This is a book about where believers in Effective Altruism (EA), a philosophy for maximising the utility a person has, are coming from. If you can earn substantial money by working in finance, runs the argument, then rather than (for example) training as a doctor and benefitting society directly, you should earn the cash and then donate it to hire mutiple doctors. The theory: make safe, reliable money selling shoves and then use it for good works. Was it all just a confidence game of epic proportions? In 2021 cryptocurrency went mainstream. Giant investment funds were buying it; celebrities like Tom Brady endorsed it; and TV ads hailed it as the future of money. Hardly anyone knew how it worked—but why bother with the particulars when everyone was making a fortune from Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, or some other bizarrely named “digital asset”? As he observed this frenzy, Bloomberg investigative reporter, Zeke Faux, had a nagging feeling: Was it all just a confidence game of epic proportions? What started as curiosity—with a dash of FOMO—would morph into a two-year, globe-spanning quest to understand the wizards behind the world’s new financial machinery. Faux’s investigation would lead him to a schlubby, frizzy-haired twenty-nine-year-old named Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF for short) and a host of other crypto scammers, utopians, and overnight billionaires. Faux follows the trail to a luxury resort in the Bahamas, where SBF boldly declares that he will use his crypto fortune to save the world. Faux talks his way onto the yacht of a former child actor turned crypto impresario and gains access to “ApeFest,” an elite party headlined by Snoop Dogg, by purchasing a $20,000 image of a cartoon monkey. In El Salvador, Faux learns what happens when a country wagers its treasury on Bitcoin, and in the Philippines, he stumbles […]
How to Buy an Island is the definitive account of the Barclay brothers, charting their incredible journey to power and fortune. Author Jane Martinson unravels previously-buried stories from the brothers’ six-decade long reign at the peak of British business: from their close association with Margaret Thatcher and the massive wealth they garnered from it; to their audacious and controversial acquisition of The Telegraph newspaper; to the scandalous inside story of their public fallout, a dispute mired in succession, betrayal, espionage and inheritance which ultimately left the family split in two. But this is not just a biography of two of Britain’s strangest billionaires. This is the story of a world that would become Brexit Britain, with its tightly enmeshed webs of influence between capitalism, politics and the media. The lives of the brothers reveal much about post-war Britain and a new, ruthless way of doing business which has proved remarkably resilient – they built their wealth in the UK, but retained it by siphoning the profits from their network of private companies to offshore entities in a purposefully complicated corporate web. How To Buy An Island is an examination of politics, corruption, deception, power and money over the last 70 years of British history – not just the story of two impoverished children-turned-billionaire-knights-of-the-empire, but a story of humanity, its limitations and, ultimately, its power to change the world.