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NICHOLAS DUNBAR is one of the most respected UK financial journalists covering the Wall Street beat. He was born in 1966 and trained as a physicist at Cambridge and Harvard universities. From 1998 to 2009, he was technical editor of Risk magazine, known as the bible of derivatives bankers. His previous book, INVENTING MONEY: The Story of Long-Term Capital Management and the Legends Behind It (Wiley, 1999), was well received by publications ranging from the Independent and The New York Times to Business Week and Euro Business and has attracted more than forty reviews on In 2007, he won the State Street award for institutional financial journalism. He lives in London.



Nicholas Dunbar's website

Featured titles

The Untold Story of the Slick Traders and Hapless Regulators Who Almost Blew Up Wall Street... and Are Ready to Do It Again


We highly recommend reading this most serious account. The book is light years ahead of the lurid bestsellers on the crisis – Marc Roche, LE MONDE


Dunbar... is that rarest of animals: a genuine expert on the structured products at the heart of the crisis who is not afraid to tell the truth about just how harmful they were. Dunbar has spent his career in the structured-finance trade journals, which sets him apart from all the authors who had to try to work out what on earth was going on only after the world started falling apart. More importantly, Dunbar was one of the best-sourced journalists in the field long before the financial crisis hit... To know what people were thinking in the years when the sector was booming, when the seeds of disaster were being planted, you needed to be talking to them at the time. And that's exactly what Dunbar was doing – Felix Salmon, REUTERS


A well-researched account of the forces and events that led to the implosion of the financial system three years ago – IRISH TIMES 


A triumphant romp through a decade of financial mismanagement. A must-read – THE NATIONAL


An intriguing and original analysis of the problems that Wall Street has been spreading to the world – MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW


Dunbar follows the first rule of good journalism: talk to everybody. He has interviewed not only the leading players in the derivatives industry, but has also followed many key actors whose stories have never appeared in print – until now. As this book makes clear, the dark side of financial innovation is just getting darker, and it is only a matter of time until we suffer another derivatives fiasco – Frank Partnoy, University of San Diego School of Law


Dunbar offers an insider’s perspective into the complex and risky world of derivatives. The Devil's Derivatives is a compelling book, one that takes clear aim at the risk-takers on Wall Street who contributed to both our economy's growth and decline. Dunbar is a fine writer who combines a deep knowledge of finance with a great knack for storytelling – Edward Chancellor, author of CRUNCH TIME FOR CREDIT and DEVIL TAKE THE HINDMOST


A bold book written by a hard-nosed journalist with a stiff backbone… At last, a book on the subject that shows true grit – Jules Kroll, founder of Kroll Inc., and chairman and cofounder of K2 Global Consulting

How the people who hated to lose were persuaded to accept risk by the people who loved to win.

THE DEVIL'S DERIVATIVES reveals the untold inside story of modern financial innovation – how investment banks invented new financial products, how investors across the world were wooed into buying them, how regulators were seduced by the political rewards of easy credit and how speculators made a killing from the near-meltdown of the financial system.

Nicholas Dunbar demystifies and popularizes this complex world by explaining the revolution that briefly gave finance the same intellectual respectability as theoretical physics. He explains how by juggling risks and rewards like atoms and molecules, bankers created a secret trillion-dollar machine that delivered cheap mortgages to the masses and riches beyond dreams to the financial innovators.

Fundamental to his story is how 'the people who hated to lose' were persuaded to accept risk by 'the people who loved to win'. Why did people come to accept that the use of arcane financial tools was safe and positive for society? With whom were the bankers competing to assemble the basic components into increasingly intricate machines? How did this process achieve its own unstoppable momentum – ending in collapse, bailouts and a public outcry against the rock stars of finance?


Provocative and intriguing, this new book sheds much-needed light on the forces that fuelled the most brutal economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (US/UK)
Pub Date: 12 July 2011
Length: 320 pages

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All rights available excluding World English Language (Harvard Business Review Press), China (China Citic – simplified Chinese characters), Italy (EGEA), Japan (Kobunsha), Taiwan (Wealth Press – traditional Chinese characters)