Saturday, August 7, 2010

Faultless Lines

First, a complaint, maybe a fruitless one that ignores the reality of global publishing’s market realities: why did this book take so long to come to India? HarperCollins is big in India. Could Collins Business, an imprint of HarperCollins, have got the book here faster? A-list Hollywood movies are released faster in India — sometimes on the same day as in the West — than A-list books published in America. Does that say something about global publishing or Indian markets for books/films, or both?

The book? Brilliant. No other word for it. I had earlier reviewed Michael Lewis’s The Big Short and Hank Paulson’s On the Brink and said these two books along with Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big to Fail comprise the best short list of volumes on the financial crisis. Your reviewer happily eats crow. Add Fault Lines to that list, maybe put it at the very top.

This is not because, as has been widely and justly noted, Raghuram Rajan was one of the very, very few who saw something was wrong (in 2005, and that too, speaking at a gathering that was paying tribute to Alan Greenspan) when almost everybody thought the god of high finance was in his heaven; some thought Greenspan was that god. That achievement, which puts Rajan in the class of Paul the Octopus, by itself doesn’t guarantee a fluidly written, beautifully argued and, this will apply if you think about these things seriously, a somewhat frightening thesis on the global economy. Even if you don’t follow economic or finance writings too much, and also especially if you don’t follow, please buy and read this book. Priced just shy of Rs 500 — roughly the price of two multiplex movie tickets — Fault Lines will give you a deeply satisfying experience. Am I over-praising? Am not. The publisher blurbs on the front cover a quote from the Economist book review: deserves to be widely read. Publisher’s blurbs automatically make you reach for the salt. But this one’s spot on. All thinking Indians who think, rightly, this country can make it big in the global economy should read this book. For, the problem for the global economy, as Rajan argues, is that some of the biggies were and are doing things that were and are crisis-friendly.

Full report here Indian Express

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