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Whoops!: Why everyone owes everyone and no one can pay Hardcover – 28 Jan 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 157 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (28 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846142857
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846142857
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 157 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 268,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


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. I urge you to read it. (Will Self )

Explains the madness of modern capitalism with razor-sharp insight, brilliant clarity and a refreshing dose of humour. A great book. (John O'Farrell )

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 )

Scarier than Thomas Harris (Nicci French )

Original . . . beautifully written . . . both entertaining and profoundly anger-inducing (Chris Blackhurst, Evening Standard )

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 )

Wickedly funny . . . Good humor and good company will be the things that’ll get us through (Dwight Garner, New York Times )

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 ( )

[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 )

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 )

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 )

Unashamedly a book for beginners; an informed outsider’s explanation of a series of extraordinary events (The Times )

John Lanchester's Whoops! is a book that made my head spin ... I must have read 30 books on the global economic crisis (I'm writing one myself) and this is the best. No question (William Leith, The Observer )

To make the financial sector more responsible, more people must understand what went wrong. As far as the literate British layman or woman is concerned . . . the process starts with reading this book (Andrew Martin, The Telegraph )

A devastating and 'devastatingly funny' analysis of the credit crunch and the subsequent global financial meltdown (London Review of Books )

A valiant and genuinely amusing attempt to describe how finance came off the rails . . . written with a good heart and a lively intellectual curiosity (Stephen Foley, Independent )

He starts with the observable and then scapes away to discover the truth (Paul Myners, FT )

We'll be living with the banking crisis for decades and devouring plenty more books about it too. But few, if any, will prove as pleasurable - and by that I mean as literate or as wickedly funny - as John Lanchester's latest book (The Scotsman )

A remarkable book ... in elegant phrases and witty analogies, [Lanchester] explains the crisis to the economically dyslexic in a way that actually sticks ... I finally grasp stuff such as leverage, credit default swaps, derivatives and am angry with my ditsy former self who dismissed these as the domain of the boring City types you get lumbered with at parties. (Janice Turner Times )

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 thw 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 )

I must have read 30 books on the financial crisis and this is the best, no question. Lanchester has a wonderful gift for explaining things in a simple way. (William Leith The Observer )

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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