They Cooked the Books: A Humorous Look at the World of White-Collar Crime Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Q: How many Republicans does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Republicans don't change light bulbs; it builds moral courage to sit in the dark.
Q: How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Rhat's not funny!
This isn't a book of humor. Instead, it explores the origins of phrases used to describe financial shenanigans,
It's not a particularly good book in that regard. For instance, in discussing the phrase "cook the books", it would seem relevant that financial reports are produced from raw data. Is that a back-formation, or did the expression come from poorly cooking the raw data? He says the original term comes from scaling recipes in a cookbook to make greater or lesser batches, and doesn't explain how that phrase would come to imply dishonesty.
But poorly done etymology would be entertaining, if it were actually entertaining. A fairly good barometer of whether a joke is funny is if the target finds it as funny as those who hate the target. In this book, Patrick Edwards tells lots of stories about those who have gotten caught in fraud, etc., and escaped being meaningfully punished for it. Those who have been exposed but not punished don't think it funny that they've been exposed.Read more ›
"They Cooked the Books" is written in fifteen parts, with each section casting a metaphorical and honest light on the origins, original meanings and present day usage of sayings related to financial doings (legal and otherwise). Turns out financial folly and deception is not something that the 20th or 21st century can take sole credit for when considering phrases such as, "A wolf in sheep's clothing", in which the Bible quotes Jesus as making reference to "...false prophets...in sheep's clothing."
Many casual sayings that Edwards provides background on are in constant use today. If a person is gullible and easily believes what is told to them, the pat response is usually "If you believe that, than I have a bridge to sell you", which is precisely where the term "They could sell you the Brooklyn Bridge" comes from, originating in America in the first half of the 20th century.
The term "Poor as a church mouse" dates back to the 1600's, and simply meant that if a mouse were to get trapped in a church, it would surely starve to death. When prisoners were beaten and tortured in South Africa, it was Nelson Mandela who said that he would take his abuser to the highest court in the land.
"By the time I am finished with you, you will be as poor as a church mouse." The guard left him alone, proving that there has always been power behind many of the idioms that Edwards' references.
Edwards has done a thorough job at unmasking the meaning of many phrases that Americans and others freely use today.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We are in the process now of changing one of our college English as a Foreign Language classes from an academic writing course to more of a business course. Read morePublished on May 17, 2013 by Just a Teacher
The author's idea of humor obviously differs greatly from mine. He has some anecdotal stories about financial crime terminology but I found nothing humorous about his writing or... Read morePublished on May 8, 2013 by G-Man