The crucial part missing from the preview of ‘Bankers are people, too’

If you haven’t already, please take a look at Bankers are people, too on Amazon before you buy the book. The Look inside! feature gives a preview of the table of contents and part of the introduction.

However, you should know that as the author, I don’t have control over what is displayed on ‘Look inside!’. Prospective readers might get the impression that Bankers are people, too is yet another book that blames the banking sector. But that’s only because the last two pages of the introduction are missing from the preview.

So here are pages 17 and 18 (I put some text in bold and added links to related blog posts):

This book

Based on the previous sections, it’s almost a miracle that anyone would let a banker near their money. The fact that we still use banks suggests that we know that the financial sector is more than scandals. Yet few customers could explain what bankers do exactly.

In the wake of the crisis of 2008, a whole literature has been published on the problems of banking. What is missing is an explanation of the services bankers provide to their clients every day. How do banks make money? Why are there central banks? What is the role of politics in finance? What is the difference between stocks and bonds? What do investment bankers do? How does banking differ from insurance? What is GDP? Can saving and paying off debt be bad for the economy? And what is all this crazy talk about helicopter money?

Working as a banker, I found it amazing how finance was sometimes represented in the media. Statements on monetary topics by renowned economists were frequently incorrect. If economists didn’t get it, what hope was there for the general public?

That is why I decided to write the missing introduction to banking myself. This book answers the questions listed above, and many more. It is aimed at anyone interested in finance. News about offshore havens, shadow banks, monetary policy, leverage or derivatives will no longer be Greek to the reader.

A recurring theme throughout this book is the human element in finance. I present the financial world as it is; inhabited by real people. Some are fraudsters. But most are just doing their jobs as best as they can. Borrowers, savers, investors, economists, regulators and politicians are all imperfect human beings. Finance isn’t magic or rocket science. Bankers are people, too.


Some notes on style and structure

Economists and journalists writing for lay audiences tend to use metaphors when explaining financial concepts. For example: cheap credit is like heroin. It’s addictive, and the economy can overdose from it. That may sound nice, but what does it even mean?

Textbooks are more precise, but they are too mathematical to appeal to a broader audience. I have tried to keep this book accessible to the novice, without sacrificing clarity and correctness. Concepts are explained from zero, using a minimum of terminology. Fundamental ideas are illustrated with simple numerical examples and schematic drawings.

Anecdotes and financial figures enrich the text. Because banking has a long history, there are abundant cases to source from. Nonetheless, this book focuses on the timeless principles that are valid regardless of their concrete implementation. Furthermore, a number of common misconceptions – sometimes even held by economists – are debunked.

Each topic is discussed in a bite-sized chapter. The chapters with similar themes are grouped into seven parts. Parts one to three describe the services of financial institutions for individual clients. Parts four to six look at monetary phenomena in the economy at large. Part seven is more speculative, as it attempts to predict how banking will evolve in the future.

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