Economics and finance are outside my field, so I can't make any solid claims about how this book stacks up compared to others. I can claim that this is the most accessible and readable book I've come across yet on the topic. To be more precise, the several topics, as Phillips ties together several intertwined threads related to international economics and finance. Perhaps most notable and interesting for today are the chapters on oil and "Bullnomics" in light of current events. But rather than just tossing these topics out there with a handful of buzzwords, Phillips craftily ties them into the other related issues that have not attracted as much attention. At least not yet.
On the cover of the edition I've been reading (2009 release) it quotes Bill Moyers as saying something to the effect of, "If you read one book on the economic crisis, read this one." I agree wholeheartedly that this is probably the best summary and explanation out there, but this book goes well beyond the issues of the most recent events and goes deeper into the causes of how all this came about (reaching back, 30 or 100 or 400 years for examples and comparisons).
Phillips's prose is light and accessible, not overly technical, and full of straight-forward examples instead of (all too common) rhetoric and abstract discussion of general principles. There are too many "get rich quick with these simple investment principles" and "how to be a hedge fund manager" books out there; this isn't one of them. He treats the material seriously and openly, and seems to have no particular axe to grind. Anyone with a high school education shouldn't struggle too much and should be able to gloss over some of the vocab without losing the message. This book sets the standard for explaining economics and finance to people who don't study economics and finance.