The New Yorker On the Money is a collection of cartoons that appeared in The New Yorker magazine on the subject of money, banking, investments, employment and the economy over a period of more than 80 years. The cartoons are organized by decades: from the roaring 1920s to the not-so-roaring 2000s and Malcolm Gladwell, the non-fiction author whose books are perennial best-sellers has supplied a delightful introduction.
In addition to being absolutely hilarious, the cartoons brilliantly capture the zeitgeist of the era and remind us how often financial history repeats itself. One cartoon from the 1930s depicts men around a table peering at a dollar bill and the caption reads ‘A Board of Directors inspects third-quarter net earnings available for dividends after deductions for fixed charges, income tax, depreciation, and obsolescence.’ The New Yorker could have published that cartoon in the late 1990s with some minor changes and it would have perfectly captured the era when companies routinely deducted a long list of items to produce “pro forma” earnings.
Excerpted with permission from The New Yorker On The Money Copyright © 2009 by The New Yorker Magazine; Andrews McMeel Publishing.
Here’s one cartoon that is not exactly funny but is an incisive observation of investor behaviour. Two men have jumped off a building and one tells the other: “Remember, I warned you that only a person with a regular income, a cash reserve for emergencies, and adequate insurance coverage, plus a surplus, should buy stocks — and then with the utmost selectivity.”
I received a review copy of this book and it has to be the one I have enjoyed the most by far. If they didn’t send me a copy, I would have purchased one. It is available from Amazon.ca and Chapters.ca for roughly $20.