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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Someone can get a better grip on how an economy works by reading about adventures as a server in a waffle house than they can get by reading the ten most respected economic journals in the world. Few books have made me laugh the way yours did, and it taught me a good deal about other things as well." --Steven Kates, Former Chief Economist for Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Royal Melboune Institute of Technology (RMIT) University

"An economic thinker I can understand...I found Adams' explanations to provide brief and understandable interpretation of what I more intuitively believed. His little teaching moments are clear and concise, and let him get back to the waffle house anecdotes, and his relationships with his ex-con co-workers. I really enjoyed it." --James G. Martin, Governor of North Carolina (1985-1993)

About the Author

James Adams spent the first five years of his career as an investment analyst at Protective Life Insurance Co. and Jefferson-Pilot Financial. Subsequently, he was a vice president at a $30 Billion money management firm. Although he earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and an MBA, most of his financial knowledge has been gleaned from his recent foray into foodservice and the writings of forgotten 19th-century economists. He prefers his eggs over easy and his hashbrowns all the way.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Sourced Media Books (August 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937458008
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937458003
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I spent the first five years of my career investing premiums for life insurance companies. Subsequently, I worked for three years as a product manager for a $30 billion money management firm. In that capacity, most of my time was spent writing to clients about markets and portfolio strategies.

My former employer purchased billions of subprime mortgage bonds on behalf of banks, insurance companies, and pension funds. The bonds' collapse led to the financial crisis of 2008, my layoff, and the economic malaise that we continue to experience. Given the considerable public indignation about the debacle, I suspected that readers would enjoy watching one of the parties responsible for the bust get served a large slice of humble pie.

Waffle Street is the true story of a laid-off financial market professional (yours truly) receiving his first "real education" in economics as he spends six months waiting tables on the weekend graveyard shift at Waffle House. Although it began solely as a self-deprecating humorous memoir, Waffle Street also became a vehicle for imparting a lucid and entertaining explanation of money and economics to the general reader. Given the turbulence in our contemporary financial and political climate, the narrative couldn't be timelier.

Customer Reviews

Anyone wanting to be entertained should read this book.
Anonymous
I have read a number of books on the history of money and economic theory this one uses the real world as example and emphasis.
S. W. Brown
I never remember any reading I've done where I both learned so much and laughed so much at the same time.
Michael L. Gluck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on August 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
As an economist, I feel specially qualified to rate this book (contrary to the opinion of this book, I do have a soul). This was a masterful job by Adams in explaining the big picture issues at the heart of the most recent economic crisis. The author gave enough technical details for professionals to be satisfied (and even edified!), but kept it simple enough for those unfamiliar with economics or finance to still follow along and learn.

Waffle Street successfully accomplishes its aim at correcting the publication bias in economic thought by reminding everyone why Say's Law is called a law. It was refreshing to hear economics explained by someone who wasn't already tainted by the ideas of the Keynsians.

The Waffle House anecdotes were humorous, and their use as teaching tools was the main draw to this book. Anyone wanting to be entertained should read this book. You'll certainly get your money's worth.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
I never would have guessed that reading a book about the economy could be so entertaining. James Adams' book is simultaneously educational, thought provoking and hilarious. I learned much about the workings of finance and it's history, while being thoroughly entertained by the priceless stories of the many real-life Waffle House personalities that Adams had the privilege (or perhaps at times, misfortune) of encountering. I highly recommended this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By david on August 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading "Waffle Street" while traveling for work. People looking for dry economic equations and technical terms of art won't be disappointed, although they will have to stomach some biting self-deprecation and humor at the expense of some of Waffle House's colorful clientele. History buffs will appreciate tales from our American past stretching from Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama wound tightly around the billy club of Say's Law. And connoisseurs of fine dining establishments will no doubt appreciate the detail with which Adams describes bare-handedly rescuing globs of what had just been food from a clogged Waffle House dish pit.

Adams didn't have to create memorable characters, he just had to get their hash brown orders right. The hero of this book stands out from a crowd filled with the Bard, the Linebacker, the Repo Men, the Stone Mason, and Crazy Kathy, as he follows the core lesson of this book as if his life depended on it -- you are going to eat your own cooking.

The laughs alone are well worth the 15 bucks. The portly gentleman and the reclusive lady I was wedged between for a 5 hour flight can attest to that.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mike on August 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
Can a book that illuminates the workings and history of the country's banking system really be entertaining?

As shocking as it may seem, yes--in spades. Adams' cogently organized and educated narrative on the American economy is illuminated by his bright, quick-witted prose and anecdotal tales of work at a Southern institution.

Whether you consider its humorous, bawdy, self-depricating, real-life, and first-hand tales of a "second career" at the Waffle House following a successful run as a financier, or its conclusions about finance, banking, and macroeconomics, Waffle Street stands alone.

It's a must read. In fact, it's good enough that it may even be a must read, twice.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By marobashi on August 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
Any adult who takes up a hobby involving a uniform runs the risk of being confronted head-on by the often humbling realization that even one who feels well-established in their comfort zone of daily life has entered a situation in which the basics cannot be taken for granted -- in fact, that one must re-learn something as fundamental as how to dress oneself. One's peers and associates in this new endeavor may even evince the simple smile reserved for an infant who has, for the first time, donned his own pull-up diaper.

Hidden behind the humorous anecdotes which permeate this oeuvre (word chosen particularly because it resembles both the french "oeufs" and their common, though currently dangerous preparation style "over-easy") lies a serious meditation on economic theory, a comparative analysis of academic vs. street "cred," and a variety of ruminations ranging from the questionable existence of Corinthian waffles to the long-term psychological effects of sensitively-placed tattoo art on one's progeny.

Adams tells a compelling story, and he manages to challenge the reader and ask some difficult questions in the process. If one is unfamiliar with trends in economic thought, this book is an excellent introduction to the tenets, and possibly the limitations, of the theories of Keynes, Friedman, and, of course, Jean-Baptiste Say (whom the author hopes to redeem). If the higher-order combinatorics involved in the ordering of famous Waffle House hash-browns eludes one's mathematical grasp, one may remediate this through the brief analysis and framework found within. (Though "sluthered" is revealed not to fall into canonical hash brown orthodoxy, I'll appropriate it here to state that indeed, Adams' book is "sluthered" with goodness, laughter, and honest personal reflection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. W. Brown on August 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
Who would have thought that one could explain economic theory and history while describing the bar close rush at Waffle House? James Adams explains what he learned by refusing to take unemployment after loosing a six figure income in the bond market after the meltdown in a way that is a careful balance of history, pathos and humor. If your 401K is now a 201K and you would like to know why this it the book for you. I have read a number of books on the history of money and economic theory this one uses the real world as example and emphasis. Thoughtful is not often so well mixed with laugh out loud funny.

Waffle Street: The Confession and Rehabilitation of a Financier
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