Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay

Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay

Book rating: 03 Hardback

By (author) John Lanchester

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  • Publisher: ALLEN LANE
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 144mm x 222mm x 25mm | 379g
  • Publication date: 28 January 2010
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846142857
  • ISBN 13: 9781846142857
  • Sales rank: 65,225

Product description

There's probably a word in German for that feeling you get when you can understand something while it's being explained to you, but lose hold of the explanation as soon as it stops. A lot of writing about the credit crunch has that effect: you can grasp it while it's going on, and then as soon as it's over, you can no longer remember the difference between a CDO, a CDS, an MBS, and a toasted cheese sandwich. "Whoops!" makes it possible for all of us to grasp how we found ourselves in this predicament. What went wrong? In 2000, the total GDP of Earth was $36 trillion. At the start of 2007 it was $70 trillion. Today that growth has gone suddenly and sharply into decline, with an effect roughly resembling that of putting a car into reverse while doing seventy down a motorway. John Lanchester travels with a cast of characters - including reckless banksters, snoozing regulators, complacent politicians, predatory lenders, credit-drunk spendthrifts, and innocent bystanders to understand deeply and genuinely what is happening and why we feel the way we do.

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Author information

John Lanchester is a journalist, novelist and winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award. He is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books and the New Yorker, with a monthly column in Esquire. John's piece on our love affair with the City, 'Cityphilia', generated much response on its publication in January 2008 and indeed predicted a worldwide crash based on the misuse of financial derivatives. In October 2008 he charted the crisis as it had developed over the year in 'Cityphobia', which also attracted much attention as a piece that explained not only what had happened, but how we felt about it. John was raised in South-East Asia and now lives in London.

Customer reviews

By MiraR 13 Jan 2010 3

I think I will buy a copy of this "Whoops!: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay" book. I'm just really curious of their explanation and I can't help but wonder why I myself also owes too much. I might also blame it to recession that we continue to feel even thou unemployment rate is said to decrease but let's face it we still have too much to do in our economy to recover. Hopefully, I could find some important facts by reading this book.

Review quote

The route 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 knowledge - and most of all devastatingly funny. I urge you to read it. Will Self Explains the madness of modern capitalism with razor-sharp insight, brilliant clarity and a refreshing dose of humour. A great book. John O'Farrell Endlessly witty, but the wit is underpinned by a tremendous, unembarrassed anger and moral lucidity. A superb guide which will turn any reader into an expert within the space of 200 pages. Jonathan Coe Scarier than Thomas Harris Nicci French Original ... beautifully written ... both entertaining and profoundly anger-inducing Chris Blackhurst, Evening Standard John Lanchester's newfound mission: to explain the world of finance to the general public ... The result is the perfect read for anyone still wondering what went wrong and why. Unless you'd rather they didn't know Bloomberg Wickedly funny ... Good humor and good company will be the things that'll get us through Dwight Garner, New York Times Literary and profound ... a master explainer with an excellent grasp of sophisticated finance Christopher Caldwell, The Daily Beast Acidic, frightening, and sharply funny ... a better book about the global meltdown than any other to date EW.com [A] sober message lurking among Lanchester's delightful wordplay, and it deserves attention by everyone who cares to understand where we are, how we got here and who is responsible John Lawrence Reynolds, Globe and Mail This is a piece of genius ... It tells a proper story, like a novel, and we're all part of it - which means it is *gripping*. Yes! Gripping! A book about money! I know! But it's true. It is necessary, particularly - but not exclusively - if you're somebody who thinks, 'Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Iceland, um, mortgages, er...' and doesn't want to keep thinking it until the end of time, amoeba-stylee. I humbly posit that it is a masterpiece India Knight This is what George Bernard Shaw might have called An Intelligent Person's Guide to the Crisis of Modern Capitalism, and everyone ought to read it Robert Harris, Sunday Times Lanchester has turned that fascination - coupled with a kind of astonished anger - into a lucid, conversational account of the crisis designed for non-financial types and helpfully leavened with jokes, swearing and interesting asides Quentin Webb, Reuters An excellent book for anyone wondering what the hell is going on. Triple A, as the credit rating agencies might say Irish Times Or you could simply borrow the book from someone. If they've read it, even better - they won't be expecting you to return it The Telegraph Unashamedly a book for beginners; an informed outsider's explanation of a series of extraordinary events The Times John Lanchester's Whoops! is a book that made my head spin ... I must have read 30 books on the global economic crisis (I'm writing one myself) and this is the best. No question William Leith, The Observer To make the financial sector more responsible, more people must understand what went wrong. As far as the literate British layman or woman is concerned ... the process starts with reading this book Andrew Martin, The Telegraph A devastating and 'devastatingly funny' analysis of the credit crunch and the subsequent global financial meltdown London Review of Books A valiant and genuinely amusing attempt to describe how finance came off the rails ... written with a good heart and a lively intellectual curiosity Stephen Foley, Independent He starts with the observable and then scapes away to discover the truth Paul Myners, FT We'll be living with the banking crisis for decades and devouring plenty more books about it too. But few, if any, will prove as pleasurable - and by that I mean as literate or as wickedly funny - as John Lanchester's latest book The Scotsman A remarkable book ... in elegant phrases and witty analogies, [Lanchester] explains the crisis to the economically dyslexic in a way that actually sticks ... I finally grasp stuff such as leverage, credit default swaps, derivatives and am angry with my ditsy former self who dismissed these as the domain of the boring City types you get lumbered with at parties. -- Janice Turner Times For anyone still wondering what the hell those bankers did with our money, try John Lanchester's deliciously escoriating Whoops! Even someone who can't remember their eight times tables comes away feeling wonderfully well informed -- Allison Pearson summer reading recommendation, Psychologies This account is by far the most lucid and entertaining explanation of thw world banking crisis of 2008 -- Megan Walsh summer reading recommendation, Times A lively lay reader's guide to the financial crisis, written by a novelist who sought to educates himself about banking and its failures. Funny and pointed, it exposes the gulf between the two cultures of modern Britain: financial and non-financial -- Ed Crooks summer reading recommendation, Financial Times If you want to look like a rock of good sense, a person who is deep and wise and worried, then I suggest Whoops! by John Lanchester ... If only the Queen Mother were still alive, it would make sense even to her -- Colm Toibin summer reading recommendation, Guardian I must have read 30 books on the financial crisis and this is the best, no question. Lanchester has a wonderful gift for explaining things in a simple way. -- William Leith The Observer