Money Mania is a sweeping account of financial speculation and its consequences, from ancient Rome to the Meltdown of 2008. Acclaimed journalist and investor Bob Swarup tracks the history of speculative fevers caused by the appearance of new profitable investment opportunities; the new assets created and the increasing self-congratulatory euphoria that drives them to unsustainable highs, all fed by an illusion of insight and newly minted experts; the unexpected catalysts that eventually lead to panic; the inevitable crash as investors scramble to withdraw their funds from the original market and any other that might resemble it; and finally, the brevity of financial memory that allows us to repeat the cycle without ever critically evaluating the drivers of this endless cycle.
In short, it is the story of what makes us human.
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About the Author
Bob Swarup is a respected investor, thought leader and commentator on financial markets, investments and regulation. Born in India in 1977, he was educated in England. He holds an MA from the University of Cambridge, two Master degrees, and a Phd in cosmology from Imperial College London. He has managed investments at financial institutions, sat on the boards of hedge funds and private equity firms, worked closely with leading think tanks, advised policymakers and industry alike, and is an award-winning journalist. He lives in London.
Table of Contents
Part I Déjà Vu All Over Again
1 Of Men, Money, and Mania 3
2 Deconstructing the Gruffalo: A Roman Parable 23
3 All Things Being Unequal: Redefining Economics 57
4 Ego and Euphoria: A Japanese Interlude 69
Part II Man: The Furnace Within
5 The Road to Newnham: The Bounds of Rationality 83
6 The Temple of Janus: Time, Memory, and Uncertainty 91
7 The Greater Fools: A Personal Interlude 117
8 The Madding Crowd: Crowds, Confirmation, and Confidence 127
Part III Money: The Catalyst Without
9 Man, Meet Money: The Bank Run 145
10 Life After Debt: Credit and Currency 153
11 All That Gutters: Tufipmania 165
Part IV Complexity: The Alchemy of Crisis
12 A Universal Truth: An Aside on Paradigms 183
13 Birds of a Feather: The Ecology of Capitalism 193
14 A Tragedy of Small Decisions: The Great Depression 211
Part V Lifting the Veil
15 Greeks Bearing Gifts: A Tragicomedy 243
16 Alpha and Omega: Two Millennia of Crises 247
17 In the Land of the Blind: Searching for Answers 261
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Loved the history of previous financial panics from Greece to Rome to current day. I was fascinated by the similarities of Rome to the US. However, several chapters of the book relating to human psychology were far to verbose and almost made me stop reading the book. At the end, the author offers solutions to the world's problems which were interesting. I would have liked to have seen his vision for the future and what an individual investor should do based on this visio, but few authors want to stick there neck out doing this. Conclusion: Not a must read but a good read.