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Boombustology: Spotting Financial Bubbles Before They Burst Hardcover – March 8, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0470879467 ISBN-10: 0470879467 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews


' New MPs should certainly havethis book on their reading list'. (Financial World, April2011). a valiant attempt to add newperspective . (, April2011).

From the Inside Flap

THE WORLD IS in the midst of an accelerating sequence of booms and busts, and despite these developments, no organized multidisciplinary framework exists for thinking about them.

With the increased complexity and volatility surrounding financial bubbles, we need a more effective way to spot, and understand, these events. Based on his popular seminar at Yale University, Boombustology presents Vikram Mansharamani's multi-lens framework fore valuating the extremely elaborate social phenomenon of financial market booms and busts.

Unlike other finance books—which discuss making day-to-day investment decisions or the optimal strategy for a particular market—Boombustology will help you identify the "needle-moving" extremes that have the potential to render many traditional investment approaches useless.

  • Divided into three comprehensive parts, this reliable resource: Develops five lenses—based upon the findings of various disciplines, from economics and psychology to politics and biology—that can be combined to evaluate financial extremes
  • Examines the power of the multi-lens framework by applying it to five historical cases—Tulipomania, the Great Depression, the Japanese "Bubble Economy," the Asian Financial Crisis, and the U.S. Housing Boom and Bust—and demonstrates how the multidisciplinary approach might have helped to better understand these events as they took place
  • Illustrates the framework in action by evaluating China as being in the midst of a potentially unsustainable boom

The framework found within these pages offers a robust understanding of the dynamics that precede, fuel, and ultimately reverse financial market extremes. Regardless of your economic or financial background, Boombustology will put you in a better position to spot financial bubbles before they burst.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470879467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470879467
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Vikram Mansharamani is an experienced global equity investor and Lecturer at Yale University. Dr. Mansharamani teaches the seminar "Financial Booms & Busts" to Yale College undergraduates, an extremely popular course as indicated by student reviews and enrollment. He is also the author of BOOMBUSTOLOGY: Spotting Financial Bubbles Before They Burst and is a regular commentator in the financial and business media, having contributed to Bloomberg, MarketWatch, CNBC, Forbes, Fortune, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Yale Global, The South China Morning Post, The Korea Times, The Khaleej Times, Harvard Business Review, and The Daily Beast, among others.

Dr. Mansharamani has been an active participant in the financial markets for the last 20 years. His experience includes positions in management consulting, investment banking, and asset management. Analysis has been the focus of his professional endeavors and his current research interests include bubbles in both financial and non-financial markets, the unsustainable dynamics of food and fuel, and the relative value of experts and generalists in understanding complex problems.

Dr. Mansharamani currently serves as chairman of the Torit Language Center Montessori school and is a member of the Board of Governors of the Association of Yale Alumni. He is also a Scholar-in-Residence at Tiger 21 and regularly advises the the organization's members on matters of asset allocation and investment strategy. He is a former director of the US-Pakistan Business Council, Interelate Inc, and ManagedOps Inc. He earned a PhD and MS from the Sloan School of Management at MIT, an MS in Political Science from MIT, and a BA from Yale University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated with distinction.

Dr. Mansharamani is an aspiring triathlete, a Las Vegas regular, and a formerly competitive squash player. He currently lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Scatterbrain on May 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone who has studied bubbles has probably already read all of this stuff. The author relies heavily on the work of George Soros, Robert Shiller, Hyman Minsky, Charles Kindleberger, Edward Chancellor, Christopher Wood, Donald Rapp and a number of others. Very little original thought is present in the book but lifts ideas and even whole passages from other books, usually with the callout "eloquently summarized by x".

Part I of the book describes the five "lenses" and is, frankly, a very basic review of economics with some basic psychology (herd behavior) and biology thrown in.

