Review: Talking to My Daughter by Yanis Varoufakis
Including some heavy non-fiction every now and then is an absolute reading must for me. A book that claims to explain a complex construct in a simplistic way was certainly appealing!
Yanis Varoufakis was the former finance minister of Greece during the collapse in their economy. He has released other books talking in detail of his efforts to reverse the effects of this catastrophe. But Talking to My Daughter is a short, sharp explanation - infinitely less complicated! Written in only 9 days, Varoufakis promises an enormous amount with this book - to explain something that for the life of me I have never understood. I am ready to become a mastermind; here we go.
He explains the origin of money and how throughout history - when money hasn't be available - humans have found a way to utilise the trade of their goods. The value of which is vastly affected by a buyers determination to get hold of them, and the rarity of the item. My favourite example that was used was men in prisoners of war camps trading items in packages they received from Red Cross: cigarettes, coffee, tea and chocolate. Cigarettes were a hot commodity seeing as if you had a nicotine addiction, you'd trade just about anything to get your hands on one. This put non-smokers in a very advantageous position, where they were able to trade the unwanted cigarettes in their packs for a lot of a smokers coffee, tea or chocolate. However, if you were to stockpile your cigarettes - saving them to splash out on a huge amount of chocolate - and then suddenly Red Cross starts providing a lot more in their packages, your high-prized items value has suddenly plummeted.
He also talks of how there can be no profit without debt because businesses have to borrow to grow. Unfortunately, this has caused a few economic downfalls in our history thanks to the banks; another concept Varoufakis explains in this short book. Many of the vivid examples used are related to pop culture, allowing Varoufakis to extend his reach in this book and target audiences that have little to no knowledge of economics (such as myself). I particularly enjoyed chapters where he talked about changes in humanity from the past and changes to come in the future by referencing Blade Runner and The Matrix.
Overall, I think this is a great beginners guide to learning the landscape of this complicated subject. It's short, sharp, and factual. And who couldn't be impressed that he wrote this in 9 days?! My only issues with this read is that ultimately the world of economics is not one that particularly interests me. Therefore the rating isn't very high based on my enjoyment.
Initial Prediction: 4 stars
Final Rating: 3.5 stars
Publication Date: 2013 (my edition: 28 February 2019)
# of Pages: 224