Top critical review
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Interesting, in places
on 11 November 2012
This history of money and debt didn't actually tell me much I haven't read about before, so I'm not sure if it's aimed at readers such as myself, who already have some knowledge of the subject and who have read a great deal about the recent financial crisis, or at the general public.
It appears to be a case here of yet another book trying to cash in on the market for post-crisis examination of the system -- an update of a previous book that the author wrote about money -- rather than a book written because the author really had something new to say. There's a lack of focus in both the subject matter and the intended market.
The book's strong point is a good historical account of how we ended up with the rather unsuitable monetary system that we have now, and how it lead to the credit bubble and the 2008 crash -- for anyone new to the subject, this is well worth reading.
In fact, as a general account of the monetary system and in particular the recent focus on debt creation, and also the valid point that there is bound to be more trouble ahead, the book does the job well.
It is all very readable, apart from one thing -- the general reader doesn't want the narrative flow to be interrupted all the time by quotes from other sources, as if we're reading a student thesis and the author has to prove that he's done his research. It slows things down, usually for no good reason, eg: '... as Richard Duncan shrewdly pointed out ... debt and asset prices are closely linked ...' That doesn't strike me as a particularly shrewd observation - more a statement of the obvious, I would have thought. Why do this?
The average reader doesn't want these interruptions, doesn't want to keep referring to notes at the back of the book. I suggest that the author, or publisher, should decide who this is aimed at and revise the text accordingly.