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The Great Deleveraging: Economic Growth and Investing Strategies for the Future Hardcover – August 21, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (August 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132358107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132358101
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,244,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews



From the Back Cover

In a World of Debt and Bubbles, Learn Important Lessons to Navigate These Turbulent Times


“Dickson and Shenkar do a masterful job of wrapping context around the current crisis and mapping the territory ahead. But where others are satisfied to merely describe, the authors provide a clear strategic context for investors seeking long-term opportunities amidst today’s uncertainty and confusion. The Great Deleveraging is a compelling, insightful read that at once informs and guides the reader through the financial turbulence that has become the new normal.”

--Paul Saffo, Managing Director, Foresight, DISCERN, and Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Stanford Media-X Research Network


“In The Great Deleveraging , Chip Dickson and Oded Shenkar place the bewildering events of recent years into historical context and map out the changes they see for the investment landscape of the future.”

--Warren Hatch, PhD, CFA, Catalpa Capital Advisors


“This invaluable one-of-a-kind book tackles the number-one economic issue of the early 21st century (excessive systemic financial leverage) and even provides a framework for investment success. Capital market students and investors alike will greatly benefit from a close study of the details, methods, and analyses incorporated in this timely treatise at such a critical junction in financial market history.”

--Jack Malvey, CFA, Global Capital Markets Consultant, Former Chief Global Fixed-Income Strategist, Lehman Brothers


The Great Deleveraging is packed with important financial clues and warning signals from a well-respected pro and a leading academic, to help you recognize the signs of a future financial calamity.”

--A. Michael Lipper, CFA, President, Lipper Advisory Services, Inc.


In the past decade, the United States experienced two periods of excessive growth followed by two massive financial collapses: the technology and housing bubbles. Both were caused by illusions of growth and wealth creation: Much of the foundation was not real. As an investor, how can you distinguish between “fake” growth and the real thing? What disciplines help you find solid returns and provide warning signs about bubbles?


Former Wall Street analyst, strategist, and Associate Director of Equity Research Chip Dickson and leading global business scholar Oded Shenkar first identify the policies and characteristics of societies most likely to generate real economic growth and investor wealth. Next, they outline specific lessons learned about bubbles and growth from nearly a century of investment returns. Finally, they identify global markets and sectors that appear well poised for sustainable growth.


In the wake of massive debt creation, history’s greatest deleveraging is now underway. For many investors, the next decade will be brutal. This book’s messages are designed to help achieve real profits and create real wealth. They are meant to help you navigate a challenging environment--and, hopefully, thrive.

  • Massive debt in the United States
    Where it came from and its implications
  • Stable economies, stable industries, solid investments
    Thoughts on finding solid, sustainable growth opportunities in an unstable global economy
  • Lessons from 90 years of real asset class returns
    The history may surprise you, and it should give you greater perspective
  • Long-term opportunities from three emerging economies
    Markets that appear poised for sustainable, real growth


Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. MacPhail TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The title and byline suggest that you will learn something about the huge "Leverage" (debt) problem, how it will unwind, and how to position yourself for the impending carnage.

Sadly, the first 230 pages are just a walk through the decades pointing out all kinds of true stuff that's widely known. Lots of graphs, but very little "ah-hah!". Then comes the book's title chapter, a short medley of platitudes like:

"This deleveraging process would be helped greatly by an acceleration of economic growth. History does not provide much hope..."

"Services are expected to remain a significant part of the economy..."

"Eventually, policies will need to be put in place to allow the private sector to grow faster than the public sector..."

"While we cannot know the future, the next two chapters present some tools and rules to help you navigate [the difficult road ahead]."

The first 250 pages would be forgivable if it related to some thoughtful "Investing Strategies for the Future."

No, the book wraps up with astonishingly elementary and generic advice:

1. Know your financial self
2. Build a personal balance sheet
3. Understand your risk appetite
4. Develop a savings discipline
5. Preserve principal
6. Develop a spending discipline
7. Diversify your investments
8. Observe some basic investing discipline
9. Identify the nature of the market: structural bull or structural bear
10. Develop a sell discipline
11. Continue your education
12. Beat your financial benchmark

Other strangeness:

1. Lots of time-series graphs to give you some perspective, but many of them stop at 1990 or 1999 or 2007, for example. Why?
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Chawks VINE VOICE on September 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book has three features that set it apart for other finance / stock market books.

First, it divides the huge increase in debt in the United States over the last thirty years into categories that shed additional light on to the subject.

Debt Buildup subsections:

- The sources of this debt expansion

- Changes in tax policy
- Changes in housing policy
- Changes in regulation
- Contribution of inflation to debt levels
- Government Deficit spending
- Successful use of debt to increase profits in the previous years
- Declining interest rates
- Contribution of energy prices (oil) to debt levels

Each of the above sections explains how the debt expansion in this subsection contributed to economic growth. The only other book I have seen that illustrates how debt expansion contributes to economic growth is Being Right or Making Money

Second, this book examines the conditions for real economic growth in particular focusing on how concentration, dispersion and diversification effect economic growth. This is an important section. Over the last thirty years the United States has begun to reverse it historical course and to support concentration of power in government and industry. This section gives clear examples of the problems concentration brings.

Third, chapter three examines the last ninety years of the United States economy. I found this section very interesting. Why? because you can compare stock market returns over the decade with the factors that defined each decade.

Finally, chapters five and eleven provide a set of economic instruments that have proven to be accurate indicators of past problems. They suggest monitoring these instruments carefully in order to understand when the economy might be in for turbulence.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Gibbard on January 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"The Great Deleveraging" is primarily a sort of statistical almanac that delivers a large number of charts and graphs illustrating features such as asset class returns and global growth indicators over the past century or so, along with present trends and some predicted future trends. Although some of its chapters refer specifically to the problem of deleveraging and deliver some useful information on previous episodes of deleveraging, the authors do not provide much in the way of a thesis concerning why excess leverage occurs or what policymakers should do about it. While they do provide some useful information for example on the amount of time needed to purge excess leverage from the financial system, the title is a bit misleading because most of the book is not specifically about deleveraging and instead contains generic information about the world economy and investment strategies.

Overall, a lot of the information provided seemed to be either at a pretty basic level, or extremely narrow and technical. The lack of a central thesis made the book feel like a "data dump" at times. For example, at one point we are given a list of all the banks in India (page 217). Nothing is said about how sound these banks are, the amount of their assets, the state of their liabilities, etc. It is just a list. A far more interesting topic would be the damage done to microenterprise poverty lending by Indian banks in light of the current deleveraging environment.

There is also a four-page list of financial services industry classifications with SIC codes. I am not sure what use the reader can make of this information, or what it has to do with the deleveraging problem.
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