A few people emailed me in the past weeks, greatly concerned that I hadn't been posting and that my last post was about some radical diet. Don't worry folks: I haven't joined a cult or anything. The explanation is much more mundane. A few months ago we bought a new house and so I've been embroiled with gathering stuff from the condo, disposing of things, and getting the new house set up. And there have been many other things that have kept me super-busy.
So that's my excuse for being absent.
I plan to resume steady blogging soon, probably toward the end of August. But meanwhile, here is something I'd like to alert folks to…
I've been reading Michael Lewis's new book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, which is about how the recent financial meltdown came about. It's the best account I've come across so far. Why? Because Lewis is a fantastic writer who lived in the economic world he is describing. More importantly, he knows how to present the concepts so that a high-school student can understand how the financial dominos fell. He also keeps the focus on key characters, so he writes more about people than abstract (and mind-numbingly complex) economic theory.
Here's a pivotal quote from the book:
“Financial markets are a collection of arguments. The less transparent the market and the more complicated the securities, the more money the trading desks at big Wall Street firms can make from the argument.”
If you're interested in reading the book (and I can't recommend it enough), I suggest you first listen to this episode of NPR's show This American Life, which is called The Giant Pool of Money. The episode is free, but it's also 60 minutes long. It's free if you listen to it on your browser. If you download it from iTunes it costs .99 cents. Totally worth it!