Finance Fridays – The Financial Conspiracy

Aaaahhhhhh…Friday, time to sit back, relax, fish through the fridge for the good beers, not the crap at the front that you serve your moocher friends that come over, we’re talking one of your favorite IPAs here, or perhaps you’re going Mexican tonight. Let’s face it, it’s a lot safer these days to sit on your back porch enjoying a Tecate or Corona than traveling south of the border to do the same thing.

But, my friends, since it’s the first week of the revamped Mark Fadden’s Blog, it’s also the inaugural Finance Friday. Why Finance Friday from a guy who barely made it through Bucknell University (they got into the tournament tonight, Go Bison!!!) with a BA degree? Because I spent the better part of a year painstakingly researching the international monetary system to come up with the foundation of the plot in my latest award-winning thriller, The Brink. Yes, it won an award, two actually, so that means I now know a thing or two about the world of international finance. At least, the award panel thinks I do, so pay close attention.

I love conspiracies. Is it because I seek to an easy explanation to the complex? Probably. But don’t most of us? I love books about conspiracies. I think The Da Vinci Code should be considered The Bible for all those challengers to the conspiracy-based thriller crown. Hence tonight’s topic. The conspiracy behind the 2008 financial meltdown.

No matter whether you were neck-deep in the stock market, or you kept all your savings in the butter dish, you were affected by the 2008 financial sh**storm. Michael Lewis gave us an inside peek into what happened in his unbelievably awesome The Big Short. But, for me, not enough conspiracy. Where’s the shadowy figures, the clandestine agenda, the guy with an eye-patch that has no name, and leaves no fingerprints or DNA behind?

Okay, maybe the ghost pirate dude is a little much, but reading this post about the 2008 Economic Crisis: The Creation of a Manufactured Meltdown will take you right into the heart of the world of conspiracies. As a writer, you should be able to curl up in there with your Stephen King limited edition Cujo blanky and embrace the madness. It should inspire the old noggin to come up with some other mad conspiracies over the weekend. Should we make it a homework assignment? Oh, what the hell, let’s do.

For next week, aka next Finance Friday, it’s your job to come up with a financial conspiracy in 30 words or less. Enjoy your weekend!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Check out his novels at www.markfadden.com.

The Birth of the Conspiracy Thriller

As a writer, one of the coolest things I get to do is talk about books with people. Inevitably, one of the questions I get asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Whenever I start a story, my main goal is to create a thriller that people cannot put down. Closely behind that goal is my desire to “edutain” or educate people on subjects that they normally wouldn’t want to read about as the murders occur, chases ensue, and suspense builds.

For my latest thriller, The Brink, I studied Dan Brown’s international best seller The Da Vinci Code. Not only is it a great thriller, it educates the reader on religious symbols and history, something that usually invokes a yawn or two. What Brown did for religious history, I wanted to do with another subject, financial history and economic theory. The Brink uses the story of a fugitive cop who helps a woman running for her life to educate the reader about the history of our Federal Reserve banking system and the fragility of the international monetary system.   When the systems that govern our daily lives are ripe for manipulation and outright conspiracy, it becomes an obvious choice for a novelist to come up with a scenario where exactly that occurs.

Want some more info on the history of the world’s banking system? Here’s an excellent video about the Rothschild family, the world’s first banking family and how they came to be the wealthiest and most powerful family in the world. This is just part 1. Please visit Youtube to see the rest.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

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Get a signed copy of The Brink 20% off the cover price + FREE SHIPPING! Visit www.markfadden.com for more information. Hurry, offer ends Nov. 15!

Here’s what readers are saying about Mark’s latest thriller The Brink:

“I finally had a chance to sit down and read The Brink–all the way through in a day and a half. The story is gripping, even frightening, and you capture the suspense in the rhythm of your prose. In places I was reading so fast I felt like I was in the chase! I’ll put it on the shelf next to my signed copy of Lonesome Dove, in the gallery of great contemporary writers!” – Bob H., Amarillo, TX

“[Mark Fadden] is the next Dan Brown.” – Arlene D., Southlake, TX

“Truly a pager turner for me. I could not put the book down. Every time I thought I had figured something out, the next twist came up. If you like conspiracy theories, you’ll love this one.” – Sharon L, Houston, TX

Want to start reading The Brink right now? Download the eBook version from amazon.com for less that $10 at http://www.amazon.com/The-Brink-ebook/dp/B003OYIEPC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284567122&sr=8-2 or bn.com at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210492/?itm=1&USRI=mark+fadden.

