A New Book for a New Year!

At the beginning of 2011, in an article titled A New Look for A New Year available at https://www.newsday.co.zw/2011/01/05/2011-01-05-a-new-look-for-year/ I promised to eventually publish a collection of articles from this column in response to requests by some readers.

Financial Sector Spotlight with Omen Muza

The theme of the book was set to be steeped in the banking/financial sector since this column focuses predominantly on financial matters. I even had a working title for the book: Contemporary Banking Insights from an Economy in Transition.

However, in June 2013, before that particular book project could see the light of day, I received an interesting e-mail from Germany.

It was from Edward Walker, the acquisition editor of Dictus Publishing, advising me that after consulting some of my articles online, Dictus had decided to offer me their publishing services and he wanted to know whether I would be keen to publish my “political” writings with them.

I was pleasantly surprised because I wasn’t aware that my articles had attracted that kind of attention from as far afield as Germany.

At the same time, I was a bit taken aback by his classification of my work because I had never considered it as eminently socio-political – let alone political — but rather as financial pieces with a strong bias towards the banking sector, it being my area of focus.

So I politely thanked him for the offer and reminded him that I focused mainly on financial sector themes, so I couldn’t guarantee that my area of focus would appeal to the publisher’s targeted audience. Shortly thereafter, I received Dictus’ formal offer for further consideration, accompanied by Walker’s insistence that they were still interested in publishing my material. Needless to say, I took up the offer.

Interestingly, when it was originally conceived, the thematic focus of the Financial Sector Spotlight Column was not consciously steeped in deliberate sociopolitical themes.

However, as I now carefully reviewed the over 150 articles I had contributed to column since its inception in June 2010, I realised that a significant number of the pieces perfectly fitted the bill hence easily came up with 38 articles. I guess this says a lot about how we can become eloquently sociopolitical without initially intending it or even realising it.

The result is a book titled Tinkering with Decimal Places: Sociopolitical Perspectives of the Financial Sector in Zimbabwe which covers a diverse range of topics such as financial innovation, gender diversity, public finance, financial literacy, sustainability, policy formulation, competitive strategy, currency reform and indigenisation.

Far from being a glorified collection of articles that were once published in a newspaper column, value has been added through a process akin to distillation, achieved by collecting only articles with a common thread — the sociopolitical perspective of the financial sector in Zimbabwe.

Additionally each article now appears in this collection with a set of questions seeking to give the reader a better understanding of the underlying topics. The book can therefore be used in one of two ways; either as a read for information and entertainment purposes only, or for deployment in an academic setting. Consequently, anyone will be able to pick it up and enjoy reading it, whether they are from a financial/banking background or not.

Notably, some of the articles were initially not published in full in this column due to editorial interventions linked to space constraints and this collection offers such articles the opportunity to be published in full for the first time.

A key issue which this collection underlines is the link between politics and business — as unbreakable a relationship as they come. The article titled Political Risk: The Curious Case of the Tail Wagging the Dog eloquently deals with this issue.

There should be no illusions about the process of attempting to “de-link” politics from business because it is a difficult exercise, much like attempting to separate conjoined or Siamese twins. One of them — or both — may die in the process. Politics is never too far away from business; in fact there is always a fair amount of politics in business and vice versa.

Tinkering with Decimal Places, whose ISBN is 978-3-8473-8737-4, was published on December 26 2013 and will shortly appear in the catalogues of various international booksellers such as amazon.com. Currently, you can buy this book from More Books at http://www.get-morebooks.com

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