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115 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2011
In 1994 I read Harry Dent's "Great Boom Ahead" and it was extraordinarily prescient... he foresaw the demographics-based boom of the late 90s and early 2000s as well as our current economic depression. I went on to buy all his other books and they provide invaluable predictions on demographic-based economic conditions all over the world and over the next few decades.

Harry Dent also provides valuable insights into emerging technologies and business processes.

As long as you follow him on those areas, you will do fine.

But... if you follow his investment advice on equities, inflation and commodities you WILL lose a lot of money (his predictions on stock market valuations were awful as was the performance of his various financial funds).
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129 of 140 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon September 21, 2011
Inflation versus Deflation. It's one of the most hotly contested topics in economic and financial circles. As a college instructor and business writer, there are a few authors that I always make a point of reading...Dent is one of them in part because of his deflationary position. He is an unapologetic, hard-core deflationist...I'm not, but there is a great deal of value in keeping an open mind and considering all points of view.

However, Dent is also a superb researcher with a focus/concentration upon demographic research which is worth the time and effort to read in its own right. Unlike many authors that fail to provide sufficient references or resources for their claims (ie, opinions), Dent takes great pain to substantiate all conclusions with research, data, articles and graphics while remaining reader-friendly and engaging.

The first section of the book covers basic economic and fiscal theory, history and the expected "how we got here"...depending upon your school of thought, you may agree or disagree with some of the assumptions but the data is equally fresh and relevant. Dent does a stellar job with this section and really goes above and beyond the same old stale data to truly paint a picture of the madness gripping both this nation and the globe.

Next, the book covers what "to do" and what "not to do" with an emphasis on small business owners rather than merely individual investors. Both are included which is a nice change from solely a personal finance perspective.

Finally, there are pages upon pages of references for those interested in pursuing additional readers...as well as the "sales pitches". Now, as for the "sales pitches"...these are a modern irritation which I've never quite learned to live with. There are sporadic insertions inviting the reader to sign-up for a free webinar, newsletter or other throughout the book with several pages of pitches at the end of the book. Aside from that, the authors are fairly restrained and do not skimp on information nor require the reader to participate in sales to access "the meat" of the issue.

As for topics covered...the author(s) make some compelling points regarding deflation at least in the short-term then relate how various investments will perform in light of these assumptions. Real estate, bonds, the stock market at large, foreign investments, small business ownership, multiple streams of income etc are each reviewed. Special emphasis is placed upon retirement planning as well as various other demographic cohorts and associated spending patterns. An excellent overview of government retirement obligations and implications on retirees, future taxation, benefits etc is a "must read" for everyone!

All in all, a well researched book that is well worth the time and effort to read even if you do not agree fully with some of the basic assumptions (ie, rationality for example) or suggested course of action.
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92 of 102 people found the following review helpful
The Great Crash is Harry Dent's best book, and I strongly recommend it.

Economic doomsaying is nothing new. Howard Ruff and others sold a lot of books in the 1970s advising people to buy gold and silver to survive the "certain" financial disaster that never happened.

And many others now are predicting either hyperinflation or deflation will soon destroy the world's economy.

Dent is different because he doesn't just rail against excess government spending like an Old Testament prophet, but points out a dimension of society ignored by most economists: demographics.

In the late 1980s, while the perennial Chicken Littles were claiming the sky would fall because of the size of the government's budget then, Dent said the 1990s and 2000s would be an economic boom time. Why? Because the baby boomer generation would be entering its greatest earning and spending years.

He also pointed out (yes, 20 years ago) that this would end around 2010 or so, and there'd be a crash, a depression that would probably dwarf the 1930s lasting until around 2024.

We've lived through the boom, and now we're entering the crash, so that's what this book is about.

The theme of this book is that the huge amount of debt we've created at all levels from you and me to all developed country governments -- combined with the aging of the baby boomers and the consequent change in their spending and investing patterns -- is going to slow the world's economic growth for years to come.

In fact, it's going to create a situation that frightens the powers that be --justifiably -- far more than inflation:

Deflation.

Much of the book is taken up with examining the history of the crisis. The government and personal debt that so frightened people in the 1970s is, interestingly, a tiny blip compared to current levels of debt.

Thanks to the financial crisis as individuals we have less debt than in 2008, but still far too much -- especially mortgages on houses that aren't worth what we paid for them. Companies owe too much. State and local governments owe too much. The federal government owes too much. (Not even counting the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare). China and Japan owe too much. And, we've learned recently, many European countries owe too much.

There's no way we're going to pay off the trillions of dollars owed around the world.

