Ugly Americans by Ben Mezrich

1 minutes estimated reading time

My book of the moment is Ugly Americans by Ben Mezrich. Ben previously wrote Bringing Down the House; a book about a group of maths geeks who take on the Las Vegas casinos by team playing with a gambling system and making a killing at poker.

In Ugly Americans, Ben turns his attention to hedge funds exploiting the economic collapse of Japan in the 1990s. There are many similarities with the books:

  • They both are written in the same style, paced with a future film adaptation in mind
  • They both alternate chapters of action with ‘expert testimony
  • They both claim to be true, however I have my doubts (names have been changed to protect the innocent et cetera)
  • Both are a ripping read 

But the polished nature of the read makes me think that its fiction masquerading as truth. And thats why Ugly Americans feels a bit dirty and hard to recommend, despite my enjoying reading it.

Mezrich feels as if he’s hit his stride with style and format rather like Lee Childs or James Patterson. The idea isn’t the important thing, the truth probably doesn’t matter. Instead Mezrich has a pattern. The key difference to Childs and Patterson is that Mezrich is thinking about the film or TV adaptation from the beginning. It feels cynical. And that’s why the book Ugly Americans feels a bit ugly and dirty for me as a reader. More related content here.