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on June 22, 2017
If you are a current or former RBS customer or employee angry at the way the scandal affected you, or a UK taxpayer angry at the scale of the bailout required, you will be greatly informed by the book. On the other hand, if you are looking for deep insight into the global financial crisis, you will be served poorly. First: the praise. The book contains a readable and credible account of what happened within RBS. It makes a good case that, whilst Goodwin committed many egregious errors, the blame for the fiasco does not lie with him alone. Mathewson, Cameron and McKillop within RBS and UK politicians and regulators have to share a fair bit of the blame. On the downside though (i) the account is extraordinarily parochial - it is essentially confined to RBS. The rest of the UK banking system does not feature very much and the global system features hardly at all. (ii) the author is out his depth in financial matters. CDOs are presented as toxic instruments, which may be fair enough, but he clearly does not understand them well enough to explain the toxicity. (iii) He is similarly out of his depth in the much easier concept of a rights issue. If a company offers its shareholders new shares at a price of 200p when the shares are currently trading at 363p, this is not a bargain for the shareholders. It is a signal that the company is in such a desperate situation that the management doubt that they could sell the shares at any higher price. (iv) The author lays great stress on the fact that Goodwin was an accountant rather than a banker, but one of the (many) catastrophic errors that he describes in the ABN Amro acquisition was an error for which a trainee accountant would be instantly fired. The acquisition was of a long-term asset, yet it was funded by short-term debt, exposing RBS to the risk (which eventually became fact) that they would not be able to refinance when the short-term debt matured. Given his limited qualifications, the author has done a fair job, but a better qualified author would have been preferable.
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on September 22, 2013
A brilliant insight into Fred Goodwin, and the demise of

The Royal Bank of Scotland.

A must read for all Brits, and gives a great insight into the nonsense & the greed of the GFC era!

Once you start you can't put it down, highly recommended!

Fred was obviously a flawed genius, who through his actions, became public enemy number one inScotland.

Enjoy the journey, I did!
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on May 6, 2014
A brilliantly researched profile of the unravelling of a disaster. It was objective and readers and others (politicians and regulators) should consider if there could be a repeat of this magnitude in other businesses. Aggressive growth eventually has to come at a cost. Look out Google, Facebook, Apple etc.
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on November 12, 2013
Good book highlighting the greed for power and money and fame. Goodwin comes across as the sociopath he really is. God save us from the likes of him and his cohorts. These people hadn't really got a clue but it took disaster and the loss of millions and billions for the poor suckers (like me) to find out.
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on December 11, 2013
The book is well written and contains information that was not available in the media. I now have a much better understanding of why the British economy failed and what the UK government did (and did not do) to address the crisis.
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on November 13, 2013
Brilliant book and up-to-date.

I was working at ABN AMRO at the time of the RBS debacle and the author's words brought back vivid memories of that time.
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on December 30, 2013
Very good summary of where the banking world - and RBS - lost direction and an understanding of their role in overall society.Well written and moves at speed through the history and the endgame!
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on March 2, 2014
The book provides a thorough and well researched account of the origins of the recent economic disaster in Great Britain. The author has a good style and makes a persuasive case.
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on December 17, 2013
As one of those very close to the action during a considerable period covered in this book I found it very interesting reading so much that confirmed my worst fears.
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on February 14, 2015
Great synopsis of the events and particularly the extreme greed of RBS's upper management people. They all clearly knew of the disatrous policies of the bank but said nothing that would jeopardize the enormous personal wealth they accumulated. At the end RBS managed to lose close to 90 billion pounds, crash the British economy and as the book states "nothing they did was illegal?!". Great read, a bit hard to follow all the names of the people involved but very engaging nonetheless.
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