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Showing 1-9 of 9 reviews(3 star, Verified Purchases). See all 153 reviews
on October 23, 2012
This book was DEFINITELY not worth $15.37. I can't even wait until the end of the review to offer that verdict. The book itself has been out for a couple of years and the price still high. (That was what made me think that it would be worth a bit more than what it actually was. But I guess readers can be systematically wrong.)

The book is some part Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis and some part This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Reinhart and Rogoff. (According to many reviews, the latter was just too boring to get through and so this book may have revealed everything by covering only what was necessary.) It also contains elements of Michael Lewis' Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World In fact, it seems to be a Greatest Hits for all the current Pop Economics literature that is out there these days. There are even some echoes of Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles (quantitative easing=increased commodity prices; similar predictions as to where will be the next Big Things), but this was not as well written as Sharma's book. And it is because it covers to much familiar ground that I don't want to go so far as to say "give it a miss," but nor would I consider it worth the asking price. (The other three books only dealt tangentially with excessive government debt.)

The Kindle edition is all black and white and that makes the graphs (which were color-coded) a bit hard to see, but I get the idea.

The prose has a really folksy feel and I am not sure how accurate some of his accounting identities are. They just seem too......simple. It would have only taken a few lines to do the derivations and nothing more complicated than high school algebra (people who are reading this book will have had that much, no?). Mauldin also seems to think that we don't know that he cut and pasted generously from his news letters, and we could have read any of those for free. (They come to your inbox by the dozen if you sign up for his mailing list.)

Some things were kind of sloppy. ("Well, they're doing it in Europe so why can't we......") He also trotted out the infrastructure argument, but didn't develop it very well (as for many of the arguments in the book).

The authors offer an answer to the foolish Paul Krugman. (I can't believe how many column inches/ how much bandwith have been wasted with Krugman's hysterical whining ON AND ON about taking on more debt because the interest rates are at historical lows. And because they are low at *this* period of time, then they will be low at *every* period of time.) The authors made a so-so case that bond markets can turn on countries at any time. And it's not gradual. It's more like an avalanche. And (with an apt metaphor), they pointed out that it is meaningless trying to predict which snowflake will cause that avalanche or which direction the avalanche will take when it does happen.

The book was written a couple of years back, and so some of the predictions turned out to be accurate. (Size of US total debt. The fact that the Euro crisis would have worsened.)

There was lots of repetition. (How many times did he use that phrase "a bug in search of a windshield" in reference to the Japanese case? I lost count. Same with "dear reader.")

The authors correct the popular misconception that debt is for grandchildren / children. Since debt crises are so unpredictable, they could be for the present generation.

There are explanations that (and how!) too much debt can be a drag on GDP (and hence foreshadows/ explains the weak recovery under B. Hussein Obama). Figure 6.2. Projected payments of 15% of GDP on interest on national debt? Tax collection is only 19% of GDP in the USA.

The authors present a lot of good, thoughtful policy ideas (around p. 208), but there just seem to be SO FEW people in the government that think of their primary responsibility as the management of economic activity. I wonder who could possibly think of all these things?

The sample space was of a reasonable size. It was not only the US, but a focus on the UK and specific parts of Europe.

In summary, wait until the price goes down. This book is worth about $7.50 as of the time of this review.
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on April 28, 2011
A few recommendations below: But for author and money manager John Mauldin wrote a fine book published in 2004 - Bull's Eye Investing, which he termed/predicted that the upcoming decade would be our `muddle thru' years. Muddle thru in that market returns would have a revision to the mean and not be that much, or what we starting to get used to. That prognostication turned out to be very true.

This book on the other hand read like a rushed production effort and centered for only an audience of policy makers. I can not count the number of times some type of governmental institution or governmental representative is quoted. A few quotes here and there are fine to make your point, but this was just a little too much when sometimes a full page is a quoted passage. We get it; we and other countries have too much debt.

My takeaway is that the effort is average and not too original like the previous effort and you probably will not learn much more if you are aware of the premise. However, if you are somewhat to the issues then the discussions on deflation, inflation, and hyperinflation are worth the effort.