Want a side of thriller with that financial analysis?

We are literally awash in non-fiction books about the current financial crisis. James Kwak and Simon Johnson, who run the excellent blog The Baseline Scenario, wrote 13 Bankers, a book that “identifies many causes of the recent financial crisis, from housing policy to minimum capital requirements for banks. The authors lay ultimate blame on a dominant deregulatory ideology and Wall Street’s corresponding political influence. Johnson, professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Kwak, a former consultant for McKinsey, follow American finance’s rocky road from the debate between Jefferson and Hamilton over the first Bank of the United States through frequent friction between Big Finance and democracy to the Obama administration’s responses to the crises.” – Publisher’s Weekly review.

Arianna Huffington, of the famed Huffington Post, has written Third World America. According to her publisher, Random House, Huffington, “has her finger on the pulse of America, [as she] unflinchingly tracks the gradual demise of America as an industrial, political, and economic leader.  In the vein of her fiery bestseller Pigs at the Trough, Third World America points fingers, names names, and details who’s killing the American Dream.”

Raghuram Rajan, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, has added to the financial crisis list with Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy. Princeton University Press, the book’s publisher, has this to say about Rajan and the book: “Raghuram Rajan was one of the few economists who warned of the global financial crisis before it hit. Now, as the world struggles to recover, it’s tempting to blame what happened on just a few greedy bankers who took irrational risks and left the rest of us to foot the bill. In Fault Lines, Rajan argues that serious flaws in the economy are also to blame, and warns that a potentially more devastating crisis awaits us if they aren’t fixed.”

Finally, there is former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s Aftershock. Again, here’s a blurb about the book from its publisher, Random House: “Reich’s thoughtful and detailed account of where we are headed over the next decades reveals the essential truth about our economy that is driving our politics and shaping our future. With keen insight, he shows us how the middle class lacks enough purchasing power to buy what the economy can produce and has adopted coping mechanisms that have a negative impact on their quality of life; how the rich use their increasing wealth to speculate; and how an angrier politics emerges as more Americans conclude that the game is rigged for the benefit of a few. Unless this trend is reversed, the Great Recession will only be repeated.”

Just from doing a little research into their backgrounds, it’s obvious each of these authors knows what they’re talking about. But, honestly, show of hands here, you don’t even have to go so far as to fill out an online poll – would you read any one of these books?

The answer is probably no. Yet, something like 50 million people read Dan Brown’s thriller The Da Vinci Code, which, at its core, is about subjects almost as boring as economics for most people: Italian art and religious history. Why? The answer, at least in my eyes, is simple. To paraphrase political strategist James Carville, “it’s the story, stupid.”

Story drives everything. That was my idea when I first conceptualized my latest thriller, The Brink, which is based upon the current financial crisis. Much like Reich, Huffington, and Rajan, I wanted to educate people about America’s precarious financial situation, but I knew that people also don’t want to be nagged or preached to. Most readers would rather sit down and crack open a compelling thriller than a fairly dry textbook-like read. So, I used real-world numbers and real economic theories within a thriller format when I wrote The Brink, and it works. It entertains and educates. Some readers and reviewers alike have even called it, “faction” – the meeting of fact and fiction.

What about you? Have you been researching something from “the real world”, maybe it’s something like global warming, that you think would make the good basis for a novel? Would you ever write a book of “faction?” Do you trust the things you read in fiction to be the truth? Or should fiction writers no try to educate? Should they just entertain and that’s it?   To the keyboards!

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

****************************************************

Here’s what readers are saying about Mark’s latest thriller The Brink:

“I finally had a chance to sit down and read The Brink–all the way through in a day and a half. The story is gripping, even frightening, and you capture the suspense in the rhythm of your prose. In places I was reading so fast I felt like I was in the chase! I’ll put it on the shelf next to my signed copy of Lonesome Dove, in the gallery of great contemporary writers!” – Bob H., Amarillo, TX

“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Arlene D., Southlake, TX

“Truly a pager turner for me. I could not put the book down. Every time I thought I had figured something out, the next twist came up. If you like conspiracy theories, you’ll love this one.” – Sharon L, Houston, TX

Want to start reading The Brink right now? Download the eBook version from amazon.com for less that $10 at http://www.amazon.com/The-Brink-ebook/dp/B003OYIEPC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284567122&sr=8-2 or bn.com at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210492/?itm=1&USRI=mark+fadden.

Order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate unique gift at http://markfadden.com/buyabook.html