A Simpleton's Guide to the Street's Wicked Ways
Nonfiction / Finance / Social Science
Date Published: January 4, 2022
Our monetary system is insane! That’s the premise of Repo Madness, a book not meant for scholars, analysts but for you, the person who has been kept in the dark about the shadow banking system. Understandable and informative, this book is also irreverent, never missing an opportunity to underscore the absurdity of it all. You will learn how shadow banking evolved into what it is today, an out-of-control massive system that sucks the lifeblood out of our economy. You will bear witness to participants who in rare moments of candor admit the system is broken and comes at great cost. Years of research have resulted in the most compelling evidence you will find anywhere that the shadow banking system does not benefit society. Solutions of comparable size and scope are out there! Remedies that empower all of us in determining our financial lives and in turn, serve the greater good.
Please briefly describe the book.
The book is about the
shadow banking system. It is a system that is out of control, well beyond the
reach of regulators. My book traces its evolution and how it was covered or
should I say not covered in the financial press. Furthermore, I share its basic
constructs, inherent risks and through comments from the participants
themselves make a compelling case that in fact, over the last 40 years it has
not benefited society at large. I argue for a complete overhaul that offers an
inclusive, democratic system devoid of all the inbuilt protections accorded the
big banks today.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have always engaged
in the world. I care about fairness and in my capacity as a broadcast
journalist sought truth and worked to expose those whose aims were not in the
best interest of the community. It is that sense of fairness that inspired me
to write this book. Despite working in the financial services industry for more
than a decade, I had no knowledge of the shadow banking system. When hired to
write about money-market mutual funds I was soon thrust into writing about the
Great Financial Crisis. I would write about the shadow banking system for 11
years and during that time, I became obsessed. I dug deep did tons of
independent research to “figure it out.” My work led me to the conclusion that for
decades we have all been bamboozled by Wall Street, the government, and the
media; all complicit in keeping a corrupt system that sucks the lifeblood out
of our economy under wraps.
How do you make sure the information for your nonfiction
books is accurate and
up to date?
The book is a compilation of comments and
observations by others. Over the years I amassed hundreds of related documents.
Eventually I settled on the most provocative and insightful observations. All
my material is properly sourced. In addition, I had my book vetted by a shadow
What does literary success look like to you?
For years I
struggled to get a poetry book published. It was a long slog. Now, I am just
happy I wrote it. I don’t need attention. Success would mean sales which would
obviously make my life better and more important, inciting activism and a
thirst for more knowledge about shadow banking from my readers.
Do you outline your books beforehand? Why or why not?
while writing this book I outlined the chapters and sections. I really couldn’t
imagine writing a book like this without an outline as it progresses from an
overview of shadow banking to its history and finally, its ramifications.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned while writing?
To believe in the book.
What are some publishing tips? I would like to share some but having been unable to find a publisher I am afraid I wouldn’t be qualified to answer this question.
How do you make non-fiction interesting and engaging while still
Humor is very important as well as a healthy
dose of cynicism. My friend Mary Fricker of Repowatch. org, a shadow banking
education website, said she loved the book’s “irreverent” tone. And as I
previously stated I cherrypicked the most compelling and in some cases shocking
information about how the system operates. My book is short but packs a
powerful punch. As a poet I used to have a mantra, “economy of words.” I
applied this to my book, working hard not to deviate from the main message.
What is your favorite part of writing?
My favorite part of
writing is being able to express my opinions, thoughts, and feelings. For years
I focused on poetry. Poetry was my therapy. Writing verse allowed me to
articulate my inner struggles. It played a very important role in my life.
Subsequently, I turned to essays and have even written two books about my
personal life. Writing, which was born of a love of books, has got me through
some very tough times.
I also enjoyed writing about shadow banking because I became
a detective sifting through the constructs of complicated financial instruments
and breaking them down so the reader could understand them and their attendant
What do you find enjoyable or difficult about non-fiction?
read non-fiction. As I mentioned earlier, I am engaged with the world and the
people in it. Biographies, economics, and books about politics have been my
mainstay for many years.
Was this topic suggested or was it something you were already interested in?
This is an easy question! From the get-go I was fascinated
by every aspect of shadow banking. “Candy to a baby” was my mantra as I
devoured papers, articles, speeches and even the big banks’ marketing
What other types of research did you need to do for this book?
My research was compiled over a span of 15 years. It was relegated to
reading and cataloguing myriad pieces about shadow banking.
Who will this book appeal to? What age range would you recommend it for?
This book will appeal to anyone who has issues with the
financial crisis and how it was mishandled. And their numbers are legion. As
for age range, I would say anyone in their twenties and beyond would find this
book informative and in some way lifechanging. Bear in mind the shadow banking
system consists of hundreds of trillions of dollars coursing through its conduits.
And until now, no one has laid bare its essence to the extent that I have. It informs
all our lives and not in a good way. Anyone interested in a more just,
inclusive monetary system would be interested in my book.
What is your next project?
I am thinking about writing a
play about the inventor of FM radio, Edwin H. Armstrong.
Talk a little bit about yourself. What is your background?
What is something
people would be surprised to learn about you?
I am 71 years old. I grew up outside of Boston
and spent summers on the NH coast. I was married for many years then divorced
in 2018. Writing this book has been so helpful during my recovery because, yes,
one does have to recover from divorce!!
In addition to writing about shadow banking, I have written
about narcissism. I am of the belief that the mainstream medical community
needs to be educated about narcissistic abuse. Evidence of this may be found in
the fact that Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome is not listed in the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR).
Do you have a favorite book – fiction or non-fiction? How about one of your own?
Scott A. Berg’s “Max Perkins: Editor of Genius” is my
favorite book. As for my books, like children I have no favorite!
About the Author
M.E. Tuthill was born and raised outside of Boston, Massachusetts. A graduate of Boston College with a BA in American History she went on to earn two master's degrees, an MA from the University of Maryland in American Studies and an MS from Syracuse University in Communications. A self-described “perpetual student,” she worked for ten years as a radio news anchor and reporter. Family obligations precluded her moving to advance her career. It was time for a change.
For the next 13 years she would work as a financial advisor also penning a financial planning column for the local paper. Eventually the rough and tumble of the securities business took its toll and she embarked on a third career as a full-time financial writer. Her employer was iMoneyNet, the go-to place for money-market mutual fund data. Over 11 years she wrote hundreds of stories for the firm’s flagship publication, “Money Fund Report.” She also wrote for other publications, all related to money market funds.
Hired in 2006, initially the work was uninspiring. What can you say about money-market mutual funds? Then came the financial crisis and everything changed. What had been a job writing about sleepy money-market funds turned into a journey deep into the recesses of shadow banking. For money-market funds played an integral role in the financial meltdown that dwarfed all others.
Tuthill was hooked. She wanted to learn everything about shadow banking and as the days, weeks, months, and years passed, amassed hundreds of articles, scholarly papers, marketing material from the banks and government reports. Laid off in 2017, Tuthill found herself with boxes and boxes of material. Her first task was to organize it by subject. Then, she continued to pursue her research. The result is “Repo-Madness: A Simpleton’s Guide to the Street’s Wicked Ways.”
In addition to her writing experience, Tuthill is also a poet. Authoring a book titled, “The Linen Man & Other Poems.”
Recently, Tuthill left her home state of Massachusetts, moving over the border, she now resides in South Windsor, Connecticut.