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Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the Global Economy IMPLODED -- and How to Fix It Paperback – November 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews Review

Robert Baer Reviews Hoodwinked

Robert Baer is the author of two New York Times bestsellers: Sleeping with the Devil, about the Saudi royal family and its relationship with the United States; and See No Evil, which recounts Baer’s years as a top CIA operative. See No Evil was the basis for the acclaimed film Syriana, which earned George Clooney an Oscar for his portrayal of Baer. Baer has contributed to Vanity Fair, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. He is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Middle East. Read his guest review of Hoodwinked:

I wasn’t twenty pages into Hoodwinked when I realized Perkins nailed it. What got us into the mess we’re in today, the worst recession since the Great Depression, is the same grotesque capitalism cum corruption we shoved down the throat of the Third World since the end of World War II. (Yes, the Third World’s elites were cheerfully corrupted.)

We, and the rest of the West, learned the trick of selling unneeded infrastructure, services, over-sophisticated weapons--stuff that could never benefit anyone other than the people who lined their pockets. And yes, Perkins is right, the international economists and press were handmaidens to the thievery.

It was all fairly routine until 9/11, when the real gorging started. Tell the people their roof is on fire and they’ll give you whatever you ask for. Between 2001 and 2009 the Department of Defense budget increased 74 percent, and that is not to mention the hundreds of billions of dollars in related contracts. Nigeria on the Potomac.

Perkins is quick to state he doesn’t believe in a grand conspiracy theory. Few of the people who call the shots have ever met each other. They don’t have a playbook other than a couple of fraudulent economists like Milton Friedman and the others who worship at the altar of deregulation. No, what they have in common is an obsession with the winner takes all.

Perkins's message isn’t going to be popular. We’re a country invested in a system in which five percent of the world’s population consumes 25 percent of the world’s resources. It's a system we’re trying to sell to the world, only we don’t mention that we’ll need five planets to sustain it.

Perkins isn’t the pessimist I am. He says we can save the world if we green it--and, of course, start telling the truth to each other. Otherwise we end up a banana republic like the ones we know so well how to despoil. --Robert Baer

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


 "John Perkins has been in and out of the world of high finance and low ethics, and in Hoodwinked he not only illuminates that world with dramatic stories and keen insights, but suggests what we might do to create a better society."

—Howard Zinn, bestselling author of A People's History of the United States


"Another thriller from the master storyteller with an insider view. Perkins takes us once again into the dark netherworld of corrupt bankers and economic hit men who lure the unsuspecting into financial ruin and reveals the connection between the folks who for decades enriched themselves at the expense of the world's poor and those who now reap billions at the expense of America. Same people, same scams."

—David Korten, author of Agenda for a New Economy and The Great Turning, and board chair of YES! magazine

"John Perkins' engaging narrative draws us into a brilliant analysis of capitalism's shadow side, and points us to a hopeful path to a better future. Hoodwinked is a must-read for anyone who cares about our economic welfare, social justice, and our collective well-being."

—DANIEL GOLEMAN, bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence and Ecological Intelligence 


Acclaim for Confessions of an Economic Hit Man


"Here are the real-life details—nasty, manipulative, plain evil—of international corporate skullduggery spun into a tale rivaling the darkest espionage thriller."
—Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy


"[A] gripping tell-all book."       
—Rocky Mountain News


—Boston Herald


"A bombshell. One of those rare instances in which someone deeply entrenched in our governmental/corporate imperialist structure has come forward to reveal in unequivocal terms its inner workings. A work of great insight and moral courage."

 —John E. Mack, Harvard professor and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T. E. Lawrence


"Stunning and groundbreaking. . . . A must-read for anyone who cares about the world."

—Lynne Twist, global activist and author of the bestselling The Soul of Money


"With unflinching honesty, Perkins narrates his moral awakening and struggle to break free from the corrupt system of global domination he himself helped to create. This book . . . comes from the heart. I highly recommend it."

—Michael Brownstein, author of World on Fire

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; Reprint edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307589943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307589941
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Perkins advises corporations, executives, and entrepreneurs on ways to make the transition from a Death Economy (exploiting resources that are declining at accelerating rates) to a Life Economy (cleaning up pollution, recycling, and other technologies that create life-styles millennials want to inherit).

A former Chief Economist at an international consulting firm and CEO of a successful alternative energy company, he is best known for his "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" (NY TIMES bestseller for 70 weeks, published in over 30 languages). His "The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" (Feb 2016) delves deep into global systemic problems and describes what we can do - individually and collectively - to correct them. He has also written many books on Indigenous cultures, including "Shapeshifting" and "The World Is As You Dream It."

John is a founder of Dream Change and The Pachamama Alliance, nonprofit organizations that partner with indigenous people to protect environments and that offer global programs to turn the Death Economy into a Life Economy.

