is the 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 knowledgeand most of all devastatingly funny. I urge you to read it." Will Self, author of Liver
"Warning to bankers everywhere in the world. You better buy every single copy of I.O.U.
because Lanchester's painted the target on you that the rest of us so desperately wanted to see. My prediction: bankers may be an endangered species once I.O.U.
gets out, and from this read, I can tell you, while I hate to rush Darwin, it can't happen fast enough." James J. Cramer, host of CNBC's Mad Money
and author of Jim Cramer's Getting Back to Even
is so clear and funny and cleverly written. I love the personal asides and observations and jokes and bits of autobiography that make it seem human and not text-book like. And the more and more improbable analogies for the ups and downs of the markets (a bride's nightie...a gorilla on a pogo stick). But what I like most is that it makes me feel intelligent, because I can now understand all this stuff.” Marina Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
, the only truly entertaining book I've read on the subject, the British writer John Lanchester theorizes that after the Cold War, capitalism could go wild because Western governments no longer had to worry about competing with communism. This is a fascinating idea...” Jacob Weisberg, Newsweek
“The novelist John Lanchester's short book on the finance crisis, I.O.U.
...is literary and profound...But this is not just finance-for-poets. Lanchester...is a master explainer with an excellent grasp of sophisticated finance. His book is a gem.” Christopher Caldwell, The Daily Beast
“Witty, lucid, solicitous of the average person's difficulty in grasping the conceptual underpinnings of international finance...Lanchester manages to know enough to explain the terrain clearly and yet he never loses his perspective...Lanchester had me in the palm of his hand...” Salon.com
“[A] writer with literary bona fides...[Lanchester] has the intellectual heft and the chops, as a jazz musician might say, to deliver a resounding book about the crisis...An elegant and wonderfully witty writer, Mr. Lanchester approaches his subject with a newcomer's verve. It's infectious...frame[s] the Great Recession in startlingly original terms.” Devin Leonard, The New York Times
, Sunday Business
“[H]ere's a prediction: Few if any of these [finance] books will be as pleasurableand by that I mean as literate or as wickedly funnyas John Lanchester's I.O.U
...Mr. Lanchester explains these things methodically, with mathematical rigor, but he is also, crucially, guided as much by perception and feel...history lesson is peppered with dead-on references to everything, including “Annie Hall,” “The Simpsons,” “The Wire,” Hemingway and Jacques Derrida...Before you begin to cry, pick up a copy of I.O.U.
Good humor and good company will be the things that'll get us through.” Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“[John Lanchester has] leaped into nonfiction, combining prodigious research and reporting with his storytelling gift. The result is this elegantly crafted little book-equal parts history, economic primer, and social commentary-that manages to be, by turns, acidic, frightening, and sharply funny. What it is not is boring. In fact, this is a better book about the global meltdown than any other to date-and some of our best financial and business writers have weighed in on the subject...He explains everything so lucidly, so simply, refracted through the lens of history for perspective, that it all makes perfect sense. A” Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly
“[Lanchester] brings his mischievous wit to bear on the Great Credit Crackup in his boisterous primer...His method: to boil complex instruments and linkages down to anecdotes, outlandish images and acerbic asides that strip away those layers of bank jargon. The result is the perfect read for anyone still wondering what went wrong and why.” Bloomberg News