering what the hell is going on. Triple A, as the credit rating agencies might say (Irish Times)
Or you could simply borrow the book from someone. If they've read it, even better - they won't be expecting you to return it (The Telegraph)
For anyone still wondering what the hell those bankers did with our money, try John Lanchester's deliciously escoriating Whoops! Even someone who can't remember their eight times tables comes away feeling wonderfully well informed (Allison Pearson summer reading recommendation, Psychologies)
This account is by far the most lucid and entertaining explanation of the world banking crisis of 2008 (Megan Walsh summer reading recommendation, Times)
A lively lay reader's guide to the financial crisis, written by a novelist who sought to educates himself about banking and its failures. Funny and pointed, it exposes the gulf between the two cultures of modern Britain: financial and non-financial (Ed Crooks summer reading recommendation, Financial Times)
If you want to look like a rock of good sense, a person who is deep and wise and worried, then I suggest Whoops! by John Lanchester ... If only the Queen Mother were still alive, it would make sense even to her (Colm Toibin summer reading recommendation, Guardian)
About the Author
John Lanchester is a journalist, novelist and winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award. He is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books and the New Yorker, with a monthly column in Esquire. John's piece on our love affair with the City, 'Cityphilia', generated much response on its publication in January 2008 and indeed predicted a worldwide crash based on the misuse of financial derivatives. In October 2008 he charted the crisis as it had developed over the year in 'Cityphobia', which also attracted much attention as a piece that explained not only what had happened, but how we felt about it. John was raised in South-East Asia and now lives in London.
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Top Customer Reviews
Nobody could avoid being totally bemused by the shenanigins of the financial institutions who brought about the credit crunch in 2008 - 2009. I certainly could not nor could I grasp the scale - what does $ trillions mean? How do sane bankers provide mortgages to poor people without any security of assets or income and convert them into triple AAA rated loans? And how can these loans be multiplied up to such an extent that they threaten the global financial markets? What are derivatives and why do they now dominate the financial markets? Should Lehman's bank and the US mortgage companies - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - have been allowed to fail? Were we right to bail out Northern Rock and rescue our banks whose key expertise is meant to be assessing risk? And why were the credit rating agencies not blowing the whistle on the incompetent bankers - surely that is what they are paid to do?
Whoops provides a comprehensible and entertaining account of what went wrong. He places the credit crunch in historical context - the collapse of communism in 1989 and the liberalisation of the financial markets especially the Big Bang in the UK and the repeal of regulation in the US. He explains in layman's terms the explosion of derivatives like credit default swaps (CDS's) and collateralised debt obligations (CDO's) and how they rapidly came to dominate the markets. The lack of understanding of their risk by those who ran many banks is absolutely staggering.Read more ›
I spent a year at the Stanford Business School, studied finance, and read several issues a year of the Economist, but I had no idea what was happening. Nor despite reading Galbraith's "The Crash" and Vince Cable's book did I understand it until I read John's book. It is a tremendous achievement and illustrates the value of a highly intelligent mind untainted by technical immersion in a subject studying a phenomenon.
John brings all his wit and novelist skills to the book so that it is highly readable, explains the near incomprehensible, and makes you laugh. It's one of life's greatest pleasures to be fascinated, amused, and educated all at the same time.
I thoroughly commend this book but prepare to be unnerved and horrified in a way that Stephen King has never done!
Take it slowly, a chapter a day at most; too much outrage all at once could stop your heart. This is not over-written hype, despite the whacky, attention-grabber title. Lanchester's a good writer and journalist, and relies on quotes from the banksters themselves, and from the laughably inadequate legislation that 'controls' them. He likens the explosion in financial self-delusion since the end of the Cold War -- the creation of trillion-dollar markets in financial instruments such as derivatives, collateralised debt obligations and sub-prime mortgage-backed securities, much of it rated AAA and, as we now know, much of it worthless -- to the onset of modernism in the arts, 'a break with common sense, a turn towards self-referentiality and abstraction and notions that couldn't be explained in workaday English.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's now 8 years since the financial crisis first broke (yes, yes, I am reading this book 6 years after it came out), but how many of us really understand what actually happened? Read morePublished 3 months ago by Chris Widgery
A must-read book on the credit-crunch and what caused it all. It is written in a no-nonsense humorous way, with regular digs at just how ridiculous the world of finance has become. Read morePublished 3 months ago by kingg
Really great book! You'll learn a lot from this one. Well written.Published 5 months ago by David Beck
I bought this book for my brother and he actually lent it back to me. A must read. But not one for casually picking up and putting down, I had to sit in a quiet place and often had... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Nana Fremah G-A
Feedback from the family member I bought this for is good. Very informative and a good read.Published 6 months ago by M
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