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 prognosticatorsin March 2001, for example, 95 percent of American economists thought there would not be a recession, although one had already begunsome crowing about ECRIs 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." Whats 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.
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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.”