Much of it will have to written off. That's the purpose of depressions -- to wring excess debt out of the system, so we can get on with building the next boom time.

But because it's painful, politicians are determined to avoid it. That's why the chairman of the US Federal Reserve System is working overtime to create new dollars, to keep the current system running.

Many current financial doomsayers look at how the government is running the printing presses overtime and are predicting runaway inflation.

Dent says you can't force 60 year old boomers to stop saving for retirement and buy new cars, houses and gadgets -- especially when they're afraid of losing their jobs.

Therefore, once the Fed's extraordinary efforts to keep the economy going fail (and that appears to have started), the crash is going to be deflationary.

That means continued high unemployment, lower prices in general, a collapse in the price of gold, and (wonder of wonders), higher interest rates leading to . . . (drumroll!) . . . a strong US dollar.

Given the current state of the euro (and the determination of Japan's central bank to keep the yen from going up in value), that doesn't sound quite as crazy now as it would have last year.

Dent gives advice on surviving (and profiting from) the crash that is so different than what you usually hear (and ironic given the S&P's recent revaluation of the US government's credit rating) that not everybody will agree with it.

This is a book many will argue with. However, you can't beat Dent on the facts. He backs up everything he says.

You can argue his interpretation, and his conclusion that we're in for a period of deflation -- while most are telling you to buy gold to hedge against hyperinflation.

The foundation of investment risk management is diversification. Placing your "bets" entirely on either hyperinflation or deflation risks the other happening (or, incredible as it seems, neither -- the world's economy has been muddling along for decades, so maybe it will somehow continue to do so), so I stand by my advise in Bring on the Crash! A 3-Step Practical Survival Guide: Prepare for Economic Collapse and Come Out Wealthier to invest in things that people need whether the economy and the markets are up or down.

(Hint: people need food and energy to survive, but NOT gold.)

The problem with predicting the future is that things happen you don't predict. I wouldn't use Dent's projections to "trade" the stock market. He has a poor short-term record. He predicted that before this crash came, the stock market would experience a boom that would dwarf the late 1990s. We know that never materialized.

But he has a great long-term, "big picture" record. Before you sell all your stocks and bonds to buy gold, you need to read his arguments for deflation.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2012
So Dent completely fails with his predictions of the "Great BOOM Ahead" where he called for the Dow to be in the 35,000 range by 2010...so now we're to think he has any clue what he's talking about when he suddenly reverses course with the Dow around 13,000 and predicts the great CRASH ahead? I can't believe anyone is still buying his books.

For the record, if we HAD experienced the great book he predicted and the Dow was around 35,000, it would take a crash of more than 60% just to get down to today's level. So here's a news flash for anyone who would read this book...the crash ALREADY happened. Where the markets go from here is anybody's guess and the author has already shown himself to have no clue.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2011
Dent's predictions may have seemed extreme when he published The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in History, but now that we're amid an ongoing debt problem in Europe and at home, coupled with lingering job troubles, and constant worries on other economic fronts, it seems that Dent was right all along. His perspective in this is more of the same--here he warns of a massive correction in the stock market over the course of 2012 and '13, and suggests that investors avoid it during that time and stay with more conservative investments.

Of course, the critic will claim, Dent has made predictions in the past that have not come to pass (didn't he predict a crash in 2010?). But, one might argue that the various mechanisms and boondoggles that the Fed has instituted over those few years have effectively kicked that can down the road. They haven't alleviated the strains of the economy, though, and instead have made the inevitable correction that much worse.

The underlying argument is strong and can be summed up with some of the rhetoric that Dent uses describing the "madness of the Fed." And who can argue that his is the sensible approach? The only question some investors will ask is whether they can profit from the madness a little more while others start to take more caution.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
"For the price of wisdom is above rubies." -- Job 28:18 (NKJV)

Harry S. Dent, Jr. and Rodney Johnson combine analyses of demography, prices, debt levels, deleveraging, asset bubbles, and government policies to present a strong argument in favor of major continuing deflation combined with economic weakness and higher unemployment beginning in the next three years and hanging around for some time. While governments are trying to engineer inflation without much success, it's a sobering thesis . . . and well worth studying as a way to be sure that your personal plans and financial practices will allow you to prosper should this well-documented scenario play out.

Naturally, no one can really forecast what's going to happen with prices, economic growth, and unsustainable levels of debt at a given point of time. There are just too many moving parts and too many things that can happen to intervene (such as the sovereign debt and banking solvency crisis in Europe).

Understanding risk is an essential element of gaining financial rewards. The authors provide solid, well-documented arguments for their conclusions that are well worth your time and attention.

