When I think about teaching my teenage-self economics, I’m sure even Hercules/Heracles would have given up. Luckily, another Greek has stepped up to the challenge, and Varoufakis wrote the book to teach his own daughter about how the economy was created and functions.
Authors, read this book if you need help with writing a nonfiction book that is conversational in style and breaks down complex concepts into bite-sized, digestible chunks. This book is a great example of how to write about difficult topics for an audience that wants to learn but not feel condescended to.
Readers, read this book if you want to better understand economics in general, but I find it very relevant to the current conversation surrounding the issues of easing lockdown measures during the covid-19 pandemic. We all understand people’s livelihoods are at stake, but Varoufakis’s structure demonstrates why it will be so difficult to rebuild. The information is presented in a way that unravels complex, intertwined systems (banks, money, markets, people) into individual threads. Those threads are then rewoven into the recognisable systems we know today. Some of my bafflement at how these systems could have ever come into being was eased, which made me feel much more part of conversation than I previously had.
What I want to tell people about this book is I remember the first day of my high school economics class. My teacher, Mr. Charleston, also my driver’s ed instructor—who, of course, rode a recumbent bike to school, taught us how to make a million dollars by the time we retired. When I was unpacking my boxes in London in 2019, I actually found those notes. I hadn’t realized I’ve been dragging them around the world for decades. I flipped through them but didn’t find anything useful to advance my understanding of what’s happening in the economy today, so I often ask my husband about ‘how things work.’ He gave me this book for Christmas and said he wouldn’t answer any more questions until I read it.
Dutifully, I read it in April 2019 and wished I’d had this book in high school. At the same time, I think high school is too late to teach these concepts, similar to how it’s too late to start teaching languages at that age. I wouldn’t have been interested or had the attention span for this book when I was fifteen.
Only now as an educated adult do I find myself finding my way into these important concepts. Varoufakis’s main message is not to leave the economy to the experts, and he means: don’t let your lack of understanding be part of the problem. If we don’t know the rules, we can’t play the game. And the game is really understanding how the people at the top are manipulating the money supply and how it will affect our daily life.
So if you’re like me and wish you understood it all better, this is the book to pick up. An easy quick (and not depressing!) read!
I read a lot, not just for my work as an editor but for fun and to learn, and yes, for a little escapism!