An entertaining and indispensable guide to the language of finance and economics by the writer hailed for “explain[ing] complex stuff in a down-to-earth and witty style” (The Economist).
To those who don’t speak it, the language of money can seem impenetrable and its ideas too complex to grasp. In How to Speak Money, John Lanchester—author of the New York Times best-selling book on the financial crisis, I.O.U.—bridges the gap between the money people and the rest of us.
With characteristic wit and candor, Lanchester reveals how the world of finance really works: from the terms and conditions of your personal checking account to the evasions of bankers appearing in front of Congress. As Lanchester writes, we need to understand what the money people are talking about so that those who speak the language don’t just write the rules for themselves.
Lanchester explains more than 300 words and phrases from “AAA rating” and “amortization” to “yield curve” and “zombie bank.” He covers things we say or hear every day—such as GDP, the IMF, credit, debt, equity, and inflation—and explains how hedge funds work, what the World Bank does, and why the language of money has gotten so complicated. Along the way he draws on everything from John Maynard Keynes to the Wu-Tang Clan, Friedrich Hayek to Thomas Piketty, The Wealth of Nations to Game of Thrones.
A primer, a polemic, and a reference book, How to Speak Money makes economics understandable to anyone. After all, “money,” as Lanchester writes, “is a lot like babies, and once you know the language, the rule is the same as that put forward by Dr. Spock: ‘Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.’”