Gillian Tett

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Gillian Tett
Gillian Tett.jpg
Personal details
Born 1967[1]
Citizenship British
Children Two daughters
Alma mater North London Collegiate School
(Girls' independent day school)
Clare College, Cambridge
Occupation Assistant Editor, Financial Times

Gillian Tett (born 1967) is a British author and award-winning journalist at the Financial Times, where she is a markets and finance columnist and an assistant editor.[2] She has written about the financial instruments that were part of the cause of the financial crisis that started in the fourth quarter of 2007, such as CDOs, credit default swaps, SIVs, conduits, and SPVs. She became renowned for her early warning that a financial crisis was looming.[3][4][5][6]


Tett was educated at the North London Collegiate School, an independent school for girls in Edgware, in the London Borough of Harrow in North West London,[7] during which time, at the age of 17, she worked for a Pakistani non-profit.[6] After leaving school, she went up to Clare College at the University of Cambridge, where she took a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology[8] based on field research in Tajikistan in the former Soviet Union.[2] She expressed frustration with an academic anthropology that in her view has been committing "intellectual suicide"[6] and decided instead to pursue a career in journalism.[9]

Life and career[edit]

In 1993, Tett joined the Financial Times as a correspondent from the former Soviet Union and Europe. In 1997, she was posted to Tokyo where she later became bureau chief.[2] In 2003, she became deputy head of the influential[10][11][12][13] Lex column. Tett was then US managing editor at the FT, before taking up her current post.[2] She is also the chairwoman of the board of trustees for the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism with Columbia University.

During the years 2005-2007, Tett applied her skills in ethnographic research to J.P. Morgan and discovered that the insular culture was leading to the creation of financial instruments that had little basis and that could cause severe economic disruption. In 2006, she predicted the financial crisis.[14][6] Her 2009 book Fool's Gold tells in detail the story surrounding the events that led up to the economic crisis and the eventual collapse. She also played a significant role in the 2010 documentary Inside Job about the financial crisis of 2008.[6]

Fool's Gold[edit]

Tett's 2009 book Fool's Gold: How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream, Shattered Global Markets and Unleashed a Catastrophe was widely reviewed throughout the English-speaking world[15][16][17][18] and won the Spear's Book Award for the financial book of 2009.

In the newsletter for the Society of Applied Anthropology, Brian McKenna noted that that Tett didn't mention other anthropological books by what he called "finance anthropologists", such as the 2006 Caitlan Zaloom’s book Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London which also used participant observation to explore the culture of financial capitalism. Another is anthropologist Jack Weathford’s 1998 book The History of Money or books that were "predicting" the 2008 Financial Crisis, including Michael Perelman 2007 book The Confiscation of American Prosperity, From Right Wing Extremism and Economic Ideology to the Next Great Depression, the 2010 edition of Richard Robbins's Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism, one of the most popular texts in anthropology for explaining the inevitable crises of capital. David Harvey, one of the world’s most well-known surveyors of capitalism and a Professor of Anthropology at CUNY was not mentioned either.[6]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2011, Tett was awarded a President's Medal by the British Academy. She was previously recognized as Journalist of the Year (2009) and Business Journalist of the Year (2008) by the British Press Awards, as well as Senior Financial Journalist of the Year (2007) by the Wincott Awards.

In 2010 The Daily Beast asked "Is Gillian Tett The Most Powerful Woman in Newspapers?"[19]

On 30 May 2013 Tett was awarded an honorary doctorate and gave the commencement address at the graduation ceremonies of Baruch College of the City University of New York.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Tett has two daughters.[21]

List of awards[edit]

  • 2007 Wincott prize for financial journalism (capital markets coverage)[22]
  • 2008 Business Journalist of the Year (British Press Awards)[23]
  • 2009 Journalist of the Year (British Press Awards)[24]
  • 2009 Financial Book of the Year (for her book Fool's Gold)[25][26]
  • 2011 British Academy President's Medal
  • 2012 Business Communicator of the Year (UK Speechwriters' Guild)


  • Fool's Gold: How Unrestrained Greed Corrupted a Dream, Shattered Global Markets and Unleashed a Catastrophe ISBN 978-1-4087-0164-5 (in some markets called Fool's Gold: How the Bold Dreams of a Small Tribe at J.P Morgan Was Corrupted by Wall Street Greed and Unleashed a Catastrophe ISBN 978-1-4165-9857-2)
  • Saving the Sun: How Wall Street Mavericks Shook Up Japan's Financial World and Made Billions (ISBN 978-0060554255).


  1. ^ Tett, Gillian - WorldCat Identities
  2. ^ a b c d "Gillian Tett profile". Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  3. ^ Barber, Lionel (16 July 2009). "Why journalism matters: Lionel Barber's speech in full". Press Gazette. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  4. ^ Robinson, James (12 October 2008). "Why didn't the City journalists see the financial crisis coming?". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  5. ^ MacKenzie, Donald (25 June 2009). "All Those Arrows". London Review of Books. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f McKenna, Brian (2011):Bestselling Anthropologist "Predicted" Financial Meltdown of 2008, Society for Applied Anthropology Newsletter
  7. ^ Accomplished ONLS - Distinguished ONLS List Publisher: North London Collegiate. Retrieved: 23 February 2014.
  8. ^ Medland, Dina (Easter 2009). "Take Three". University of Cambridge. Retrieved 31 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "Saving the Sun: Shinsei and the Battle for Japan’s Future". Book launch event - author biography. The Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation. February 2004. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  10. ^ "Barclays Chief Executive to Spearhead Task Force on Tax and Benefits". HM Treasury. 19 May 1997. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  11. ^ Farey-Jones, Daniel (26 September 2005). "Financial Times doubles coverage of Lex column". Brand Republic. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  12. ^ Morgan, Jean (30 September 2007). "FT’s Lex expands". Press Gazette. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  13. ^ Ali, Rafat (6 June 2008). "WSJ To Sever Ties With Breakingviews; Selling Its Minority Stake?". Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  14. ^ Barton, Laura (31 October 2008). "On the money". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  15. ^ Allentuck, Andrew (3 July 2009). "Imaginary money". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  16. ^ Barrett, Paul M. (12 June 2009). "Rewriting the Rules". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  17. ^ Murali, D. (19 July 2009). "Money, a vital fluid that must flow freely". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  18. ^ Sunderland, Ruth (7 June 2009). "They had parties, we got the hangover". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Press & Broadcasting Awards List of Winners: Senior Financial Journalist". The Wincott Foundation. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  23. ^ "British Press Awards 2008: The full list of winners". Press Gazette. 8 April 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  24. ^ "British Press Awards 2009: The full list of winners". Press Gazette. 1 April 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  25. ^ Foley, Stephen (1 May 2009). "Fool's Gold, By Gillian Tett". The Independent. Retrieved 24 July 2009. 
  26. ^ "Spear's Book Awards: Winners". Spear's Wealth Management Survey. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 

External links[edit]