About the Book

The idea for the book came from friends and readers, from both professors and students as well. I am told that after reading the original essays (published in my fortnightly Saturday column, “What Are We to Do” in the Star newspaper in Malaysia), whenever they can, many have found them useful enough to save them every other Saturday for future reference. This gets messy to manage, as the file grows. What’s really wanted is a well-organized single source of convenient reference, which they can readily resort to whenever they want or feel the need to. So many have encouraged me to compile the essays in some order: essentially to get them properly organized in a systematic and logical way for ease of reference and, just as important, convenient to locate.

Pressure to do so came by way of Tan Sri Rashid Hussain, who made me a friendly offer I couldn’t possibly refuse: sponsorship by the Prime Minister’s Exchange Fellowship Programme Malaysia to publish them in book form. John Wiley & Sons Singapore had since agreed to be the publisher. With that in place, I began to assemble the 151 essays that were written once a fortnight without fail since the last week of 2008. This date is significant in that since the onset of the 2008 Great Recession, I have been asked by many friends and corporates frequently enough to help explain simply what’s going on, but also the meaning of economic and financial jargon used so very loosely in newspapers and magazines and on radio and ...

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