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Extended Audio Sample I. O. U.: Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay Audiobook, by John Lanchester Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00117508813161 out of 54.00117508813161 out of 54.00117508813161 out of 54.00117508813161 out of 54.00117508813161 out of 5 4.00 (851 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Lanchester Narrator: James Langton Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2010 ISBN: 9781400185436
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The wildest story in the world these days is not fiction; it’s what’s really happening all around us as the world’s global economy has gone into freefall. How did we get here? What does it all mean? How could so many smart people be so dumb and believe their own hype?

Accessibly, cleverly, and with mordant humor, journalist John Lanchester trots the globe in search of the answers to these questions—to Iceland, the scene of a catastrophic bank collapse; to Hong Kong, the city of his birth built at the altar of free-market capitalism; to the high-stakes leveraging of Wall Street; and to the tragedy of lost homes in small-town America. And in his capable hands, we see and understand what went wrong and why.

Lanchester believes that the current crisis gives us an opportunity to bring about much-needed change, and a stronger and more compassionate system can emerge from the wreckage.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Few if any [finance] books will be as pleasurable—and by that I mean as literate or as wickedly funny—as John Lanchester’s…Before you begin to cry, pick up a copy of I. O. U. Good humor and good company will be the things that’ll get us through.”

    New York Times

  • “This elegantly crafted little book…manages to be, by turns, acidic, frightening, and sharply funny. What it is not is boring….it all makes perfect sense. A.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “I.O.U. provides a fine introduction to the latest financial frenzy, with a suitable degree of outrage.”

    Wall Street Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sandra | 2/18/2014

    " This book gives us a look backward at the causes of the situation the United States, Britain and Europe find themselves. It is complicated and frightening. Communism failed. Is pure market capitalism far behind? My take from the book is that the people who got us into the situation are still in the driver's seat and still doing the same types of things that got us into this - Jamie Dimon and Chase Bank is just one for instance. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Walker | 2/1/2014

    " Some laugh out loud moments in this but if you're like me you'll end up feeling angry because there's lots in this book to be angry about. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen Gilroy | 1/10/2014

    " If you want to read one book about the financial crisis, this is it. It is a very good succinct explanation of why we are completely and totally you-know-what . Five stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Polly | 1/4/2014

    " Excellent, accessible look at the financial crisis and how it happened. Lanchester is as furious as the general public with the banks; perhaps that skews his policy recommendations a bit, but it makes for entertaining reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 12/26/2013

    " This book gave me a lot to chew on. The author made some really good points and had some interesting insights that I had not yet considered. Needless to say, the book resurfaced my pissed-off-ness at the entire predicament. The glaring ineptitude of people is astounding at times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamara | 12/12/2013

    " I liked the beginning and the end very much. In between I sometimes got the feeling I am reading the same thing over and over again but that was saved by the great ideas that come in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Damon | 12/1/2013

    " Great perspective from a British journalist on the attitudes toward money in the U.S. and the U.K. that led to the financial collapse. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steve | 7/11/2013

    " Too much vitriol and too few facts. Meh. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Philipp Schwind | 3/21/2013

    " An excellent introduction into the world of banking. Lots of facts, good explanation of the downturn. However, the book would have profited from some figures and diagrams. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maksim | 6/9/2012

    " A great book that explains current "financial meltdown". It is pretty good read, even though at times it may seem to be pretty technical, but still rather readable anyway. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Roland Martinez | 4/2/2012

    " I expected more from Lanchester. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew | 11/26/2011

    " A good account of the causes of the recent financial crisis and where we find ourselves now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 auria | 1/4/2011

    " FI-3130 "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margaret | 12/29/2010

    " Okay, for all the people who do not understand finance or why the economy imploded(I include myself among you), here's the book for you. I finally understand what credit default swaps are! This book is also hilarious. Well, as funny as financial death spirals can be... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chartreuse | 12/3/2010

    " Excellent. Lanchester does a really good job explaining economic phenomena in laymen terms. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom Dunsdon | 5/28/2010

    " Very good dummies guide to the financial crisis "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan Mcardle | 5/25/2010

    " A really excellent explanation of the financial crisis, well written, and from the point of view of a Britain. If you are looking for simple understanding of it all, this is it. And he was a somewhat humorous writer, not been a finance person by trade. "

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About the Author
Author John Lanchester

John Lanchester is a contributing editor at the London Review of Books, and his work has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, and Observer, among others. He has won the Whitbread and Hawthornden Awards, as well as being awarded the 2008 E. M. Forster Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in London.

About the Narrator

James Langton, born in York, England, trained as an actor at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Winner of fourteen AudioFile Earphones Awards, he has performed many voice-overs and narrated numerous audiobooks, including the international bestsellers The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud by Julia Navarro, The Virtues of War by Steven Pressfield, and The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. He is also a professional musician who led the internationally renowned Pasadena Roof Orchestra from 1996 to 2002.