Bull's Eye Investing: Targeting Real Returns in a Smoke and Mirrors Market by John Maudlin
The Age of Deleveraging: Investment Strategies for a Decade of Slow Growth and Deflation by Gary Shilling
Mr. Market Miscalculates: The Bubble Years and Beyond by James Grant
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on January 26, 2013
When read currently, this book is only mildly interesting--too much time has elapsed, too much has happened, for it to be as important a book as its author wants it to be. For one seeking a basic understanding of the problems arising from excessive debt, there are better explanatory books; for those already well-versed, there is little new in this presentation.
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on January 11, 2014
I've read John Mauldin's blog for years and other books by him, and I've tired of his outlook.

I learned nothing useful from Endgame and regret the purchase. I think you can find better readings than this, but like most things, tastes and sensibilities matter.

[After reading the book, I did nothing different with my investments and I didn't see the world any differently. Not, necessarily because I believe Mauldin is wrong. Rather, because I think he is overlooking/ignoring other possibilities. Time may prove him completely right or completely wrong or something in between. It could be that he's in the entertainment industry and his writings should be viewed in that context.]
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on May 15, 2011
If you're looking for a book that explains macro economics in our current economic environment then this is a great book. It's easy to read and understand. The authors provide lots of details to support their conclusions. If you're looking for a book that will help you with investing ideas to profit or protect your investments, this isn't it. While the authors spend a great deal of time describing the economic problems of various parts of the world, they're reluctant to describe in much detail what they believe will happen. The following is a short summary of what the authors describe as the outcome for various parts of the world.
United States - Not Pretty
UK - Not Pretty
EU - Not Pretty
Eastern Europe - Not Pretty
European Periphery - Not Pretty
Australia - Not Pretty
Japan - Not Pretty
China - Not Too Ugly (depends)
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on June 14, 2011
This is definetely a good book.
Interesting and insightful, but for readers of John Mauldin's weekly letters it seemed like there isn't much new stuff.
Regarding the framework for investing, also interesting, but nothing really groundbreaking or detailed.
A lot of the book is based on McKinsey and Reinhart/Rogoff, citations and all. All previously present in previous letters too.

Still an interesting read. Perhaps I have read Mauldin a lot and the book is actually better than I think!
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on March 21, 2011
This book does a good job of outlining the multiple financial challenges ahead for many sovereign members of the global economy and for investors. Ironically, it begins by exhorting us to remember the lessons of the Great Depression and immediately veers off into its own great digression.
In short, we borrowed too much, spent our allowance on frivolous things and now have no good way to pay back our creditors. Inflation is bad, hyperinflation is worse but leaves us like a bankruptcy survivor able to play again, deflation is worst still.
While there is some brief criticism of Dick Cheney who once said that deficits don't matter, there's little effort to lay more blame than that at the feet of the neoclassical school of economics that gave us Cheney and others who cut regulations and blithely ignored deficits for thirty years.
Instead we get a lecture on how the budget is unsustainable and that spending programs that provide a social safety net will need a serious haircut. No mention is made of the two trillion bucks we've wasted chasing unicorns in the Middle East. This is a paean to the Chicago School and Milton Friedman whom the authors went so far as to literally canonize in the text.
Nowhere do the authors suggest raising taxes at the upper end of the income curve in fact we are told that people at that end of the curve need to have their capital to invest in small businesses and start ups. But where, we might credibly ask, have those people been these last ten years? The closest we get to taxes is the "inevitability" of a regressive VAT that would hurt any nascent recovery by depriving people of spending power.
If we really want to recall the lessons of the Depression we should remember that it wasn't Friedman or any other neoclassicist theory that saved us then. It was John Maynard Keynes who advocated government being the buyer and lender of last resort. Greater deficits are no fun and the authors don't want to hear anything about that idea except to say that it won't work.
If the 1930's are too long ago to recall, then simply go back to the Clinton era when taxes were higher and capital really did move into emerging companies. The reason is simple, while taxation, and therefore loss, of stagnant capital is guaranteed in a higher tax regime, it is only probable when invested in risky startups. In the 1990s, unlike the 2000s, people took prudent risks.
This book is right in its diagnosis but dubious in its prescription, which amounts to little more than a therapeutic bleeding.
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on December 10, 2016
Interesting topic...but does not reveal any ideas or concepts that have not been explored before.
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on May 29, 2011
This book raises some new good points. The best part is the review of some individual countries and I felt they could have expanded that section.

It is an easy read but at times the precis approach (style of writing) was a little to cursory. The book is full of black and white charts that are too cumbersome to decipher. If there is a colour copy it would make sense.
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