I watched The Big Short, the brilliant film based on Micheal Lewis’ even more brilliant book. The film does well to highlight the human impact of the last recession, although it doesnt focus on the people (everyday lay person, not the bankers) that it really impacted, it does point out that these numbers on computers are actually human beings.
I’ve been absolutely fascinated by the last financial crisis. It began as I entered university so I did not directly feel the effects but it really affected my perspective on money, work and security. I’ve done a lot of reading, watching and listening and I’m constantly fascinated by really smart people telling me that finance is too complex for them.
It’s crazy not to try to understand money, even if it’s only how to manage your own money. Our entire system is based around money. The work we do, what we value or don’t, what we do in our spare time, what schools we go to, where we live. We need to know how money works and it’s relationship to humans.
There’s denying there is a lot of complexity but the basic truths are constant. The markets are driven by people not machines, and people are easily influenced so recessions aren’t anomalies in the financial system, they happen every few years and the patterns are pretty similar.
Here are some of my favourite books, films and podcasts that dispel the myth that it’s too complex.
Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki- My Dad gave me this book in my early teens and it basically changed my view on money, work, entrepreneurship and education. It took me beyond what we are taught at school. The focus is mostly on real estate but the basics it teaches about understanding cashflow, debt, that your home is not an investment, that financial advisors get paid to sell you certain investments are incredibly insightful.
Motley Fool Podcasts– brilliant podcasts on investment news, I really enjoy their philosophies on investing as a long game.
Richest Man in Babylon– this book by George Samuel Clason gives financial advice through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon. The principles are simple and true.
Debt Thomas Sankara– brilliant talk by Thomas Sankara on the flawed ideology of debt.
Inside Job– brilliant documentary take down of the last financial crises
Micheal Lewis books– Any of the Micheal Lewis books on finance. I’ve read or listened to pretty much all of them. They are brilliant at showing the human side which is often replaced by statistics (there were no humans involved in the making of this derivative). My
Thinking fast and slow- this book is a brilliant insight to how truly irrational we are and how we can be easily influenced.
Four Horsemen- A bit apocalyptic at times but some eye opening insights to be found in this documentary. It explores finance in the west, the death of empires and the global effects of our actions. It was the first time I learned that the Federal Reserve is a privately owned bank. “Exult in the crimes of others and in our nobility of opposing them.”
Eye opening documentary
The collapse of The American Dream explained in Animation- pretty self explanatory. Short cartoon that reveals a lot of the backdrop to our financial system that is often hidden.
Enron, The Smartest Guys In The Room, Directed by Alex Gibney- Fascinating documentary the story of big financial catastrophes is often the same sadly.
The Psychology of Human Misjudgement- I love Charlie Munger. His interviews and talks are all hilariously brilliant. His research and findings on the social side of finance are fascinating.
Why we look down on low wage earners- School of Life video