In Robert Peston's new book he explains in his characteristically straightforward way how the world got itself into the current economic mess - and how we might get out of it.
'How do we fix this mess? I don't know. But don't stop reading now. Perhaps if we have a clearer understanding of what went wrong, we'll have a better idea of what needs to be done. This book is a map of what needs to be fixed.'
The record-breaking unbroken growth between 1992 and 2008 wasn't the economic miracle that it seemed. It was based on a number of dangerous illusions - most notably that it didn't matter that the UK and US year after year consumed more than they earned.
But we couldn't go on increasing our indebtedness forever. The financial crash of 2007/8 and the subsequent economic slump in much of the west was the moment when we realised we had borrowed more than we could afford to repay.
So who got it wrong? Bankers, investors and regulators? And were they greedy, stupid or asleep? What was the role of government? And what part did we, as consumers, play in all this?
How do we get through this difficult period of transition to a more sustainable economy, one based on investment and exports, rather than on borrowing and consumption? With the same probing lucidity he brought to WHO RUNS BRITAIN?, Robert Peston takes us step-by-step towards a common sense way to fix this mess.
Robert Peston is the BBC's Economics Editor. Prior to joining the BBC, he was Political Editor and Financial Editor of the Financial Times, City Editor of the Sunday Telegraph and a columnist for the New Statesman and Sunday Times (inter alia). He has won numerous awards for his journalism, including Journalist of the Year and Scoop of the Year (twice) from the Royal Television Society, Performer of the Year from the Broadcasting Press Guild, Broadcaster of the Year and Journalist of the Year from the Wincott Foundation and Business Journalist of the Year from the London Press Club. Peston has published two critically acclaimed books, WHO RUNS BRITAIN?, his best-selling account of who is to blame for the economic and financial crisis of 2007-9, and BROWN'S BRITAIN, a biography of Gordon Brown and analysis of the New Labour government. His prize-winning blog - Peston's Picks - which has more than 800,000 readers, can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/robertpeston. He is the founder of Speakers for Schools (www.speakers4schools.org), a pro bono educational service which organises free talks from inspirational speakers for students at state schools. He is a trustee of the Education and Employers Taskforce. He is married to the writer Si?n Busby. You can follow Robert on twitter at www.Twitter.com/Peston
Robert Peston's compelling account of global financial meltdown is a must-read... His discursive, conversational but entrancingly fact-studded trip around the disaster zone ought to be mandatory reading for anyone who wants to have a voice in where we go from here. — Observer
HOW DO WE FIX THIS MESS? is the book of the film and more... brought to life by war stories from the BBC, simple analogies and colourful language... he does know how to elucidate apparently impenetrable issues, and he guides us intelligently and entertainingly... readable and thought-provoking. — Financial Times
Robert Peston is not so much a journalist as a phenomenon... And now he has managed to fit in a book... that displays his gargantuan appetite for facts, numbers and economic and financial history... Peston's range is dazzling.... Peston is a BBC treasure - one of the journalists who justify the licence fee. If, every few years, he needs to breathe out and write a long book, we should encourage it. As they used to say in the pre-Twitter age, he knows his stuff. — New Statesman
compelling reading. — Observer - Chris Mullin
Reads like a wildly implausible financial thriller. — Independent
Lucid explanations... stark analysis of what the financial meltdown means for us... Peston's book is actually scarier than most descriptions I've read of the crisis. It goes way beyond Wall Street and City greed in its scope. — Evening Standard
He is good on the follies of the bankers... He is also good on the detail. Anybody who wants to know what a collateralised debt obligation or a credit default swap is will find it here. — Sunday Times
Essential reading... an excellent expose of the financial crisis. — Sunday Telegraph
Brilliant. I now understand everything. — Giles Coren
Robert Peston was the voice of the financial crisis, just as Terry Wogan will forever be the voice of the Eurovision Song Contest. Vocal tics and all, he's now an official national treasure. — Spectator
Mr Peston, an award-winning print journalist before he became the Business Editor of the BBC, has many strengths. Chief among these are his sources and a terrier-like determination to get the story. Mr Peston passionately articulates why everyone should be frustrated with the banking sector--and financial globalisation more generally. For a tale of how the British banks blew up, readers will find juicy details. — Economist
Robert Peston's great book on the world financial crash... 400 information-packed pages... If Mr Peston has a lesson for us, it is that until we fix the banking system, we will have achieved nothing. — Irish Independent
'The author charts the past 20 years of steady economic growth and consequent bust, lucidly explaining the shortcomings of the banking system and the effects of globalisation, before returning to the present state of the UK, all invitingly.' — Sunday Telegraph
Praise for WHO RUNS BRITAIN? — .
A compelling portrait of early 21st century casino capitalism...essential reading. — Howard Davies The Times
This lucid and timely guide to the world of turbo-capitalism...absorbing book, essential reading for anyone who wants to know how the British economy now operates. — Peter Wilby, Guardian
A devastating account of Blair's producer capture by high finance...Peston navigates with ease the shark-infested waters of hedge funds, sub-prime borrowing, defined-benefit pensions and loans for honours. — Simon Jenkins, The Sunday Times
Fluent, incredibly up to the minute look at Britain...Peston, in relaxed, conversational; style is a great travelling companion along the highways of finance. — Observer
starkly lucid...Reading Peston's book, you can only be flabbergasted all over again at how Labour kowtowed to wealth, glorified the City and put the nations economic eggs into one dangerous basket of fizzy finance. — Polly Toynbee Guardian
'Peston catches the zeitgeist of Britain and the paradox that is Gordon Brown' — Financial Times
'engaging' — Harry Mount Telegraph
Robert Peston is very lucid on some of the biggest issues of the day. I thoroughly recommend it. — Scotland on Sunday
We are unfortunately still in the middle of this crisis. But at least we will have Robert Peston to give us that famous 'first draft of history' provided by excellent reporting. — Business Economist
One of the best accounts of the financial crisis, recession and how we get out of it. — Scotland on Sunday