"The basic scam in the Internet age is pretty easy even for the financially illiterate to grasp. It was as if banks l...moreMy favorite quote from Griftopia:
"The basic scam in the Internet age is pretty easy even for the financially illiterate to grasp. It was as if banks like Goldman were wrapping ribbons around watermelons, tossing them out fiftieth-story windows, and opening the phones for bids. In this game you were a winner only if you took your money out before the melon hit the pavement."
That gives you a pretty good sense of the style and appeal of Taibbi's writing in Griftopia. It's clear, colorful, occasionally hilarious (not to mention frequently profane), but more importantly, it manages to distill some incredibly complex historical and financial shenanigans into something instantly understandable. (And exploding melons are just funny.)
Taibbi does an excellent job of zooming into and out of the various contexts involved. He zooms out to examine the big picture of a country divided into blue states and red states, full of outraged citizens who are perpetually sniping at each other along party lines but overlooking the financial "grifting" taking place at the top of the nonpartisan food chain on Wall Street. Then he zooms into microcosmic anecdotes about fleeced citizens and chucklicious investment bankers, while shedding light for the layman reader on such obscure financial instruments as "collateralized debt obligations".
In the end, I got what I wanted out of reading this book, which is a much better grasp of what went down (and down and down...) in the financial crises of the last decade. (less)
If you're considering reading The Road, it's unlikely that my review will stop you. The Road, like any number of highbrow lit-lit novels (I'm looking...moreIf you're considering reading The Road, it's unlikely that my review will stop you. The Road, like any number of highbrow lit-lit novels (I'm looking at you, Life of Pi), has an uncanny ability to worm its way onto everyone's "to read" shelf that is not remotely proportional to the probability that the reader will actually enjoy the reading experience.
So, as you already know what you're getting yourself into (gawdawful depressing post-apocalyptic road trip, made more depressing with each single-clause sentence), let me not attempt to encourage or dissuade you, but rather suggest that you augment the experience with a drinking game. It goes something like this:
* drink for every variation of "ash", "cold", "gray", or "dark" * drink for every...
Oh, I'm sorry, you already have alcohol poisoning! And you haven't even made it to that point where you realize there are no chapters in The Road, just walking walking and more walking. In the cold. And the dark. Surrounded by all the cold, dark, ashen ashes.