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How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes Hardcover – May 3, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

‘If you feel you want to get a decent grasp of free-market economics…this book is the perfect place to start.' (Daniel Hannan, Telegraph.co.uk/Blog, July 2010).

From the Back Cover

EveR WONDER . . .
  • Why governments can spend without ever seeming to run out of money?
  • Why some countries are rich while others are poor?
  • Whether spending or saving is the best cure for a bad economy?
  • Where inflation comes from?
  • Why it's so hard to catch a fish with your bare hands?

How An Economy Grows And Why It Crashes

Understanding how all the pieces of an economy fit together can be a daunting task—especially when the experts can't seem to do it. But when you get down to the basics, it is much easier than you may think. How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes uses illustrations, humor, and accessible storytelling to take economics off its lofty shelf and put it back on the kitchen table where it belongs.

This straightforward story of fish, nets, saving, and lending exposes the gaping holes that lie hidden in our global economic conversation. With wit and humor, the Schiffs explain the roots of economic growth, the importance of trade, savings, and risk, the source of inflation, the effects of interest rates and government stimulus, the destructive nature of consumer credit, and many other economic principles that are so frequently discussed and so poorly understood.

The story may appear simple on the surface but it will leave you with a powerful understanding of How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes.

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Read a Chapter Excerpt
In Chapter 1, author Peter Schiff introduces the key components necessary for an economy to grow [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047052670X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470526705
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (299 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Peter D. Schiff is a seasoned Wall Street prognosticator best known for his accurate predictions of the performance of the stock market, commodities, gold, and the dollar. He is one of the few unbiased investment advisors to have predicted the current bear market and positioned his clients accordingly. Schiff began his career at Shearson Lehman and joined Euro Pacific Capital in 1996, becoming President of the firm in 2000. He appears frequently on Fox Business News, CNN, CNBC, and Bloomberg TV, and has been quoted in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Barron's, the Financial Times, and the New York Times. Schiff is also the author of the original edition of Crash Proof as well as The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets, both published by Wiley.

Customer Reviews

Not only is this book an easy read, but it is also very entertaining!
Q.M.
A must read for anyone that wants to understand the real basic concept of an economy I highly recommend it.
Allen
I feel I understand things far better now, and as my title says, I wish everyone would read this book.
Jeff G.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Schiff did not start out as one of my regular "reading list" authors...in fact, he originally irritated me quite a bit. However, after listening to several interviews on Financial Sense as well as numerous traditional media channels/outlets, reading several of his books...and watching with my own eyes/ears his rather pessimistic prognostications come about...I changed my tune. As a college instructor and business writer, it's not easy to do a turn-about...on the other hand, watching what is taking place across this nation (and indeed the world) isn't "easy" either.

However, after he announced his decision to pursue politics I expected this new book to be an extended "positioning statement". Whether you like or dislike Schiff, here is why you should read this book...and buy an extra to share with someone you care about.

1. It's funny. Okay, perhaps "funny" isn't a major reason to purchase this book but there is a decidedly quirky humor underlying the writing that makes this very accessible to people that wouldn't normally enjoy reading a book about economics. Schiff does a great job keeping this accessible to every type of audience without insulting the intelligence of the reader...in fact, he takes great pains to "de-mystify" the veil of complexity that surrounds issues that should be taught to every informed citizen.

2. Irwin Schiff. The father of Peter Schiff...I've read a couple of his books out of pure curiosity. While I do not personally agree with the position taken by the senior Schiff, I was utterly shocked to learn that at age 82 he remains incarcerated. Considering the recent fiasco of financial misconduct, it speaks volumes as to the priorities of the government. This book builds upon a story...and philosophy...initiated many years ago.
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138 of 149 people found the following review helpful By TonyD on April 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Other than Thomas Woods, I can think of no one else that can explain the often intimidating field of economics as clearly and simply as Peter Schiff can. Even if you are a complete idiot when it comes to understanding economics, this book will make you understand that economics is actually a very simple concept to grasp. If you are literate, you should have a great understanding of the Austrian school upon finishing this book. Complete with humorous anecdotes and illustrations, Peter and Andrew Schiff retell their father's masterpiece (How an Economy Grows, and Why It Doesn't) in a new, modernized version. Whether you are new to, or are well versed in the Austrian School of Economics, I recommend that you read this book and pass it on to a friend when you are finished!
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Morris Benun on May 6, 2010
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This is the best Economics book I have ever read- and I have read many. Opening the book I was immediately put off by the "comic book" format, thinking the material would be too simplistic. I was wrong. I have a much better grasp of economics, and the Austrian ("hard money") and Keynesian ("free lunch") schools of thought. At first I was amazed at the authors ability to transform an arcane,boring and complex subject into a highly entertaining, informative and very easy to understand book.

After a while I realized however, the true insight of the book is that economics is not complex at all. It is the economists explanations that are complex. It takes some serious mental gymnastics to convince people that governments can spend more money than they take in, that an economy does not need a strong manufacturing base, budget and trade deficits don't matter and consuming ever more quantities of stuff (without the means to pay for it) is the path to prosperity.

Read this book and you'll have a better grasp of where we are today and where we are headed than the majority of "experts" out there.
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105 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Smart Money on April 25, 2010
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This cute book explains economics in a simple way that is easy to understand. It uses humor and 'old school' story telling to break down how economies grow AND crash.
It also shows us how government intervention can also distort the economy.
I found it a unique way to teach children AND adults that the 'laws of physics' apply to everyone- including countries! It you spend more than you save, eventually you will pay a price. It is that simple. Our country is starting to see that. Many in our government keep promising us everything we want (free health care, low interest rates, practically endless unemployment benefits, tax credits and more) all WITHOUT raising taxes or actually growing the economy. At what point do we (or China) realize this cannot continue?????
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By James Shaw on May 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Read it over a 4 hour plane ride (yes it's that easy to read), I thoroughly enjoy this book. As promised, the authors broke down the complicated subject of economics into simple concepts illustrated by a fun story that everyone can understand; it certainly shows in no uncertain terms where the Schiffs are coming from. To me the major take-aways are:

- Economy grows by people becoming more efficient and increasing production through entrepreneurship and savings that funds it. There are activities that don't really grow an economy according to this very definition, if they don't increase production, e.g., a lot of the service sector work, no matter how the "official" calculation calculates the size of an economy (e.g., GDP). The buying and selling of houses and their accompanying industries like home furnishing, construction, etc during the housing boom certainly don't increase the production in an economy, while the invention of a net to catch more fish or a water delivery system or carts that transport more fish or the invention of banking (like told in the story) certainly do increase production and thus do grow the economy.

- The story's telling of US around the time of FDR and their lasting changes to the country really is shocking: the ascendancy of the Federal Reserve Notes (the dollar) and the requirement of its use, the confiscation of gold, the debasement of the dollar to its eventual transformation to a fiat currency, the massive public works projects, and the popular but unsustainable benefit programs like social security and the medicare. It really makes one re-think what he's taught in school about the merits of these programs and about the legacies of presidents like FDR and Lyndon Johnson.
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