How banks work

My great grandfather was a banker in Brookings, South Dakota – a town built around a rail junction deep in farm country. His name was “John David Wilson.” Everyone called him “J.D.” He was a resourceful, hard-working teetotaler, married to a woman just as smart as he was. They bought a house with extra bedrooms and took in railway[…]

Why bankers should read poetry

In December of 2011, Monash University unaccountably gave me an honorary degree.  Having failed to get into law school in my twenties, in my sixties I became a doctor of laws.  In exchange, I was asked to give a graduation address — in this case to approximately 350 Asian recipients of finance and economics degrees.[…]

Thinking about banking

Some years ago, I was introduced to a well-known writer at a party in Melbourne. “Harrison’s a banker,” my host said helpfully. “Gee,” responded the writer without missing a beat, “I’ve never met anyone in organized crime before.” I spent half a second searching for a clever response. But the Global Financial Crisis was raging,[…]