CIA Inc

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

Spooked is about ‘private spies’: companies and individuals providing upmarket investigation services. The book looks at the tactics they use to gather information, ranging from old-fashioned ‘human-sourced’ reporting to sophisticated surveillance and hacking. Clients tend to be corporations and wealthy individuals looking for ‘strategic intelligence’ (that is, exposés) on rivals and competitors. Sources are mostly […]

Those Strange Tribes in Their Suits & Ties

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

The Nobel Prize for Economics has been won three times by psychologists. How long will it be before an anthropologist claims the honour? There have already been a number of books and papers written by anthropologists about the financial world. It appears that they find financial tribes as interesting and complex as they once did […]

Pills & Patronage

Posted on by Frank Brinkley

The Sackler name adorns the buildings of many elite arts and academic institutions, from the Metropolitan, Guggenheim and Smithsonian museums to Harvard, Yale and Oxford universities, Tate Modern, the V&A and the Louvre. It even appears in a stained-glass window at Westminster Abbey. That’s what hundreds of millions of dollars of philanthropy buys you. Such money has also earned members of this elusive family access to refined circles, mansions and

Interstellar Kredit

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The greatest heist in the history of the universe took about a year to pull off, and when it was finished, things were never quite the same again. There was corporate espionage on an epic scale, a co-ordinated attack that saw nimble, ruthless spies infiltrate every nook of a bloated corporation led by a CEO […]

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Narco-Millions

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Sir Keith Morris, who was Her Majesty’s man in Bogotá when Pablo Escobar went to spend more time with Santa Muerta (Holy Death) in 1993, put it like this:  I started to have my doubts immediately after Escobar was killed, when the American machine went into briefing us that ‘We’ve got rid of Escobar, but […]

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In the Eye of the Shareholder

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Geoffrey Jones teaches at Harvard Business School, where he holds the title of Isidor Straus Professor of Business History. He has previously written about Unilever and his new book, Beauty Imagined, is being promoted as the ‘first authoritative history of the global beauty industry from the nineteenth century to the present day’. In what will […]

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What Went Wrong

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

There can be no doubt that Joseph Stiglitz’s essay on the financial crisis will be an instant bestseller. It is the most sophisticated book-length analysis from a left-liberal perspective yet to have hit the shelves; and most of its claims and explanations will therefore become the received wisdom, especially in Washington and London. 

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Buddenbrooks on the Ruhr

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

In a spot of political hot water? Tiresome critics raking over your past? Need a little help from your friends? What you really want is some historical expertise! Call in someone from a different corner of the political, economic and cultural elite – someone who has won many gongs and plaudits in a long and […]

Oil & Trouble

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Back in the days when the Lone Star Cafe – which despite its Frenchified name was actually a transplanted Texas road house – adorned the corner of 13th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, a huge motto, emblazoned just below the giant iguana that squatted on the roof, proclaimed ‘Too Much Ain’t Enough’. Which fairly […]

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RLF - March