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Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk Hardcover – August 17, 2011
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The human race created money and finance: then, our inventions recreated us. In Extreme Money, best-selling author and global finance expert Satyajit Das tells how this happened and what it means. Das reveals the spectacular, dangerous money games that are generating increasingly massive bubbles of fake growth, prosperity, and wealth--while endangering the jobs, possessions, and futures of virtually everyone outside finance.
"...virtually in a category of its own â part history, part book of financial quotations, part cautionary tale, part textbook. It contains some of the clearest charts about risk transfer you will find anywhere. ...Others have laid out the dire consequences of financialisation ("the conversion of everything into monetary form", in Das’s phrase), but few have done it with a wider or more entertaining range of references...[Extreme Money] does... reach an important, if worrying, conclusion: financialisation may be too deep-rooted to be torn out. As Das puts it â characteristically borrowing a line from a movie, Inception â "the hardest virus to kill is an idea".
-Andrew Hill "Eclectic Guide to the Excesses of the Crisis" Financial Times (August 17, 2011)
Extreme Money named to the longlist for the 2011 FT and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award.
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In addition, I found the main themes of the book repeated many times in separate chapters. Each time a new kernel of information was added, but this just added frustration to the reading process as I realized these points could have been covered when the subject matter was first presented, making my reading more enjoyable.
As a factual representation of the 2008 Financial Crisis and problems with the world's financial system this is a good book. As book that you can't stop reading until you are finished, not so much.
The author traverses an amazingly complex subject without getting lost in economic or political dogma. It's an amazing feat, since I've come across so few in my reading that can achieve that. I was amazed at how interested I became as I read. It's one of the few books recently that made me stop and read just because I enjoyed the romp of exploring what happened in the financial meltdown. The writing style is both easy and entertaining. I'd probably have gone with a few less quotes, though some of them were gems.
The Kindle version had a few typos and mistakes. I was amazed in one place to find the world GDP was only 56 billon. In another location, it was stated a more plausible 56 trillion. There were a few others. None seriously detracted from points being illustrated nor undermined the credibility of the arguments being made.
I wish the author had spent a bit more time on possible solutions to the situation. I'm left with the uneasy feeling that we think our well being depends on getting back on the drugs as soon as possible rather than getting sober. That's a pretty dismal picture of the future. We're preparing for the next crash. And as author points out, simple regulations mostly fail to correct complex problems.
Two themes of the book are critical ones I had already found to be compelling elsewhere. One theme is that complexity greatly increases risk, not only because it means things are less understandable, but because it makes things inherently unpredictable. The second theme is that risk is greatly increased by the hubris of believing we "know" things we don't. So, rather than being cautious, we become arrogant -- and then we crash and burn.
Despite some quibbles, I couldn't rate this book less than 5 stars, because it is one of the most thought provoking books I've read during the last few month.
There is plenty of valuable and interesting info how money and economics works, where do crises come from etc., there are however books which tell exactly the same but in much better manner.
If you like author's bizarre style and uncoordinated flow of information than this book may be for you, I would however still turn to other book.
Sorry, maybe it gets better but if it's still dry in chapter 3, I shall move on
Most recent customer reviews
I would have appreciated some more reference to Marx and volume 3of Das Capital.