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Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  355 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
The human race created money and finance: then, our inventions recreated us. In "Extreme Money," best-selling author and global finance expert Satyajit Das tells how this happened and what it means. Das reveals the spectacular, dangerous money games that are generating increasingly massive bubbles of fake growth, prosperity, and wealth--while endangering the jobs, possessi ...more
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 459 pages
Published October 15th 2011 by Penguin Books India
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Lisa Eskra
Jul 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Extreme Money delves into the realm of financial alchemy and reveals the practices of investment bankers that resulted in the global financial crisis. A word of warning: this book is not a breezy read. It cuts to the nitty gritty of the finance world. It's intense and thought-provoking, well worth the time of anyone who dares learn about the new financial fundementalism.

For the most part, I enjoyed the book. I didn't care for the prologue (without some foreknowledge of finance, it fell a little
...more
Byron Wright
Oct 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I read Das' earlier book Traders, Guns, and Money. It was given to me by the owner of a small trading company who has a somewhat pessimistic view of the stock market. I really enjoyed that book.

To me at times, when reading Extreme Money, it felt like I was rereading parts of Traders, Gun, and Money. I haven't gone back to verify, but I'm guessing that a lot of the content that provides context around what derivatives are and the historical information before about 2006 are similar to Traders, Gu
...more
Maureen
Sep 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I am anything but economically literate, so it is a positive for this book that I could actually understand it. However it is a depressing read and I fear no lessons have been learned from the economic disasters of 2008. It is always worth listening to Das, the economist who foresaw the financial crisis.
Patrick
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Plenty of snark, not enough substance

JDN 2456783 PDT 11:34.

A review of Extreme Money by Satyajit Das

I had high hopes for this book; I've read quite a few books about the Second Depression now, but this one promised to tie it all together into a coherent narrative about what is wrong with modern capitalism.
But the narrative it delivers is an unconvincing one, filled with cynicism and pessimism about how this is just the way things are and we will have to accept our fate. Das has a weird dissonan
...more
Bart
Jul 01, 2012 rated it liked it
This is an uneven book - unevenly written and even more unevenly edited - that nevertheless succeeds in expressing one well-deserved sentiment for contemporary economics and finance: contempt.

The (economics) professors may have been after some elusive truth but ended up as the piano players in the whorehouse. The smart ones cut themselves a share of the action. (p. 57)

That is fair an example as any of the way this book is written. At most times it is either freshly canning a quote or pulling a p
...more
Sue-Ellen
Jan 20, 2012 rated it liked it
I agree with the premise of the book; our trust in governments and financiers to manage 'the show' was greatly misplaced. The financial markets are run by people whose level of arrogance, greed, self indulgence and voodoo mathematics reached unimaginable levels until the wheels fell off. He gives many examples to illustrate the madness, however the book is larger than it needs to be to get his point across and starts to feel a bit self indulgent. He waxes lyrical with quotes from great literatur ...more
Giff Zimmerman
Dec 25, 2015 rated it liked it
This is actually an interesting, worthy book – don't let my lowly 3-star rating fool you. I actually agree with the author's overall view that, over the last few decades our Randian faith in unfettered markets has led to the creation of a outsized, intensely leveraged “financial economy” (which the author refers to as “extreme money”) that lies on top of, and both lives off of and dominates the “real economy” that operates underneath, and this arrangement has led to a number of societal ills, in ...more
Hava Liberman
Oct 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Finally finished slogging through this. Rather than a linear narrative, Das provides a series of examples that fit each stage of the financial crisis in which we are still embroiled. The book is heavily peppered with quotes from figures in the world of finance as well as celebrities, authors, and others. I would prefer a more united presentation but the quotes were entertaining for the most part and I finished with a pretty good picture of the level of leverage involved in creating the catastrop ...more
Craig Hodges
Not finished... stalled read. Back to the library it goes.

Here's only a snippet from Das that is pertinent for Australia at the moment.

