Author: Paul McDonnold
Publication Date: 9/15/2010
Publisher: Starving Analyst Press
Part action novel, part literary novel, part guidebook to economics, The Economics of Ego Surplus is the story of college instructor Kyle Linwood. Anticipating a relaxing summer with his girlfriend and his PhD dissertation, he gets recruited by the FBI to help with an obscure case of terrorist Internet "chatter," which explodes into a shocking, mysterious assault on U.S. financial markets. As the economy melts down and a nation panics, Kyle follows a trail of clues from Dallas to New York City to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In his quest to discover the truth, he will be forced to confront the assumptions underlying his education as well as his life. But will it be enough to save America from the most brilliant terrorist plot ever conceived?
Let me first say that you shouldn't let the title throw you off. It's big, but it aptly fits the events and ideas discussed in the book. This book is about terrorism, but not exactly the terrorism we've come to expect played out on the headlines of CNN, but a more terrifying, subtle version: economic terrorism. What if people were manipulating the stock market at such a rate that they could control market value and whether or not the world would fall into a united, global recession? After reading this book I have to admit I had some chills up my spine at the thought. As much as people might set aside the idea of economics to economists or people that are interested in numbers, this book is a good idea of why you should always keep a certain level of awareness.
The story follows Kyle Linwood, a doctoral student of Economics, who had planned on having a nice, laid back summer with his girlfriend, Smith, and researching his dissertation. As always, life has a method of intervening, and Kyle finds himself instead participating in an FBI investigation on market manipulation courtesy of the time a few years back when he was kidnapped by prominent Libyan terrorists while on a freelance journalism assignment. While Kyle is traveling to visit various professors for their take on the possibility of such manipulation there's plenty of background on economics interwoven in such a way that it doesn't feel at all like an info dump, but more like an aside that places the necessary information on the table so the reader can feel comfortable with what Kyle is doing and also with where the story is going. To be honest, I also learned quite a bit about Dubai that I hadn't known before - I knew that Dubai was the center of trade and finance for the UAE but not too much else. It was a fascinating glimpse and left me curious for more. Case in point: did you know that education there is free from grade school to PhD ? Amazing.
Personally, I love to learn. If it were up to me and were financially feasible I would be an eternal student. I know that's not the case for everyone and that's where this book comes in. If you love a good thriller, then this is a book for you. You don't have to have a background in economics in order to enjoy the story. If you're struggling with the concepts of economics and want a good place to start that won't leave you falling asleep at your desk then I would recommend giving this a try. This book won't be responsible for your A, but it will certainly make learning about the topic a lot more engaging. Overall this was a book that I enjoyed and would recommend to anyone curious for a fast-paced plot and a captivating original story.
I was provided with a finished copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.