This book is very much a product of the open source movement that is the internet. It could never have happened without all the knowledge, ideas, opinions, discussion and research that are so generously shared and so instantly available. I have drawn on it all with abandon – from highbrow academic work and detailed research reports right through to anonymous comments made on chatboards and at the end of newspaper articles. I’ve tried wherever possible to credit all sources, but there are so many, there are bound to be occasions when I have failed to do this. If so, I apologize now. But the first people I would like to thank are those of you that share your thoughts, experience, knowledge and opinion online. I am so very grateful.

Next, I would like to thank that other group of generous souls without whom this book would never have happened – those of you that pledged your support. My patrons – thank you for showing faith in me, and thank you for your patience in what has been too long a time getting this book to you. In particular, I’d like to mention Brian Cartmell and Robert Pocock of FYI Economics for their generosity, as well as Andrew French, Keith Neumeyer and Bill Reid.

Subjects in this book range from our monetary systems to the way we give birth. I cannot possibly be an expert on all these subjects and I am not. I would like to thank all those experts who have helped me: Theodore Dalrymple (aka Dr Anthony Daniels), Ben Dyson of Positive Money, Toby Baxendale and Tim Evans of the Cobden Centre, Eliot Watkins, Jeff Tucker of Laissez Faire Books, Addison Wiggin of Agora, Henry Law of the Land Value Tax Campaign and Stephan Kinsella.

I’d like to thank the people at Unbound – and if it wasn’t for Tom Hodgkinson of The Idler I never would have met them: Dan Kieran for his relentless positivity and enthusiasm – and for the title of this book; John Mitchinson for his calmness and wisdom; editor Isobel Frankish for her eye for detail, patience, never-ending encouragement and good humour; Cathy Hurren for being so bossy and for refusing to take any crap; Kris McManus for the video; Justin Pollard, Caitlin Harvey, Emily Bryce-Perkins, Jane Beaton and Xander Cansell. A special thank you has to be reserved for Emily Brand for her exacting insistence on precision while working under great pressure. For the audiobook I’d like to thank Garrick Hagon and Adrian Sear of Soundtracks.

I would also like to thank the good people at MoneyWeek. Merryn Somerset Webb, the best financial writer of them all, for asking me to write for them. Merryn – you got me writing again. Editor, John Stepek, for his boundless patience and flexibility. And especially MD Toby Bray, for his never-ending support at every stage of this book, and for his superlatively useful comments, even when we were in the middle of a full-blown row. Toby – thank you!

Thank you to the beautiful Tamsin Rickeard, for her constant encouragement and support throughout the whole of this book from pitch to publication.

Finally, thank you to my parents. My mum, Christine Doppelt, in whose eyes I can do no wrong, for her endless faith and praise. And a man whose support, time, effort and help has been without equal, not just with regard to this book, but to the whole of my life. He is the greatest playwright living in the world today – my dad, Terence Frisby.