Edwards presents a novel approach to the financial debacle by analyzing the expressions we’ve come to associate with fraud and dishonesty.
So many books analyzing America’s financial meltdown have flooded the marketplace that they almost become indistinguishable, but Edwards’ contribution stands out from the crowd. The twist here is the book isn’t about financial malfeasance—it’s a well-researched, engaging and often amusing study of 100 expressions we use to describe financial malfeasance. Edwards says in his preface that he found more than 500 expressions that could apply, but selected the most relevant 100 for his book. He has collected such euphemisms as “cooking the books,” “it’s not worth the paper it’s written on” and “the cat’s out of the bag,” and intelligently organized them into appropriate categories including “Easy Money,” “A Fool and His Money are Soon Parted” and “This is a Fine Mess You’ve Gotten Yourself Into.” Each expression occupies a minichapter in which Edwards includes the saying’s origin, discusses the way its meaning may have changed from one century to another and demonstrates its modern-day usage by including it in a salient quote. More often than not, Edwards makes a wry comment or witty observation that lightens up what otherwise could be an overbearing work. He refers to Wall Street fraud and the government’s ineffectiveness in regulating the financial services industry—in fact, it’s an underlying theme throughout the book—but only insofar as it relates to the expressions themselves. Edwards also manages to find just the right quotation from personalities old and new to add to the beginning of every chapter; the quote for the chapter describing the expression “They Could Sell You the Brooklyn Bridge” is from Paul Newman: “If you’re playing a poker game and you look around the table and can’t tell who the sucker is, it’s you.”
A unique, humorous way of viewing financial folly.