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The Age of Deleveraging: Investment Strategies for a Decade of Slow Growth and Deflation Hardcover – November 9, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


[a] warning against complacency ( Financial Times Weekend, January 2011). excellent book Shilling lists the ten investment ideas to buy into in a deflating, low-growth Anglo-Saxon world. (Investment Week.co.uk, February 2011). Anyone looking for an inflationary resolution to this global mess should ponder the wisdom of Shilling's reasoning and the many decades of experience and accurate forecasting Market Oracle

From the Inside Flap

While many investors fear a rapid rise in inflation, author A. Gary Shilling, an award-winning economic forecaster, argues that the global economy is going through a long period of deleveraging and weak growth—which makes deflation far more likely and a far greater threat to investors than inflation.

In The Age of Deleveraging, Shilling explains in clear terms why the United States and world economy will struggle for several more years and what you can do to protect and grow your wealth in the difficult times ahead.

Opening with an informative look at Shilling's incredible forecasting track record—including the recent housing and financial bubbles—as well as his philosophy behind forecasting and analyzing the economy and financial markets, The Age of Deleveraging moves on to discuss his outlook for slow growth and deflation in the next decade, and how you can cope with it.

The fact is, investment strategies that have worked for the last twenty-five years will not work in the next ten. Nobody understands this better than Shilling, and with The Age of Deleveraging, he offers expert advice on what it will take for investors to navigate such treacherous terrain, including avoiding commercial real estate and commodities and focusing on high-quality bonds, consumer staple and food stocks, and investments related to North American energy sources.

Along the way, Shilling also:

  • Examines the effects of increased government regulation and involvement in the economy as well as six other factors that will hamper economic growth in the next decade
  • Outlines various strategies for investing in appropriate sectors and avoiding others
  • Provides a practical perspective of how stocks will fare in the long run
  • And much more

Filled with in-depth insights and detailed advice, this timely guide lays out a convincing case for why investors need to be prepared for a long period of weak growth and deflation—not inflation—and what you can do to prosper during this time.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470596368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470596364
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A.Gary Shilling is President of A. Gary Shilling & Co., an economic consulting firm and a registered investment advisor. He has been a columnist for Forbes magazine since 1983, frequently appears on business news programs, and is quoted regularly in the print media. Shilling has been warning about the long-term threat of deflation for several years and has even created a board game, aptly title The Deflation Game. He received his bachelor's degree from Amherst College and earned his master's degree and PhD in economics at Stanford University. Previously, Shilling was chief economist of White, Weld& Co, Inc. and set up the economics department at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, where he served as the firm's first chief economist.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Given the strong rebound in the equity markets since March 2009, "most investors believe that 2008 was simply a bad dream from which they've now awoken," starts Gary Shilling in his newly-released tome on deflation, The Age of Deleveraging. "But the optimists don't seem to realize that the good life and rapid growth that started in the early 1980s was fueled by massive financial leveraging and excessive debt, first in the global financial sector, starting in the 1970s, and later among U.S. consumers. That leverage propelled the dot-come stock bubble in the late 1990s and then the housing bubble."

Dr. Shilling has had a long and wildly successful career as an economic forecaster. Shilling was one of the few voices of reason that foresaw the busting of the Japanese bubble of the late 1980s, and he also correctly forecasted the bursting of the 1990s Internet bubble and the mid-2000s housing and financial sector bubble. I am delighted to find him on "our" side of the inflation/deflation debate.

It can be a bit lonely here in the deflation camp. Despite the fact that official CPI inflation has been tepid at best for the past three years and that retailers still have practically no pricing power, there is widespread belief that high or even hyper inflation is just around the corner due to the Federal Reserve's aggressive quantitative easing.

Essentially, the inflationist camp is making the mistake of believing that the pre-WWII Weimar German Republic is an accurate representation of our own conditions today. Why? Because it is example that is often cited in popular economics books and it is thus fresh on their minds. But a better understanding of history would tell you that 1990s Japan is a far better representation than 1920s Germany.
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Format: Hardcover
I have mixed feelings about this book. I suspect that you will either love it or hate it if you have strong predictions of deflation or inflation, respectively. For the rest of us who aren't sure and are reading around, this is a good read but isn't entirely convincing.

Let me just start by saying that Shilling points out in a number of places in the book that he is a top-down economist, predicting first the macroeconomic environment with interest rates, and then moving down to their effects on individual sectors. My trouble with this approach is that top-down theories are interesting to read about, as they lay out a framework for thinking about the economy and "what-if" scenarios... but they're known to be unreliable at predicting what will happen. This is probably why Shilling spends so much time at the beginning of the book tooting his own horn about his past predictions. Nonetheless, I hear that he has made a number of gravely inaccurate predictions as well - see for example his book on deflation from the late 90s, I believe. Anyway, past performance, even if perfect, is no guarantee of future results. (As an aside, the top-down, as opposed to the fundamental bottom-up, approach introduces many data points that can significantly skew the end result by compounding small errors along the way. Consider that many good investors - people who actually intend to make money, as opposed to economists and academics -, like the Buffet clan, continually reiterate that no one can predict the markets, even with perfect economic information.)

Which brings me to my point: it seems to me that the case Shilling lays out isn't as strong as it may seem, even if there is a lot of supporting "evidence.
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Format: Hardcover
I am not familiar with Schilling but he manages money and writes a newsletter from a quick perusal of his website. However, the book states that he does not yet manage money (but he is already a bit old). The book is really in three parts:

1. The first third of the books deals with recommendations the author made to his clients roughly from 1988 to 2008. Clearly the author is a bit full of himself here. That is allowed because he seems to have made some good calls. I suppose the author needs to establish his track record somehow. However, most people wouldn't find this section terribly interesting. At least the author has made a decent job editing the text, which presumably originates from his newsletter. However, the section might be interesting for life-long students that want to understand the author's thought process in more detail. For those a key problem is that he only discusses his successful predictions. Maybe he has loads of predictions that didn't pan out. So while there is value in history, this section is problematic.

2. The second third deals with themes that currently preoccupies the author. We are not going to see anything like the bull market which lasted from 1982 to 2000. Instead we'll get deflation. This discussion is quite interesting. However, this is a contrarian viewpoint so I would really have liked more depth and crispness in the arguments. He should also address the contents of his 1998 book called "Deflation", because if he has called "deflation" for over a decade her will lose credibility.

3. The final third deals with investment recommendations for the next decade. I'm not terribly impressed by this section. Some of these recommendations are a bit naive, like don't buy antiques because they're illiquid.
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