- Paperback: 279 pages
- Publisher: Takshashila Institution (2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 8193197690
- ISBN-13: 978-8193197691
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,11,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Between the Buyer and the Seller
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"Karthik Shashidhar takes us on a brisk analytical journey that is as informative as it is entertaining. From football transfer markets to fairy tale start-ups gone wrong, this is a revealing work holding important lessons for all who wish to navigate the evolving markets of today's times" - Shashi Tharoor, Politician and Author
"Karthik Shashidhar’s interesting and well-written (almost in the style of newspaper columns) collection of stimulating essays is on efficiently functioning markets, or their lack. Excellent to read, irrespective of whether you agree or disagree" - Bibek Debroy, Economist
Why is it difficult to find Feta Cheese in Bangalore, or mango pickles in Barcelona? Why are tourists encouraged to bargain? Why do startup platforms provide heavy incentives to their users? And why is it difficult to find the right date using dating apps? The answer to any of these questions rests with a mysterious entity, who quietly exists between the buyer and the seller.
In this absorbing account, quant and management consultant Karthik Shashidhar uses concepts from economics and financial markets to explore this entity's complex behaviour. From medieval bazaars to modern “two-sided marketplaces”, the book explores why markets are structured the way they are, and how they can be designed in order to ease transactions between the buyer and the seller.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karthik Shashidhar lives in London, where he works in financial services. Between 2012 and 2017, he was an independent quant, data science and business strategy consultant. Simultaneously, he was Resident Quant at the Takshashila Institution, and an adjunct faculty at IIM Bangalore. He wrote this book while living in Barcelona in 2016.
Karthik writes a regular column for Mint where he uses data and quantitative methods to comment on issues of contemporary interest.
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On the whole, intellectually stimulating and well articulated. Kudos on your debut
Karthik employs gripping examples, covering a range of eclectic topics -- from the global financial crisis of 2008 to the valuation of football players. Why, for instance, is the market for football players during the transfer seasons highly illiquid despite there being so many clubs and players? How can liquidity explain the heavy discounting strategies employed by the likes of Uber? Are bond markets shallow mainly because of regulatory barriers, or is there a more fundamental reason as well? How can something as basic as explicitly sticking prices on products help traders/businesses sell more?
These and many more questions are answered in an easy-to-read and digestible manner. The discussion throughout is ideology-agnostic.
Karthik also distills the seemingly abstract yet essential economic insights drawn from academic papers in a lucid and comprehensible manner. You may find this in chapter fourteen, for instance, where the author uses fascinating insights from renowned economists Jean Tirole’s and Jean-Charles Rochet’s 2003 paper to explain why some payment platforms such as Paytm succeeded in bringing both merchants as well as customers on board during demonetisation, while many others, including the government-backed BHIM failed.
Whether you are a student, policy analyst, economist, or even an entrepreneur, the book’s sharp insights and fresh perspectives will provide you value for both time and money.
The catchy quotes before each chapter provide a refreshing teaser of the content. ‘Between buyer and seller’ tends to provide the ground reality of market functioning through a combination of stimulating and engaging essays rather than establishing an ideological inclination and navigating henceforth.
A must read for everyone who wishes to comprehend the market and its impact through globalization.
This book addresses that need of mine to discuss "real" examples that I know of and can relate to.
The first page of the book starts with "Karthik shashidhar lives in London". It hides a lot more than what it says. He has lived large part of his 30+ years in India and which is one of the main reasons why this is a remarkable book. This book is primarily about his reflections and ruminations of "Markets", of everyday transactions across the spectrum - Taxis, Arranged weddings, Tourist markets, Rental housing and the likes - with a strong linkage to his Indian context. See how the cross-roads of technology, regulation and human behavior have shaped these markets. I say this is remarkable because, as he says in his prologue, I cannot place a similar book from the Indian context. If you have a few hours to spare and want some interesting light read to fill them, this book comes highly recommended.
Some additional thoughts on the book
It is a remarkably smooth read (Just like many of his blog posts) and enjoyable.
Many of the examples are known and identifiable, which makes the process of being an equal partner in "reflection" on the framework and concepts great!
I enjoyed quite a few examples -
Senthil from Boys in "Information is wealth" - I was pleasantly surprised when Senthil made a cameo appearance as I was already thinking about this particular scene already while reading the book
Nokia-sriperumbudur example on company towns (It was touted to be the next upcoming big town a decade and a half back - with a new airport, bunch of new high end residential launches etc. but now remains known more for the ex-PM's memorial still!)
The whole Indian arranged marriage, tinder / dating apps and human behavior analysis
... And many more
The best part of the book was Chapter Ten "Slow and steady" wins the race. Where the conventional theory that more "real-time", "noisy", "reactionary" the market is, it would be considered more effective or successful. A slow, batch processed and thoughtful market is often better
It feels like a light book - but I realized that there were many insights which were delectably served in digestable quantities through the book. So a quick re-read / mental summary after you finish reading it once is recommended to savor it completely
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