Part II provides a brief history of 5 different bubbles and applies the filters to them. Much of this section is lifted directly from other books. Some of the analysis is interesting, but quickly becomes repetitive and often it feels like the author is filling in a section merely because it is in the outline.

Part III is divided into two parts. The first part is essentially an outline for the review of the previously discussed bubbles. I was scratching my head wondering why on earth the same material would be covered again. It has the suspicious smell of padding as often inserted by college students. If you have made it this far, you have read through countless repetitions hoping for some original thought. And the payoff is a chapter dedicated to the theory that China is currently in a bubble. The author makes his case and applies his five lenses to the evidence to reach the conclusion that, yes, China currently is in an unsustainable boom. I agree that China is in a bubble but the author offers no solace. He admits he cannot predict when it will happen or what the magnitude will be (and offers no clues as to timing).
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Former Student on March 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As both a former student in Professor Mansharamani's seminar at Yale as well as a current analyst in the financial services industry, I can emphatically say that his new book, Boombustology, has given me one of the most useful, all-encompassing frameworks one can use to analyze today's complex and ever-evolving financial markets.

Boombustology is a written version of Mansharamani's class, Financial Booms and Busts. The seminar was, hands-down, the best and most thought-provoking class I took during my tenure at Yale. The seminar equipped its students with a toolbox with which we could delve deeper into the markets using a combination of economics, psychology, the sciences, and more. The class not only taught me respect for the financial markets, but it better prepared me to identify, using multidisciplinary lenses, recurring patterns in the boom and bust cycles that define markets today. The book makes these lesson accessible to all.

Boombustology draws from the wisdom of George Soros, Hyman Minsky, the Austrian school of economics, and other prominent historic influences. By standing upon the shoulders of these giants, Mansharamani crafts his masterful lens, which contains the unison of microeconomics, macroeconomics, human psychology, political science, and biological analysis to create a toolbox which is much more than the sum of its tools. He shows us the power of his toolbox through a series of case studies, in which he overlays his multidisciplinary analysis on the greatest boom and bust cycles of all time, including the Dutch Tulip Mania, the Great Depression, and the recent global credit crisis. Finally, the book arrives at a well-argued but shocking conclusion by applying Boombustology to depict potentially the greatest bubble of all time: China.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Awolfe on March 3, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Most of the frames proposed in this book won't be new to anybody who has taken econ classes beyond 101, but the book does a good job of pulling them together into a simple model. Likewise, the China chapter is a re-hash of bear fund reports and arguments, but having them all pulled together in simple language is quite useful. Read the whole thing in a day, but expect to be thinking about it for quite some time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Erez Davidi on September 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this book, Mansharamani explores his "five-lens" methodology to spot financial bubbles before they burst. But why "five lens"? Because Mansharamani analyses the economic conditions through five different lenses in order to spot bubbles. In a rather brief and simplistic manner these are the five lenses:

1. Microeconomics Lens- in the first lens he mainly employs the George Soros's Theory of Reflexivity, which is, simply said, the theory that market participants can influence reality. In other words, a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, suppose some people think that the U.S. government's debt is out of control and they fear the U.S. government might default. These people might start selling their bonds and, therefore, causing interest rates to rise, making it harder for the U.S. to service its debt and possibly causing the U.S. government to default.
2. Macroeconomics Lens- in this lens, the author employs three different theories in order to identify bubbles. (1) Irving Fisher's (the man who famously said that "stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau" a few weeks before the famous stock market crash of 1929) debt-deflation theory. (2) Hyman Minsky's Financial Instability Hypothesis. (3) The Austrian Business Cycle Theory.
3. Psychology Lens- here the author mainly uses the work of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, founders of Behavioral Economics, who won the Nobel price for their ground-breaking work in this field.
4. Politics Lens- the author analyses different policies that might affect asset prices, such as tax deductions, mortgage subsidies and so on.
5. Biology Lens- by biology the author is referring to contrarian investing. In other words, if the trade is crowded or not.
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