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Recommended Reading

WTF by Robert Peston

The clue to the contents of this book, if one were needed, is in the title and all over the front cover.

In effect, it is somewhat of a personal manifesto from Mr Peston; who poses three questions in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, the election of President Trump and in a final chapter prompted by tragic events, the Grenfell Tower fire: What have we done? Why did it happen? How do we take back control? 

Written as an extended letter to his recently deceased father, and partly to soothe his personal unease at not have noticed the underlying and widespread discontent that contributed to these events in his view, the book attempts to take stock of the state of society and prompt a debate about how it can be better managed. 

The scope of the book is very wide and informed by Mr Peston's training as an economist, and his experience as a political and economic journalist. It includes education, government, taxation, the role of trade unions, the gig economy, the need for a shared societal purpose, wealth distribution, regional and monetary policy, banking, identity politics, nationalism, political legitimacy, technology, demography, alienation, regulation, corporate governance and the role of government; and no doubt this list is not exhaustive.

Throughout the book, Mr Peston makes frequent references to data to substantiate the perspectives and arguments he puts forward without at any point creating a sense of 'overload'. The data enriches the experience of reading the book.

At the end of the book, Mr Peston outlines a variety of solutions intended to prompt a conversation and reflecting his desire for a shift towards a version of capitalism that will redress many of the imbalances and inequalities that Mr Peston rails against.  

In summary, this is a clear-sighted and informed, albeit very personal lens on the many events and trends that are seemingly shaking the foundations of our society and creating, according to your point of view, huge opportunity, uncertainty or both, for businesses in all sectors.

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