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Customer Review

on 15 February 2009
I first noticed Robert Peston on BBC news during the early days of the credit crunch, when he whipped up a feeling of excitement with his strange use of STRESS in the middle of sentences and hesitation when there was no need for a pause.
Having read the book I have come to the conclusion that it was updated to make it more attractive (and more sellable) by linking it to the current financial crisis. The first part of the title "Who Runs Britian?" is what the book is really about. The second part "..and Who's to Blame for the Economic Mess we're in" was probably tagged on later (by the publisher?)and is misleading.
Most of the movers and shakers that Peston talks about had little or nothing to do with the current crisis, unless you feel any successful entreprenuer is ultimately as culpable as the bankers.
The book describes the deals and life-styles of people like: Philip Green, Sir Arnold Cohen, Stuart Rose and Lord Levy. A lot of the book is based on interviews that Peston did with these characters. Only a small section of the book deals with toxic loans, SIVs and CDOs and the real causes behind the crisis. There is also an ambiguity about how much Peston admires these people and how much he dilikes them. Is he really happy being the journalist he is, or would he rather have been one of these city giants himself?
Ultimately the book is an interesting piece of ephemera. Personally, I would much rather read some of the weightier writers who do work for the Financial Times. People like Martin Woolf, Niall Ferguson and John Authers may not have all the contacts that Robert Peston has, but they have a deeper understanding of how the financial markets work and are therefore able to make much more profound statements than the more lightweight Robert Peston.
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