I finally got around to buying Cra$hmaker: A Federal Affaire written by Victor Sperandeo and Alvaro Almeida. I heard Sperandeo give a lecture earlier this year at the Spring meeting of the Council for Monetary Research & Education (to which I was introduced by the most atypical mine promoter, Alex McDougall). It was a very powerful hard money homily from one of the world's best traders who featured in Market Wizards. I've only read the first two dozen pages, but it is already impressive so the two volumes and 1,572 pages don't seem too daunting. The writing is good though not scintillating, but you're reading it for substance not style. Let's put it this way: Oprah is not going to be interviewing Sperandeo and the Booker Prize would rather dredge a sewer than even consider it. Good. What's more, it only costs $44 plus a little more for delivery; you won't find it at your local bookstore. I have one irrelevant gripe. The pen drawing on the cover is a well executed concept that translates the content, but it was obviously based on a photograph of the Federal Reserve building rather than a first hand view. The result is the typrical distortion of perspective caused by a camera lens pointing up at a building. Correcting the perspective would have made it more effective. Now tell me that isn't utterly useless to Victor Sperandeo!
Brendan Ryan looks at BHP Billiton's costly cleanup in Arizona and Bema Gold's predicament with the Grootvlei mine in SA.
China correspondent Xu Zhiqiang provides a first-hand account of life on the frontlines of a command economy boom.