• by John Lanchester
  • Narrated by Jonathan Iris
  • 7 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In 2000, the total GDP of Earth was $36 trillion. At the start of 2007, it was $70 trillion. Today that growth has gone suddenly and sharply into decline.
John Lanchester travels with a cast of characters - including reckless bankers, snoozing regulators, complacent politicians, predatory lenders, credit-drunk spendthrifts, and innocent bystanders, to understand deeply and genuinely what is happening and why we feel the way we do.


What the Critics Say

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


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Elegance and charm, jazzing on a well-known theme

I've read several books (Gillian Tett's Fools Gold, Michael Lewis's The Big Short, Gordon Brown's apology..) about the financial crisis, so I can't really say I learnt anything new from John Lanchester. However, I was richly amused and entertained by his whimsical and informal style. His wry wit and colloquial turn of phrase often had me laughing out loud. And it is a story so amazing, so profound and so ongoing (unfortunately) that it bears retelling a few times, in different registers, by different people. Mr Lanchester is a definite outsider. Son of an old fashioned (good/safe) banker, he read English and became a writer. He can take the 'man in the street' perspective, and uses analogies that make the whole episode both accessible and maximally absurd.

Normally I don't like narrators trying to mimic real characters (e.g. the voices of Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan), but in this context - a rather theatrical book - it does more or less work. The narrator also manages to personify Mr Lanchester's animated and humorous style.
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- Judy Corstjens

Clear exposition of the financial crisis

I enjoyed and learnt from this book. It sets out an admirably clear and concise history of the origins of the financial crisis; the author has a knack for explaining things simply, and for the telling analogy in describing such things a financial derivatives - you dont need to be an economist or a mathematician to understand them - and he balances the detail and the big picture very well; some nice touches of humour too. Towards the end of the book he does rather get on his soap box, and his ideas for avoiding similar crises in the future are a bit confusing and contradictory; for example he seems to think that Government could run banks better than bankers, which is more than a tad naive, I think. So four stars rather than five for me.

Narration is excellent; very well paced, which is very important with this sort of book, and nicely varied in tone so you dont get distracted or lose interest.

I listened to this book not long after listening to Michael Lewis' 'The Big Short', also available on Audible. Both books together paint a well rounded and intersting picture of what happened and who should shoulder the blame - worth getting if you're interested in the subject.
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- Tom

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-05-2010
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks