"Let's Talk Money Road to Riches Made Easy" published by the Times Group is Akhil Khanna's debut book. [His articles can be read: here.]
An MBA from the University of Sheffield (UK), Akhil specializes in Financial Management. During his corporate career (two reputed Indian companies and a Korean MNC) he looked after a wide range of finance-related activities: Working and Term Financing Arrangements, Forex Management and Risk Hedging, Corporate MIS Reporting, Budgeting etc. Thereafter he ran a business of trading in industrial and electrical consumable goods. In 2009, he developed a keen interest in financial markets. Since 2010, Akhil has acted as a consultant to several high net-worth individuals.
That Akhil has acquired in-depth knowledge about the workings of various markets and the role of derivatives in the modern financial markets is quite apparent from the contents of this book.
All of 176 pages (10 chapters), Let's Talk Money packs in an awesome amount of information - covering almost every aspect of finance... including the permanent changes that have occurred in the global financial environment. However, the best part is that the language is very simple and therefore, easy to understand. And this itself is a huge achievement... for a book dealing with the jargon-filled complex world of finance.
Let's Talk Money not only un-complicates the financial world for laypersons, it also serves as a reference book for general guidance.
It deals with: Money Supply Changes - the concept of money and how its supply varies from time to time + its effects on various assets over a period: demand-supply, inflation-deflation; Rising and Falling Prices; Property; Business and Commodities; Fixed Deposits and Bonds; Debt; Effects of Speculation on the World Economy, Insurance et al. It also makes the reader aware about the permanent changes that have taken place in the world economy like: outsourcing, global money supply, derivatives, futures and options, and of the logical risks associated with them. The final chapter deals with the World Financial Crisis 2008: the creation + the bursting of the world credit bubble and its effect on banks/financial institutions, on households, on corporates and on governments; effects of the credit bubble on India; solutions to the financial crisis and why financial regulation or reform is a remote possibility.
All of this does make for a very informative read - especially for a layperson, but not a breezy one (for obvious reasons). One may have to slow-read the chapters; go back and forth many a time and/or even re-read parts of them so as to grasp the concepts. But it's all worth it. 'Coz at the end of it one gets an overview about the world of finance and its effect on everyday life. Complex financial jargon, terms and concepts have been presented in an easy-to-understand manner, complete with examples. [Even though not all of these examples are drawn from real life, and are at times overly simplified, they do help in providing clarity, nevertheless.]
The author's usage of bullet points to explain or highlight certain aspects of the topic(s) + a neat 'points to ponder' at the end of some of the chapters - is a very good idea. They not only provide clarity but also are advisory in nature. Hence they make the reader think. And this (again) helps the lay reader to better understand the contents (of the chapters).
The author explains the fundamentals very simply, very clearly and very concisely. This book will be useful to a wide gamut of readers who are not conversant with the world of finance: be it a high-school student or a middle-aged person. [Although I wish the language had been a bit tightened up (at the editing stage), so the impression of over simplification could have been taken care of.]
The penultimate chapter is titled: Invest in Happiness. It makes for a good read. It is very relevant vis-à-vis the current social scenario too.
"The child who gets the highest marks is considered far superior/intelligent than his peers and the reduction in the marks earned is an indication of reduced competence. The marks are awarded only for the ability to memorize written and visual material and reproduce them in a stressful environment in the examination room.
In schools, the obsession with competition prevents the children from sharing their work or exchanging original ideas in the class with their classmates for fear that it may help others score more marks then themselves. Children are not encouraged to make mistakes, learn from them, develop an ability to deal with failure and bounce back.
They do not question the logic of what is taught to them and are hesitant to ask about subjects they do not fully understand for fear of being labeled as idiots or slow learners by their teachers or peers. They are tuned to aim at performing better than others in their class rather than attempt the tasks given to them to the best of their own ability.
Reducing education to mere getting of marks undermines its importance. Apart from academic performance, other ingredients like compassion, sharing, humility and charity have to be sown in the education process right from childhood in order to lead a happy life.
Competition could bring out the hunger in a person to do better in life, but excess of even a good thing is bad; obsession with competition sows the seeds of discontent and classifies people as winners and losers.
Where you reach on the last day of your life is not as important as the consistent happiness with which you enjoyed the journey."
Hence: the author urges all of us to "devote time and effort in developing interests or explore other talents, which we might have within us and which give us happiness."
The book feels good to hold and the jacket cover is quite attractive. The overall effect is quite neat. Each chapter is divided into the relevant sub-topics. And this not only helps in clarity but also comes in handy as a ready reference. One doesn't have to plod through the pages... to find the relevant part(s). Some of the chapters come with a quote from Bob Hope, George Bernard Shaw, Max Amsterdam, Lana Turner, etc. Interesting quotes... that complement the book.
Details of the book: Let's Talk Money Road to Riches Made Easy/ Author: Akhil Khanna/ Publisher: Times Group Books/ Binding: Paperback/ Publishing Date: 2012/ Genre: Non-fiction/ ISBN-10: 9380942889/ ISBN-13: 9789380942889/ Pages: 176/ Price: INR 250.
Picture: The book jacket cover of Let's Talk Money. Courtesy: link.