John has lived four lives: as an economic hit man (EHM); as the CEO of a successful alternative energy company, who was rewarded for not disclosing his EHM past; as an expert on indigenous cultures and shamanism, a teacher and writer who used this expertise to promote ecology and sustainability while continuing to honor his vow of silence about his life as an EHM; and as a writer who, in telling the real-life story about his extraordinary dealings as an EHM, has exposed the world of international intrigue and corruption that is turning the American republic into a global empire despised by increasing numbers of people around the planet.

You can find John Perkins online at, and you can connect with him on Facebook at johnperkinsauthor or follow him on Twitter @economic_hitman.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

117 of 124 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Although I am a longtime political and news junkie, it is not possible for me to accurately determine the truth of all the claims that are made in this book. However, I do know a great deal of history and have some knowledge of economics so I can reach conclusions on many of the claims. Where I am able, I can confirm the accuracy of what Perkins puts forward.
Perkins is a self-proclaimed former "economic hit man" (EHM), a person whose job is to convince people to accept his economic claims to the long-term detriment of their country or organization. He describes some of the tactics used to press a form of economic imperialism on other countries, where their leaders are pressed to accept loans, allow multi-national corporations to enter the country and engage in rapacious development and describes the consequences if the leaders try to assert independence.
Perkins also goes into detail and explains how similar tactics have been applied in the United States, where there is the increasing consequence of wealth being concentrated in a smaller and smaller economic elite. He has very harsh words for some of the most praised business leaders, especially for the often-praised Jack Welch and Sam Walton, former CEO of General Electric and founder of Wal-Mart respectively.
This is a book that will simultaneously anger and depress you, the anger will be generated from the knowledge that the United States is more and more being governed by the equivalent of a corporate theocracy where the basis of the religion is the ruthless acquisition of wealth. Since the odds are approximately four to one that you are a victim of this movement and your real earnings have declined as a consequence, frustration and depression are a natural consequence of reading about how it has happened.
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Ellen P. Lafleche-christian on December 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was really amazed when reading this book that these things actually go on. OK, call me naive but the thought that our government and large corporations send businessmen (ie hitmen) to other countries with the sole intention of conning them into giving us their natural resources and going into debt just disgusts me.

John Perkins really opens readers eyes to what's going on in the global market. He gives an insight into the global meltdown that many people haven't previously considered. He discusses how just a few large corporations own much of the capital, land and resources around the world and he talks about how these corporations influence and control our politicians.

The second part of Hoodwinked talks about the solution to the problem. He discusses how we can create a healthy economy that encourages businesses to act responsibly and by doing this to create a more sustainable world.

I think this is a really valuable book for people to read. It will truly open your eyes to the ways our government and corporations work and it will get you thinking about ways to fix capitalism. I do agree with John Perkins. I think capitalism can be fixed and I think it's a worthy system that deserves to be fixed.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
John Perkins admits helping hasten the world to the brink of economic collapse that we see around us. He admits suckering governments into bad debt with ill intentions, and confesses his part in bringing down elected governments. He spells out how the techniques he used to hobble nations have also been used against America, and why we will never return to what we once thought of as "normal."

But Perkins doesn't wallow in mere breast-beating. He points out what has gone wrong, and defines how we can make it right. He lays out ways in which we have been duped by "a mutant form of capitalism" and a "virus," and how a return to real, responsible capitalism can save us. He explains everything in clear, lucid terms, and for a book about economic collapse, he is surprisingly full of hope for the future.

Perkins' cold-eyed examination of how a greedy few pressured the world into debt in bad faith is chilling, and he admits it has the ring of a spy thriller. His explains how Operation Ajax, the 1954 American overthrow of the Iranian government, is directly responsible for the shape we're in now. And his prescription for getting out of our tailspin, though perhaps excessively cheerful, is simple and within our grasp.

At times, Perkins' run-down is a little too absolute. For instance, he disparages the concentration of media holdings into only six massive companies, but he never mentions that his book is published by an imprint of Random House, a Bertelsmann company. Hey, doesn't that conflict with his story of corporations as evil monoliths? At least Naomi Klein, in No Logo, admits that corporate might is not unlimited.
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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Mckenney on November 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Every consumer in the States should read this book! John Perkins does an exceptional job of guiding you through the troubles and atrocities that our country has burdened not only ourselves, but the rest of the world, through greed and deception. This is a must read for everyone, especially if you have young children, grandchildren, or plan on having children. It is time for us to sustain a future for generations to come. If we don't, as John explains in his book, there will be a disastrous outcome.

Read this book and recommend it to friends and family. It will take time, but with passion, dedication, and hard work we can change the world.

My thanks goes out to John Perkins for sharing his knowledge and showing his dedication.
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