* Heaven’s Bankers by Harris Irfan


I was very much looking forward to learning about Islamic finance, but found that Heaven’s Bankers: Inside the Hidden World of Islamic Finance alternated between two equally unappealing modes: a recitation of the many deals the author has arranged in the Islamic world (I grant him all his successes, but can we please get into the heart of the matter?) and detailed descriptions of said deals, the language of which is impenetrable to non finance specialists (most deals seem to depend on “Sharia-compliant pre-IPO zero coupon exchangeable bonds”, and I was not able to muster much enthusiasm to learn about them.) This all left me with the sad aftertaste that fiddling with Sharia rules has much in common with fiddling with the IRS tax code. There must be better ways to contribute to a better world.

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