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Beating the Business Cycle: How to Predict and Profit From Turning Points in the Economy Kindle Edition

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Length: 208 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Reading this thin volume on business cycles feels like riding the economic roller coaster itself. Beginning with some engaging chapters on the how and why of business cycles, it plummets into a dull trough about identifying and analyzing economic indicators and levels off with advice about using cyclical information to plan financial moves. Directors of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), a New York-based think tank specializing in cyclical research, the authors stress their affiliation with this "secret weapon" of corporate America throughout the text. But given the track record of most economic prognosticators—in March 2001, for example, 95 percent of American economists thought there would not be a recession, although one had already begun—some crowing about ECRI’s success in predicting recessions and recoveries may be justified. Numbers could easily overwhelm the message here, but Achuthan and Banerji avoid a statistical tar pit. They use numbers judiciously and effectively and write in a style accessible to professionals and amateurs alike. They also exhibit a surprising sensitivity to the real consequences of business cycles. "Wile E. Coyote," they write, "after scraping himself off the canyon floor, again gives chase, heedless of the dangers ahead, oblivious to any lessons he might learn. Because he is only a cartoon character, no matter how many times he gets splattered, he never really gets hurt. But life is not a cartoon. And if you are the one to take a nose dive when the economy makes an unexpected turn, the pain is real. It may not be so easy to peel yourself off the canyon floor." What’s ultimately disappointing about the book, though, is that its promise to provide readers with an economic dashboard to navigate the financial peaks and valleys of business cycles appears to be a pumped-up advertisement for ECRI.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Advance Praise for BEATING THE BUSINESS CYCLE

“Would it help you decide when to leave a job, buy a house or step up your investing, if you had a good feel for when business was about to turn up (or down)? It sure will help me. This easy-to-read book tells you how the respected ECRI calls turning points, and how you can, too.”
—Jane Bryant Quinn, Newsweek columnist

“While 95% of economists failed to predict the start and end of the last recession, Lakshman Achuthan and Anirvan Banerji got both right.  Beating the Business Cycle shows just how far the state of the art in cycle forecasting has advanced, and how investors can profit from it.”
—Jon Markman, award-winning CNBC/MSN financial columnist

“Read this jewel of a book and enter your own personal cyclical upswing.”
—James Grant, editor, Grant's Interest Rate Observer

Acclaim for the Economic Cycle Research Institute

“The dismal scientists have a dismal record in predicting recessions… The Economic Cycle Research Institute, a private research group, has been more successful. … ECRI was one of the few firms to forecast both of the past two American recessions.”
—The Economist

Product Details

  • File Size: 2179 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business (May 18, 2004)
  • Publication Date: May 18, 2004
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1MZK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,380 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By J. Reeves on June 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
No doubt this book could have been an oversized pamphlet or brochure. I have tracked ECRI for a bunch of years and they have made some great calls. Ultimately this book is different from most economic tomes, not nearly as dry as most, shorter in length, but also lacking much meat. It reads as an advertisement for subscribing to their services, just enticing you enough, but not giving away any secrets. That may be for the best, as only statisticians, economists and PH.d's would really be interested in the minutiae. I hope they keep up their great calls though I was sensing some overconfidence in their abilities, and having worked in the investment business for many years, it seems humility is the best posture, no matter who you are.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Maya Kelstein on May 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book gives guidelines on when to buy a car, home, invest in stocks, etc... Its a good handbook for such major decisions at home. It gives a long-term view, and not the quick and dirty ways to make money. And the best part is that they focus in various sectors so you can have an overall idea of the economy's performance or even real estate if that's all you are interested in!
I recommend it highly! Puts such major personal decisions in perspective.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Kirk Lindstrom on May 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Lakshman Achuthan and Anirvan Banerji have been answering questions about the business cycles and the Economic Cycle Research Institute's (ECRI) leading indicators for many years at their discussion forum I moderate at Suite101.com. [[...]
I can vouch that they called for the 2001 recession before it occurred on CNBC as well as on our very forum. They also correctly called for a slow turn in the economy which is what we have seen. Their most recent accurate prediction was for muted and delayed job growth. Many skeptics called Lakshman and Anirvan of the ECRI crazy for predicting jobs returning. Their skeptics said ECRI was wrong, that nobody can accurately predict the economy and we would fall back into a recession. Sure enough, we have now had several months of good job growth and the economy has continued to improve, at a moderate pace, just as predicted by the gentlemen from ECRI. Just today in answer to a question about a potential real estate bubble they posted:
"The Leading Home Price Index (LHPI) is part of the "economic dashboard" that we present in "Beating the Business Cycle." The latest readings show the LHPI holding up quite well. The implication is that the home prices are not about to collapse. In fact, they're more likely to continue to edge up."
Any book that gives you insight into their "black magic" is a must read for investors as well as anyone who makes decisions based on the future direction of the economy including those contemplating a home purchase!
Kirk Lindstrom
Editor "Investing - Personal Finance" at Suite101.com
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Reaping Retirement on February 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After getting sick and tired of all the hot air that economists spew, this book gave me some hope for the dismal science. Yes the authors discuss how their calls were correct, but I see this as a necessary part of the story being told, i.e., that through the prism of good leading indexes for growth, inflation and jobs, the wild a crazy path that the economy has taken over the past few years is understandable, and more importantly, not a surprise. I'm torn as I write this review as I might be better off as an investor if others did not read this book! Still, their advice on how to use the Weekly Leading Index to make better decisions is an important gift to society.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A. Compton on May 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What an excellent book. It is clear and consise and extremely well written for such tough and complex topics. The authors have done a fantastic job in making the area of cyclical forecasting fasinating. If you are an investor or someone trying to understand what is happening in an economy that seems to be inconsistent with its previous behavior, this book is worth reading.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Polymath on January 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Look. They got tired of trying to explain to their customers exactly what their products are and how they work, so they wrote a book to educate and sell them. It's basically a hardback brochure. I'm sure they give it to all their hot prospects. But we the little people get to PAY for it.

There is some useful info on leading indicators but nothing you couldn't find elsewhere free. And once they teach you which of their magic proprietary indicators to keep an eye on, guess what? You're supposed to sign up for a subscription to get them, not even the simplest of the data is available free althought the book implies they are.

Booksellers need to stop carrying this kind of 'gotcha' book.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By S. Black on May 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
well...i pre ordered this book and was happy to get it. i have to say first off that i've listened to mr. achuthan and mr. banerji on bloomberg radio several times, that's why i bought this. they have a very good way of explaining things which for me means in a non buisness speak. i work in real estate so im interested in the economy but not economics, if you know what i mean. that said, this book (which i have not yet read through) does several things well in the two chapters i have read.
chapter one: it give an historical overview to the theroy that the two authors espouse. i like that since i don't have the business background.
chapter eight: i really like the idea of the "economic dashboard" (this is what was discussed on the radio and in this chapter). in a nutshell it provides a way for me to understand the economic indicators and apply them to my business and also assist my clients by being able to determine pricing AND stay ahead of the curve.
i'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book, and reccomend it to anyone interested in better understanding how to assess what you see and hear in all the business reports out there.
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