SEARCHsearch icon
  • Hidden

Unicorns, narwhals, yaks, cows and civets – understanding the financial jungle

‘This is a colourful and timely book at a time when the science & industry of finance is being seriously questioned by people who have been defrauded, pensioners who have lost their savings, & homeowners whose mortgage debt has sky rocketed through hidden clauses, rendering them homeless and bankrupt. The language & terminology of finance has been designed to exclude & expropriate. In a similar way society has excluded and expropriated animals at a suicidal rate in the anthroposcene. This book subtly marries the jargon with the abuse, exposing the contradictions inherent in this ‘science’ which in reality is often ‘alchemy’ and even worse, exploitation of people, governments & nature in the guise of efficiency & free market fundamentalism. It is more than a dictionary of jargon – it provides a platform for scholars to evaluate language & its abuse by so-called experts in society.’ – Professor Atul K. Shah, Professor of Accounting & Finance, City University London


In Bear Markets and Beyond, BBC journalists Dhruti Shah and Dominic Bailey guide you through the confusing world of business jargon with a bold, graphic bestiary.

Unicorns, narwhals, yaks, cows and civets – what have all these creatures got to do with your hard-earned cash?

Well, far more than you would think at first glance. They are all beasts that appear in the global economic ecosystem. They pop up as warnings, messages, signals and useful analogies in order to help us navigate what can sometimes be a confusing, closed-off world.

As well as more familiar terms such as piggy bank, loan sharks and rat race, there are alligator spreads – which occur when an investor will never be able to make a profit on their transactions, or a lobster trap, which is a type of strategy a company will deploy in order to prevent a hostile takeover. There is even the memorable honorific of ‘vampire squid’ given to Goldman Sachs.

You wouldn’t want to enter a bear pit unprepared, so keep this guide to the animals of the financial jungle to hand.

Available to order here or from your local bookshop.