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Liam Dann

BBQ Economics

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From interest rates to the price of cheese and everything in between, this is an essential guide to the New Zealand economy, how it works and why it matters.

Should I fix or float?
Is now a good time to buy - or sell?
What do self-made billionaires know that you and I don't?
Why does cheese cost so much?

Veteran financial journalist Liam Dann has fielded as many money-related questions as he has enjoyed beers around the BBQ - and often at the same time. In this book, he sets out to answer them all, sharing his decades of insight with stories and quotes from prominent politicians, financial experts and business moguls and loads of helpful graphs and illustrations in a super-informative, entertaining introduction to money, how it works, what we should do with it, and why it matters.


  • What even is money?
  • Economic theory
  • Who's left, who's right, who's wrong?
  • Money and politics
  • Bitcoin, NFTs and the future of money
  • Inflation and deflation
  • AI and the future of work
  • Migration
  • How to read an economic forecast
  • Good times, bad times
  • Growth, recessions and depressions
  • Work smarter
  • NZ's productivity problem
  • Earthquakes, pandemics and market crashes
  • Investing
  • Safe as houses
  • The Kiwi obsession with property
  • Bank profits
  • The Great Depression
  • Boomer Times
  • Muldoon's shadow
  • GDP or not GDP
  • Taxing questions
  • Understanding risk

"Liam has managed to do the almost impossible - make the world of economics accessible, interesting and, dare I say it, even fun." - Grant Robertson, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister 

"Who knew The Lorax, Biggie Smalls and Jim Bolger's surf team could help explain economics? Dann nails why money matters. This is how to talk finance at the BBQ and still be invited back." - Guyon Espiner, Investigative journalist

"Liam's a master at telling you what you didn't know you needed to know, while still making you laugh. If you want a shortcut to impressing your friends at the weekend, this is the book to help you do it." - Frances Cook, Personal finance journalist and educator

"A guidebook to sounding smart next time someone asks about the economy. Dann easily translates complex jargon into simple, Kiwi examples." - Brad Olsen, Chief Executive and Principal Economist, Infometrics

"A surprisingly fun and easy read - filled with characters, humour and Liam's personal stories - that gives us the how, why and who of money in New Zealand." - Mary Holm, Personal finance writer and seminar presenter

"Liam has a remarkable way of making the complicated, uncomplicated. His insightful, considered, and plain-English explanation of economics is a must-read for anyone wanting to know just what makes our economy tick." - Sir John Key, former Prime Minister of New Zealand

About the Author: Liam Dann is one of New Zealand's most trusted business and finance journalists, with a writing and reporting career spanning over 25 years. Currently Business Editor at Large at the New Zealand Herald, he delivers insightful, unbiased, accessible opinion and commentary covering markets, economics and politics. He hosts the podcast Money Talks and video show Market Watch and regularly appears as a guest commentator across a wide range of media. From his unlikely origins as a surfer, part-time DJ and self-described bogan, Liam worked in London's banking sector and travelled extensively before evolving into one of New Zealand's most respected commentators. He spends his money on records and sneakers and lives with his family in Auckland.

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