If the book has a weakness, it's in perhaps being a little too convinced in the one scenario. If you are looking for financial advice, you may be disappointed that more attention is placed on the scenario than on identifying how specific advice might work out if the authors are wrong in any of their conclusions.

If you have been reading Mr. Dent's books, you'll probably only find the updates on debt and government policies to be relatively new.

That said; it's good to see an update of Mr. Dent's way of thinking. I enjoyed the book.

If this scenario does play out, spend more time thinking about how to go short than this book explicitly discusses. It could be one of the great short selling opportunity periods of all time.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2013
I saw this book on the shelf of my local library and thought to myself 'old Harry is up to his usual tricks' so picked it up for a quick read. Nothing has changed.

A few years back, before I knew better, I bought his Great Depression Ahead book and was beguiled by the extensive use of charts and 'science'. I blindly followed the advice it contained and missed out on a huge share market rally. I subsequently did more research and found that he is viewed in the finance industry as a snake-oil salesman who is more often wrong than right. A derivatives trader in my office laughed at me when I told him I was reading a book by Harry Dent.

Remember - a clock is right twice a day. His predictions are all sleight of hand tricks that are often either 50/50 coin tosses or calling the opposite of whatever is happening now (ie - when everything is at historical lows, calling a future boom and vice versa)

For all those wanting empirical information on how good he is at 'predicting', do research on the various funds he has managed which have spectacularly under-performed or been shut down.

Whatever you do, conduct comprehensive research on his predictions before following any of the advice in this book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2011
Regardless of what age you are, what profession you pursue, regardless of whether you are hefty investor or straddled with with more debt than you care to think about, this book conveys information that will provide insight into what is happening now and the decades to come. He lays bare the drivers of this economy and describes the specific issues we will be dealing with both financially and politically for the next generation.

Backed by the track record of calling expansions and pull backs in the economy for the last 25+ years, he has been more accurate than almost anyone I know. The book pulls no punches and the 1st chapter outlines much of the information that will be explained in the rest of the book, so you will know what you are getting before you buy.

Dent's demographically driven economic model lays to rest the idea that I learned in college that the government has the tools to manage the economy for controlled growth using monetary & fiscal policy. This book explains that there are forces beyond the scale that these tools can manage. Like a captain trying to keep a ship on course through a typhoon, these forces of nature are more than a match for the controls we have at our disposal. It is time to batten down the hatches for a wintery storm.

It is not required that you have a degree in economics to understand Mr. Dent. As you can see, his writing style is very understandable, although there are some technical items too heady for most readers. His advise for home owners, business owners and investors is straight forward and clear. His advise for government is very sound, IMHO.

I do not fully agree with all his predictions. He is expecting deflation in the years to come as the US economy contracts. I think that the government will not have the discipline to avoid inflation. That said, because of what I read in his book I now believe that we can avoid hyper-inflation.

By the way, what he reveals about the coming problems for China was something I had no idea was coming and everyone needs to know.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2011
It's now common knowledge the great debt/housing bubble engineered by the irresponsible financial institutions self-destructed our financial system and took the economy down with it. But there was little consensus on how this will play out.

By applying his insight from studying the demographics cycles and their correlation to the economy, Harry Dent was able to plot out the scenario(s) that I find thoroughly plausible --they are simple,logical conclusions drawn from the facts and charts he provided. The book confirmed my nagging feeling toward the Fed's QE's and finally resolved my ambivalence toward inflation.

Many have talked about the built-in inflationary pressures from all the QE's. And it sounds logical that when the money supply was dramatically increased that inflation will be signicant; and it sounds plausible that the Fed wants to inflate so the encomy can grow and so our debt will be of less value down the road (paid with less valuable dollars). But somehow I just don't see it happening and I didn't really understand why. With Harry Dent's demographics approach, things became crystal clear. The baby boomers are hunkering down, trying to save for retirement, and cannot be enticed to spend no matter how low the rates are!

His chapter on emerging market (and the great bubble in China) is also worth note. During the one trip I took to China in 2006, I saw how over built the country already was; and now after 5 years of more building, I don't know how they could possibly process the excess. It's worrisome.

This book is well worth the $15 I paid. Rarely do I find a book of such great content in this field.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2011
Harry Dent has created an economic theory based on population trends. From this he has made many acurate forecasts both long term and short term. Mr. Dent admits that no one is 100% correct with every call, but he has done a remarkable job based on his theory for 20 years.

In March, 2000 he correctly called the top in technology stocks. In October, 2002 he correctly called the bear market bottom. Now he warns that we may face another bear market. While we pray it might not be as dire as he says is possible, I have carefully read what he says in this latest timely book.
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