Thursday, June 21, 2018

4 Reasons why you should pick - "Are you living the biggest scam called money?"

Sachin Mittal's expression on the cover page and the title ‘Are You Living the Biggest Scam Called Money? Demonetization and After’ lends a tone of the seriousness of the matter under discussion in the book. And it’s only befitting because we are talking about money!

Book Blurb
In the current day and age, currency is considered as money that forms the basis of all our transactions. But what happens when we realize that these pieces of paper are nothing but deception? What if, one day, out of nowhere, we are told that these currency notes are as good as paper? 
As scary as it sounds, this scenario is not very far from the truth. On 8th November 2016, the citizens of India were faced with a similar predicament. It was the day when the government of India declared 86% of the currency worthless unless exchanged for new currency notes. 
An expert on financial matters, Sachin Mittal takes us through the seemingly complex matters on a variety of topics that explain one of the most basic questions of our existence: What is Money? Through a deft use of examples, Mittal draws a timeline of the various forms of money used for transactions since the existence of civilization till date. Finally, he delves on the origin of money as we know it, the paper currency. 
The author does not wish to pass a judgement on the factors that led to demonetization, rather raises serious concerns regarding the validity of paper currency as a widely accepted form of money. Moreover, through nuanced argument and examples, he demystifies the concept of money and reinstates the faith in gold as a more reliable form of money.
The first one-third of the book contains a discussion about demonetization. It covers what happened during and after demonetization and how it troubled the common people. 

The next section covers the history of the Indian currency—starting with the Barter System to use of gold coins to IOU notes to gold-backed notes to fiat currency. The author has covered them very comprehensively and concisely. The final section covers how our government and the central bank handles money, and in the process, inflate our money.

If you are a BJP or Modi-supporter, you may leave this book or criticize it after reading the first section. However, my suggestion is: Be patient and continue reading the next section. If you are not the patient type, then you may skip this book. Though I support demonetization personally, I haven't put this book aside, I continued with it and finished it. Because I knew the book had the capability to deliver good content and sound arguments in the coming chapters.

4 simple reasons why you should pick this book up!
  1. Layman's terminology—If you cannot understand the complex terms used by RBI or the government, don't worry. The author has used none! I think even an 8th grader can understand the complex financial issues due to the way the author has described how the flow of money works. 
  2. Light in content & deep in context—the book is just 125-140 pages long with explanatory artwork and good text spacing. You can virtually finish it in 2-3 hours in one sitting! But the context is deep enough to make you aware of the banking system.
  3. Explanatory Artwork & Easy Examples—As I mentioned, complex things are explained with the help of explanatory cartoons and the simplest of examples.
  4. Useful Guide for Money-related Decisions: Lends basic information and awareness about money and currency so the reader can take proper decisions regarding their personal money matters!
The only improvement that I suggest to the author would be the pricing. I know the glossy colour page costs a lot, but an MRP of Rs. 899 will be difficult to drive good sales! Especially when you are trying to set footing in the market. Otherwise, it’s a great learning experiment!

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5
  2. Content - 4/5
  3. Overall - 4/5
Book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads


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