Mike Robbins – update on a timely essay

Mike Robbins has visited Reading Recommendations a couple of times previously, here and here. He’s back now to tell us about a very timely essay he has just published. (Mike also answered my recent call for book reviewers, for which I am extremely grateful!)

Such Little Accident: British Democracy and its Enemies
by Mike Robbins
Published by Third Rail
Genre: Non-Fiction Essay

“When the people shall have nothing more to eat,” said Rousseau, “they will eat the rich.” But the rich are rather good at getting the poor to eat each other instead. In this provocative novella-length essay, Mike Robbins looks at how the British electoral system, social media, bullying by business, and a growing gap between rich and poor have led to deep fissures in British society. These have been exploited by those with an agenda of their own. As a result, democracy is now fragile. To repair it, we must look hard at the way information cycles through our society, and how our opinions are formed.

Cover picture: J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16th October, 1834 (Detail)
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Where to purchase copies:
Amazon UK
Amazon US
(also available on the other Amazons)
Google Play
Barnes & Noble

Andy Marshall

thinpower-authorandypic Andy Marshall

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Thin Power – Political, biography, Canadian history

Quick description: Thin Power is the unauthorized biography of former Calgary mayor Rod Sykes, featuring the achievements and bitter controversies of his eight-year term ending in 1977. Publicly revealed for the first time are details of Sykes’ unorthodox upbringing in Victoria, B.C., his rise to the mayoralty, and his doomed attempt in provincial politics as leader of the Alberta Social Credit Party in the early 1980s. It offers an entertaining look into one of Alberta’s most controversial public figures.


Brief biography:
Andy Marshall served as a staffer for part of Rod Sykes’ term as mayor of Calgary, and later for his stint as leader of the Alberta Social Credit Party. As well as spending two decades as a reporter and editor with Alberta dailies, Marshall founded and operated his own weekly newspapers. Born in England, he holds a degree in German from the University of Durham. After immigrating to Canada in 1965, he’s spent most of his life in Alberta.

Links to buy Andy’s book:
Friesen Press
Direct from author – Email: camarshall3(at)shaw.ca

Andy’s promo links:

What are you working on now?
Personal memoir. Rough working title, The Path to Non-Belief

Andy’s reading recommendation:
I enjoyed and referred to for my Sykes book, Calgary author Brian Brennan’s The Good Steward (Bowness Press, 2008) and Scoundrels and Scallywags (Fifth House 2002). Impressed by The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King (Anchor Canada 2013) and All Our Sisters by Calgary author Susan Scott (Broadview Press 2007). More broadly, I’ve been devouring work of British author Julian Barnes in past year.

Brian Brennan has been featured a number of times on Reading Recommendations.

Jonathan McMillan

JonathanMcMillanJonathan McMillan

What is your latest release and what genre is it? The End of Banking: Money, Credit, and the Digital Revolution
The genre is non-fiction, or, more precisely, economics and politics.

Quick description: If you want to read another scandalous story about greed, The End of Banking is probably not what you are looking for. If you are interested in an intuitive and innovative reform proposal for our financial system, however, this book will be worth your time. It shows that a financial system without banking is both possible and desirable in the digital age.

Things were different in the industrial age. Back then, banking was actually a good way to organize the financial system. Our book explains how this changed with the rise of information technology: Regulators lost control over banking, a development that ultimately resulted in the financial crisis of 2007-08. In this context, we also discuss why the current incremental approach to fix banking is doomed to fail. But this is only one side of the story. The digital revolution has also opened up new opportunities. In the digital age, we no longer need banking. We propose a subtle policy change that effectively ends banking, and we show how that will restore a functioning financial system.


Brief biography:
Jonathan McMillan is a pseudonym. Behind it stand two authors, both experienced in the world of economics and finance. One works in the investment banking division of a global bank. He is a financial expert who loves nothing more than digging through balance sheets, system flowcharts, and transaction data. In his role, he has gained first-hand insights into the workings of the financial centers of London and New York. To protect the identity of this author, The End of Banking is published pseudonymously.

The other author has chosen an academic path. Always eager to learn, he earned two Bachelor’s degrees, one in economics and one in international relations. He holds an M.Phil. in economics from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. in economics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich. In his research, he investigated the impact of banking and banking regulation on macroeconomic stability and welfare. He is now an economics editor at Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the Swiss newspaper of record.

Links to buy Jonathan’s book:
Available in paperback and hardcover. eBook will be published soon.

Jonathan’s promo links:
Homepage and Blog

What are you working on now?
At the moment, we mostly write blog posts and guest articles for newspapers. The reform steps we propose are new and need to be promoted. This is why we refrain to rush into a new book project. Nevertheless, it might well be that one day we will write another book about how one should set-up the transition from today’s banking system to the new financial system we describe in The End of Banking.

Jonathan’s reading recommendation:
Investment Banker: I have enjoyed Nassim Taleb. He influenced the way I am thinking about risk and uncertainty. If you have not read anything from him yet, I recommend you start with the Black Swan, which is his best book so far.
Economics Editor: Fame by Daniel Kehlmann