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The Trick Reviews

The Trick by William Leith

The Trick

Why Some People Can Make Money and Other People Can't

William Leith

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication date: 16 Apr 2020
ISBN: 9780747599401

The problem with money is not that we don't understand it, but that it doesn't understand us...

3 stars out of 5
8 May 2020

" It is fun, but at times he resembles someone who is on their fourth cocktail and has a lot of theories"

The book’s subtitle — Why Some People Can Make Money and Other People Can’t — may suggest that Leith was aiming for a self-help manual; what he has produced is an observation of his struggles to write one. Not that it isn’t entertaining. The confessional parts are almost too much. There is something childlike about their rawness and intensity. Leith tells us that he is “abused by secured and unsecured loans, unpaid bills and taxes, fines, penalty fees, pending court cases, and cases I have already lost, or not contested, or forgotten about”. 


4 stars out of 5
Tim Adams
20 Apr 2020

"...like a Samuel Beckett monologuist trying and failing to write a self-help manual... hugely enjoyable"

Leith has, over three decades as a magazine journalist, done more than his fair share of profiles of the rich and the super-rich. It is not, therefore, as though he has not seen them in action, questioned their motivations, studied their life choices – why have none of those traits of success rubbed off? If he is so good at understanding what makes his subjects tick, why can he not apply that wisdom to his own bank balance?... And the more we watch him listen, the closer he gets to the trick itself. This being Leith, he boils it down a few times to the kind of wisdom that always sounds too simple to be true. “You’ll find the right path by taking lots of wrong paths.” “Be the brain surgeon and the mad axeman”. Even as he writes them, he knows he will never learn them – he thinks too much – but it is, nevertheless hugely enjoyable watching him try.