“This is the most entertaining book on banking since Liar’s Poker.”—Simon Kuper, author of Soccernomics
Joris Luyendijk, an investigative journalist, knew as much about banking as the average person: almost nothing. Bankers, he thought, were ruthless, competitive, bonus-obsessed sharks, irrelevant to his life. And then he was assigned to investigate the financial sector.
Joris immersed himself in the City—London’s equivalent of Wall Street—for several years, speaking to over 200 people—from the competitive investment bankers and elite hedge-fund managers to downtrodden back-office staff, reviled HR managers, and those made redundant in the regular ‘culls’. Breaking the strictly imposed code of secrecy and silence, these insiders spoke on record about what they actually do all day, how they see the toxic environment in which they work, and how they think the uninitiated see them. They confessed to feeling overwhelmed by the intransparency of our financial systems. They admitted that when Lehman Brothers went down in 2008 they hoarded food, put their money in gold, and prepared to evacuate their children to the countryside. They agreed that nothing has changed since the crash.
A strange thing happens when you spend time among the bankers . . . you start to sympathize with them. What if the bankers themselves aren’t the real enemy? What if the truth about global finance is more sinister than that?
An international bestseller and Evening Standard 2015 Book of the Year
“Luyendijk . . . argues that those who work in finance are in some ways victims of its insanely high-pressured culture and makes the frightening point that almost no one is taking responsibility for the system itself.” —Claire Allfree, Metro
“It is his willingness to see the good in his subjects that gives his final conclusion greater force.” —Jonathan Ford, Financial Times
“Luyendijk tends towards the prophet-of-doom, but perhaps that is what we need. Especially if a new crash is as inevitable as he argues in this perplexed and often angry farewell to London.” —Nicholas Blincoe, Daily Telegraph