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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480219886
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480219885
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I have a number of book and film commentaries on my website; you may also find topics of interest on my weblog www.oftwominds.com/blog.html

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Graham H. Seibert TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

The author, Charles Hugh Smith, is a sympathetic character, in full control of the terms by which he leads his life. He makes his roots only somewhat obscure. He was born in the early `50s and hung around the Berkeley scene, drinking from the heady brew of 70s hippydom. Somewhere along the way he sobered up, became a successful freelance writer, and began to concern himself with matters of global and personal finance.

Smith is correct in claiming that his gift is in explaining complex systems and phenomena to the layman. His thesis is somewhat like this.

All life in the United States and the Western world has become more complicated over the course of history. The complex systems he describes include government, medicine, and banking.

A system is not a thinking entity. Moreover, almost every system is far too complex to be completely understood or modeled. Witness the incredible difficulty that climate scientists have in modeling climate change. Models are absolutely essential to understanding, but on the other hand they are always incomplete. The same can be said of the economic models used by hedge funds, corporate treasurers, and government entities.

One characteristic of all of the models is that understanding them requires a thorough knowledge of the field in question.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By T. Balkins on December 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
The acclaim for Charles Hugh Smith's new book comes some of the top social and financial commentators in America today: James Howard Kunstler, the Tyler Durdens of Zero Hedge, Chris Martenson, Adam Taggart and Michael J. Panzer - each of them reflecting my deep personal interest in the subject; simply, what is going on, how does it all tie together (if it does) and where is our current national track leading us? Charles Hugh Smith's book seamlessly weaves the issues of debt, crony capitalism, reserve currency, money velocity, centralization, monopolies, cartels, risk, central planning and many more issues together in one easy-to-understand narrative. And, believe me, it IS readable AND understandable. By the time you finish your first reading, you will have a much better understanding of where, as a citizen, you stand and where the country is going - and why. Better informed, you'll then know a lot better what you need to do, because, as it is obvious from reading this book, standing pat isn't going to be a survival mechanism.

This is not a doomsday prepper's handbook (though I think they definitely have their value) but it explains to us concerned individuals what lies behind the infommertials of the mainstream media, the partisan political statements and maneuvering and the lightweight financial commentators. WHY THINGS ARE FALLING APART AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT is the most empowering book I've read in years and, obviously, those I admire and trust to see the world as it is (Kunstler, Martenson, etc.) feel the same way. This is a must-buy and there's nothing else like it in print.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By PiPPo NYC on August 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As I often read the CHS’s contributions on ZeroHedge, I decided to buy this book hoping to further deepen my understanding of the many challenges this country is facing. However, I was a little bit disappointed with the book for the following reasons:
- To explain the complexity of the various issues, CHS tries to break them down in many short little essays which feel more like a collection of blog posts rather than a deeply interconnected set of concepts. Cohesive, professional editing would improve the readability of the book as it lacks those smooth transitions from one topic to the other which make the reading a more pleasant experience.
- CHS’s posts on ZH often include very informative charts, which need to be studied and understood. At time, that may be difficult or time consuming, but nonetheless those charts provide a wealth of visual information that is completely left out of the book.
- CHS often quotes studies, research and other factual information without ever providing references for further reading (or cross checking).

In short, while commendable, CHS’s work is a self-published book I would recommend to a novice or someone who’s approaching the subject for the first time. For the more initiated, other publications or web sites may provide a better (and free) source of information.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By GWM on February 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For one thing, it is a long title. I've been referring to this a "the book" in a series of blog posts thus far on this topic. Just suffice it to say that the book is mostly about why things are falling apart. The "what to do about it" is but one section out of six.

Most of the book is a hard read for me because I tend to want to remain optimistic about things as they are. The book's main message flies right into the face of that. According to this book, things are not going to stay as they are for much longer.

I began with the notion that I agreed that things are falling apart. The book confirms that and much more- which to my chagrin, is not necessarily what I really wanted to believe. What I wanted to believe, and still do, despite this book, is that we can work out our problems. The thing that is missing is the will to do so.

The book isn't really political, but there is some political stuff in it. Does it tend towards the right or towards the left? Actually, neither. However, those on the left may think the book is aimed directly at them. In a way, it is. That's because the dominant paradigm today is big government liberalism initiated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his New Deal. But it may be noted that a lot of so-called conservative Republicans tend to like their big government too, and are therefore wedded to this paradigm as well. The book also goes after capitalism, but does not extol socialism nor communism. To the contrary, it is critical of these systems as well.

The book's solutions tend in the Club of Rome, Limits to Growth genre. That won't work with the modern day real conservatives who believe in limited government and economic growth. I count myself as one of these, but not whole-heartedly so.
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