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Man vs. Markets: Economics Explained (Plain and Simple) Paperback – August 28, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; Original edition (August 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062196650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062196651
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A straightforward, accessible, and often hilarious overview of our financial and economic systems, products, and concepts….[T]his helpful, amusing, and engaging beginner’s guide to our financial system is sure to delight and inform readers of all ages who want to understand and navigate the markets.” (Publishers Weekly)

“This accessible, often entertaining book will serve a valuable purpose.” (Kirkus)

“This book is a must-read for the financially under-educated....This inviting text provides a good springboard for investigating more of the frightening world of finance.” (800CEORead)

“Why can’t more financial books be this fun to read? Man vs. Markets deconstructs economic theory in a way that makes learning more fun than you ever expected.” (Better Investing)

From the Back Cover

After years of TV and radio coverage, gallons of newsprint ink, and billions of scholarly opinions on the blogosphere, do we really understand the financial engineering that brought the global economy to the brink?

The terms and acronyms that make up the language of economics are enough to cause the layman's head to start spinning: leverage, securitization, futures, options, MBS, CDS, CDO. Luckily, we have veteran journalist Paddy Hirsch—senior producer at APM's Marketplace and acknowledged Whiteboard Guru—to help us crack the code. In Man vs. Markets, he proves that it's not impossible to understand what's going on in the glass-and-steel canyons of Wall Street; that most international financial transactions aren't all that different from those taking place every day in stores, in car dealerships, even on the playgrounds of Main Street.

Bonds? They're basically loans. Futures? You probably used one when you ordered your Thanksgiving turkey last year. Options? Ever bought a fully transferable, returnable airline ticket? That's pretty much the same thing.

With a winning combination of acquired wisdom, common sense, market savvy, and an outrageous sense of humor, Hirsch clearly explains and defines the instruments that power our financial system and very nearly caused its demise. Clever, insightful, hugely educational, and always entertaining, Man vs. Markets translates the often confusing language of finance, enabling every one of us to truly comprehend what makes the markets tick.


More About the Author

Paddy Hirsch is a Senior Producer at Marketplace, responsible for personal finance coverage on all of the Marketplace programs and on marketplace.org. He's also the producer of the personal finance show Marketplace Money, and of the Marketplace Whiteboard, an award-winning video explainer of financial and economic terms.

Paddy got his start in journalism with an internship at the BBC in Glasgow, Scotland. His has worked in Hong Kong for CNBC; in Bosnia for the Open Broadcast Network; in Hanoi for the Vietnam Economic Times; and in the U.S. for Institutional Investor Newsletters and Standard & Poor's. Before becoming a journalist, he served as an officer in the Royal Marines.

Paddy went to school in Ireland and England. He is a graduate of the University of Warwick, and a Knight Fellow, Class of 2011. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he runs, surfs and climbs mountains in his spare time.

Customer Reviews

You wont regret it !
Anirban Chowdhury
Very easy to read and gave me a good understanding of some very conmplicated terms that he simplifies for the green investor.
dj
You'll realize that things make sense, and you will love it.
am92

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By EF on August 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a review from GoodReads: Man Vs. Markets by Paddy Hirsch of NPR's "Marketplace" is economics explained, pure and simple, for the layperson who wouldn't know a "bond" from an "option," and who believes that a "future" is when we'll all have flying cars. Here is an illuminating, insightful, and wonderfully witty journey of discovery through the often confusing financial markets, offering clear, relatable explanations and definitions of the system's various instruments, yet less simplistically than the popular ...for Dummies series. Man Vs. Markets is a must-read handbook for everyday investors, serious students of finance and economics, and everyone who wants to understand what they're reading when they open their newspapers to the business section.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hugh Wilson on November 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I consider myself a savvy investor knowledgeable about the vernacular used in the financial world and bought "Man vs. Markets" by Paddy Hirsch (of Marketplace) for my teenage daughter whose financial experience is limited to trading stocks and reading the IBD. To get the best return on my investment in this book I also read it and was pleasantly surprised to learn some new verbiage myself. So - an old dog can still learn new tricks - buy the book, read it and pass it on. If you find you know everything the book has to offer then I'll tip my hat to you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Facing West on September 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Paddy Hirsch made it possible for me to understand our economy, and that's no small task given that I usually find the subject of finances an anxiety-provoking venture. I was happily surprised to find myself laughing out loud, and wondering why I'd convinced myself that I could never get a handle on our financial system. MAN VS. MARKETS is a smart and refreshingly quirky take on our world.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By dj on October 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Very easy to read and gave me a good understanding of some very conmplicated terms that he simplifies for the green investor.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a five star book despite the extremely low rating that I would assign to the video clips that advertise it. This is not a book on how not to lose your shirt in the market. This is a book that should become a classic on the shelf labeled The Art of explanation. It will make you look great during happy hour discussions. In the 90s you could get by, only with stock talk and tips, and M&A stories. But the subprime crisis dropped new jargon in the marketplace. Paddy's book is like a diamond from the sky dropping on the patio of a Californian yuppie bar, during happy hour.

This book is a collage of wonderful images that work up to a point, as the author himself notes. That is actually their beauty, because they describe the essence of basic notions without getting technical; from the capital structure of a company, to the banking system, to the basic and complex financial engineering products. Those that actually, became self-destruction mechanisms for the financial monsters resulting from ample deregulation and extremely low interest rates over a very long period.

The author uses a rich variety of metaphors to explain the big picture of the basic concepts he has chosen to cover. A few have been widely used, like the insurance explanation for credit default swaps or the imagery of some type of water system, a sponge, and the pool water level, for the explanation of the money supply.
But mostly the metaphors are ingeniously original; like the waltz dancing ballroom for the marketplace; the fish market distinction for emphasizing the mysterious and dangerous nature of the markets; the three little pigs story for shares, short selling and more; the skipping rope in the playground for the bond price yield relationship; the ice cream business for capital markets.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By am92 on November 9, 2012
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Simply great, Paddy Hirsch makes everything easy and understandable. At first it seems a book for kids, but don't let that feeling take you away from it !!! You'll realize that things make sense, and you will love it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. M. Sell on April 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
Reasonably well written and many of my students liked it because it does sometimes explain economic ideas clearly. Personally, I often found the fictional examples of how real-world markets work to be distracting, and the students often found them confusing. Hirsch is at his best when he's just talking about markets; made-up examples don't really help that cause. With a little more research, he could have found actual examples of when and how markets behaved as he seeks to explain. And a journalist has little excuse for not doing that.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dmerge on September 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most people think that finance is complicated. Well it's not!
The simplicity with which Paddy breaks money down will blow your mind.
An absolute must read.
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