4 out of 4 stars
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"I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies." This quote by Thomas Jefferson summarizes everything that A. Rashad Abdel-khalik brought to the fore in BRAZEN: Big Banks, Swap Mania, and the Fallout.
Since the invention of interest rate exchange (swap) contracts in 1982, there has only been one winner: the big banks. They subtly lure their unsuspecting victims into long-term noncancelable loan deals that only bring year-over-year losses to these victims. They come with bogus promises that prevent the receiving party from seeing the long-term implications of getting into such contracts. These big banks take it a notch higher by making upfront fund injections into the projects of their potential victims. This gesture is aimed at luring them into the swap contract. Most government agencies and non-governmental organizations are swimming in bad financial waters as a result of these swap contracts. How deep does the root of these swap contracts go? How are non-profit organizations managing the effects of these swap deals? With many government agencies almost drowning in this red ocean, what's the fate of the common man?
At first, I thought that this book was best suited for executives or agents of organizations that may have any reason to get into loan deals with banks. However, after reading this book, I would boldly recommend that everyone reads it. It's informative, educative, and insightful. I learned a few things about how the banking industry worked and how money changed hands. This book also brought to light some of the corrupt and depraved measures these big banks take to ensure they make huge profits at the expense of their supposed customers. This book would motivate the reader to stop feigning ignorance and to begin asking vital questions. I was both motivated and inspired after reading this book.
What I liked most was the structuring of this book. This 552-page book was divided into thirty-five chapters. Beyond that, the chapters were grouped into sections. This structuring and arrangement made it easy to follow the author's narrative. Though I felt that chapter one was too long, I was calmed when I realized that it was necessary not to break the flow of thought. This showed the author's intentionality.
I couldn't help but notice the high level of research that went into writing this book. There was not a single anecdote used in this book. Every story shared, and the points raised could be verified for facts. The author judiciously listed all research materials at the end of every chapter.
As I expected from a niche-specific book, I found some terminologies that were alien to me. However, the author did well to explain each jargon in a way that a layperson would grasp. The flow of the book wasn't affected by the author's explanations. Sidenotes and explanations were put in boxes to differentiate them from the main narrative.
There was absolutely nothing I disliked about this book. It was well-written and professionally edited. Therefore, I rate it four out of four stars.
BRAZEN: Big Banks, Swap Mania, and the Fallout
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