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The Economics of Ego Surplus - Paul McDonnold Full review here:
http://guiltlessreading.blogspot.com/2011/09/economics-of-ego-surplus-by-paul.html

My thoughts: Let me preface this little write-up with this: I am not an Economics major - and have only Economics 101 under my belt and a rather enthusiastic significant other who chatters about what he reads from the business sections of newspapers - as background. So I won't claim to understand everything economics-related here.

When the author, an economics teacher, contacted me about reviewing this book, the story of how this book came to be intrigued me. After all, many of us probably have had to suffer through many a class where the subject matter may have been interesting it were presented in a more palatable manner. McDonnold says:
“It’s never easy to get students interested in economics. Several years ago I gave my class a homework assignment in the form of a fictional story. A terrorist attack was being planned against the U.S. economy, and the assignment required figuring out the plot and using economic policy to foil it. The reaction I got from the students was so positive I decided to take the concept further. That’s when work on the novel began.” {Via.}
So, fiction setting the stage to teach economics. Highly unconventional but done quite extensively in the literary world. Think Jostein Gaarder who teaches philosophy in his riveting reads (Sophie's World, The Orange Girl); Frank Peretti with his brand of Christian fiction (This Present Darkness); or Dan Brown's wildly successful The Da Vinci Code. These books have successfully managed to make what is traditionally viewed as heavy, academic and often mystifying, into something immensely popular, cool, and ... well, fun.

However, McDonnold says that The Economics of Ego Surplus was meant to reach out beyond the safe confines of the economic academic (economics fiction for "econophiles") to the non-academic. Virtually anyone who likes a good read. Did McDonnold succeed at all? I say "yes." The storyline hooked me. Blink and you may miss something. There's a little something for everyone: a fast-paced investigation, a bit of romance, some heated academic debates, travel to an exotic place. Oh, and a mad man and an intricate look into the inner workings of the world economy.

I am fascinated by the core of the story which shifts terrorism from the mere physical to that of a more strategic, and a more insidious kind: economic terrorism and warfare. The book focuses on how a company is able to successfully manipulate the US stock market through spamming - sending stock prices a'plummeting, and with a whole country starting to panic, provoking irrational selling and a snowball effect on the US economy as a whole. Faith in the market economy and in government has been totally stripped. And being the supereconomy it is, this inevitably impacts on the world economy. (Wait, I've said "plummeting stocks" already - doesn't this sound familiar?) I won't go into detail at risk of spoiling things for future readers, but reading this has definitely gotten me a little bit more interested in clicking the business and investing sections online.

Full review here:
http://guiltlessreading.blogspot.com/2011/09/economics-of-ego-surplus-by-paul.html