POV: Erik arriving at your dinner party.

The head of legal at a Middle Eastern bank has published a book of fairy tales with an excruciating twist: they all relate to the financial markets.

Erik Vrij, who heads up Corporate & Transactional Banking at First Abu Dhabi Bank, has blessed readers with a fresh take on old classics in his self-published opus One Billion and One Dirham - Financial Fairy Tales.

His 25 adaptations include Black Monday and the Seven Crises, Sin-Bad the Bond Salesman, and Little Red Account Balance and the Big Bad Wolf of Wall Street.

Vrij was inspired by his "1001 Arabian Nights’ view" over "fairy tale palaces like Emirates Palace and the UAE Presidential Palace”, which moved him to write "something else than credit agreements”, he said.

ROF took a peek between the covers so now you have to, too:


Delight your children with a bedtime reading of Al Alim Bank and the Magic App.

In Vrij's retelling, Sin-Bad embarks on seven treacherous journeys “including the Sea of Ponzi and Short Seller’s Island”, while King Cash and the Magic Flying Bank Note tells the “thrilling” story of “challenges and magic in the payments space”. 

“Not to forget about Mario and Christine, who are going to eat the European Central Bank, just like Hansel and Gretel could eat their home.”


Insane titling, top marks.

Sadly, “poetry was an inevitable next step”, said the lawyer. In late 2021 he "felt an urge to replicate the concept of the fairy tales in another genre – one I have never been a fan of: poetry".

"The first famous poet’s name that came to mind – William Shakespeare – turned out to have some great tragedies, characters and quotes."

Based on “the titles” of Shakespeare’s plays and "over 60 quotes”, Vrij penned a book which “revived the tragic Shakespearean characters into actual villains of the world’s major financial tragedies”.

He engaged "a very experienced Shakespearean actor" and "a top financial law enforcement officer" as editors, and the result was Macbet & King Liar - Financial Tragedy and Poetry

In Vrij's reimagining, Macbeth is “Macbet, King of Short Sellers”, based on former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre, while King Lear became “King Liar”, based on Bernie Madoff, and Hamlet is transformed into “Hamfred ‘the Shred’”, based on "Fred Goodwin shredding financial results”. 

Vrij improves on the original plays by having his cast of tragic villains teaming up halfway through the book “to structure and execute the ultimate financial tragedy from which they will benefit”. Shakespeare would have done the same if only he’d thought of it.

The books look "great in the book case with their linen hard cover and embossed gold and silver foil print that would be rude of anyone not to give, entertaining people in finance, with a touch of morale [sic]", explained Vrij. ROF agrees that either volume would make a great gift for the shark or shortseller in your life. Both if they've been really bad.


Ever wondered what would happen if the Natwest Banking App gained sentience and mixed Stella and shrooms?


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Anonymous 21 April 23 08:52

I think these look absolutely fantastic. Judging from those quotations, these looks like a great blend of wit and bonkers. Good for him for not taking himself too seriously, having a sense of humour and just writing the books he wanted to write!

Anonymous 21 April 23 10:37

Genuinely hilarious. Good for him.

Also, a happy ending to his own story, which is clearly one of an intelligent and creative man who has been driven by his tedious and repetitive job to a point of boredom so acute that a niche dad-joke about financial services has ended up metastasising into an entire work of literature. 

Far healthier for him, and everyone else in his life, than working through a mid-life crisis with a blend of hookers, cocaine and impractical two-seater European automobiles.

Everyone else take note and bear this mind when you're looking soullessly out of your office window at 10:00 tonight.

Erik Vrij 21 April 23 12:30

More info on 

Don't hesitate to reach out through LinkedIn if you would be interested in any personalised version for anyone or team that would enjoy this.

Anonymous 21 April 23 12:49

Ordered a copy of Macbet and King Liar, looking forward to reading his take on some of these classics!

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