Politics dictated that governments were unable to rein in spending to match the tax cuts to balance the budget. Spending was the basis of political patronage and purchased votes. In Atlas Shrugged, the politicians come to John Galt, the heroic businessman, for assistance to help repair the economy. Galt:'Your want me to be economic dictator?'
Mr. Thompson:'Yes!'
...more
Kate
Dec 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: economics, nonfiction
If I were Das' editor, this 450-pager would be 250. Huge swathes of sensationalism could be cut, not to mention gratuitous philosophical and moral quotes. Some pages were as bad as 60% information and 30% quotes. Especially since this topic lends itself so well to moral or emotional judgments, Das's dramatics were not just distracting but also a little discrediting.

However, there's great information in the center of the book. Das does a good job laying out the evolution of the modern financial
...more
Shaik
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It is interesting reading – a lot of quotes and anecdotes – making the concepts discussed in the book easy to understand.

“There’s hard money, there’s fiat money, and there’s debt. ..... In truth, money exists only in the mind. It is a matter of trust. With trust, comes the possibility of betrayal.”

The author even has a proposed solution to financial crises: “The world has to reduce debt. ... Individuals have to save more and spend less. Companies have to go back to real engineering. Governments
...more
Colleen Cross
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed Extreme Money. It provides an interesting commentary on the current financial crisis. Das raises some good points about how "financialized" our economy is and the dangers inherent when money and financial instruments are created with less than a 1:1 relationship to the underlying assets.

As other reviewers have noted, the book could probably be a bit more concise. Nevertheless, I found it very thought-provoking and interesting.

It is a little ironic, though, that it has been long listed
...more
Peter
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another analysis of the banking problems/crash. Yes too long but quite entertaining. He leaves no major financial figure unskewered. Yes too many quotes but still worth the time for me to really understand the hubris and ignorance and human frailty at work. And of course as seen in other books the bad music goes on and the bankers continue to dance away with our money.
Jo
Jun 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-nook
This was tough going at times as the author explained the abstract economic and monetary things he was discussing.
It was very interesting though and I will read it again to gain a better grasp of the concepts.
Allie
I only actually read about half of this book before accidentally leaving it at my mum's house, then losing interest.. so I'm not really qualified to write a proper review. However, the few hundred pages that I did read were very readable and informative. The problem was me, basically.
Dave
Mar 11, 2012 added it
Shelves: gave-up-on
There were portions of this book that I found fascinating but I gave up on it because it was so poorly written. In my opinion, it needed more focus. Instead, it bounced from subtopic to subtopic with little flow. It really needed a better editor.
Nik
Jul 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
Just terrible. Too special interest for me, perhaps.
Patrick Hiltz
Mar 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Super long. Super detailed. Kind of a rambling book. Really informative.
Vikas
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant stuff.....takes you through the entire gamut of high finance and its lowlights
Brendan  McAuliffe
May 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is really a book. More like a zany romp of sort of related observations, but, it's fun to look through and entertaining.
Steve
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little disorganised and overuses quotes to illustrate a point, but still a knowledgable account of exactly why we should worry about leaving the politicians and financiers in charge.
Marc Borrelli
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book.
Alanmoorenz
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Don't read this book - if you understand it you won't sleep!
Jason
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"We are going to live so that our children and grandchildren will envy us!" -- Viktor Chernomyrdin
Jt
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit dense sometimes, but really good insight into securitization and that attitudes and actions of central bankers and hedge funds.
Brilly Tsang
A well written book but it's just spreading too long.
Unitechy
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Provides interesting commentary but very badly edited. Could probably read any random chapter any time. Also a very slow read.
Warren
Sep 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finance, money, investment
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Gleason
Jan 30, 2015 rated it liked it
A slog. Traders, Guns & Money so much better.
Dougal
Well writen and a revealing insight into financial engineering
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Satyajit Das is an international specialist in the area of financial derivatives, risk management, and capital markets. He works as a consultant to banks and other financial institutions in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia providing advice on trading, pricing and risk management of derivative transactions.

Das, as he likes to be called, is well known in Australia, Asia, South Africa and E
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