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Showing 1-10 of 19 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 24 reviews
on October 5, 2010
I have read several books about Peak Oil and can recommend this book as one of the best. If you want a quick and enjoyable read that will get you up to speed on the Peak Oil issue, this is the book you need. As another reviewer remarked, the author wrote the book concisely and to the point (like a lawyer). It doesn't need to be longer. As for the sample investment portfolios, I have mixed feelings. I definitely fall into the doom and gloom camp and believe civilization will collapse to a much lower level of complexity. Nonetheless, I might be wrong and am hedging my bets that Wall Street will continue to exist for some time. So, I do have investments and the model portfolios in this book will certainly affect my investment choices going forward.
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on August 5, 2011
Having read a lot of books on peak oil and the coming economic depression, I found this one unique by the fact that it is so brief, and it expresses a point of view widely shared by those who believe peak oil and financial debt will have a powerful adverse influence on human prosperity over the coming decades.

The author paints the picture of peak oil in terms of $300 per barrel oil and $8 per gallon gasoline. One would have to take these as somewhat arbitrary, and, as the author points out, oil and its refined products will be subject to a long term trend of rising prices but with some short term downward movements within that overall trend.

Then the author discusses the problem of "peak debt", the massive debt being built up by the US government.

This is all discussed very much in the context of the United States. Europe suffers the same problems but, as appropriate in a book this short and to the point, the details of those problems as they relate to Europe are not discussed.

The debt chapter ends with the prediction of 10-15% inflation in the United States over the next couple decades.

One thing I like about the book is the assuredness and boldness with which the author makes such predictions, which happen to all pretty well coincide with my own beliefs based on extensive reading on the subject.

With regard to ways out of the debt, there is no beating around the bush. It will be done through inflation. I have become firmly convinced that peak oil and other factors render the prospect of "growing our way out" an impossibility, and to solve the problem through austerity would require Draconian cuts to government programs that are politically impossible.

The author seems to have reached the same conclusion. So rather than hemming and hawing as some commentators do that maybe we can grow our way out of it or austere our way out of it, he simply states what I believe to be a conclusion firmly based in reality, that the only way we are going to get out of it is through inflation, and lots of it.

Despite the brevity of the book, the author is more forthcoming in laying out what he sees as the scenario- a three-phase process of deflation through 2012, inflation through 2020, and hyperinflation through 2030. Most commentators, even when writing books hundreds of pages long about the coming economic downturn, don't give a lot more detail of what they expect beyond general predictions such as "high inflation".

The author's views appear to straddle those of both the deflationists and inflationists. First, the deflationary asset collapse process, then once that has played out, the onset of the long grinding period of inflation.

The author is perhaps not quite in sync with the deflationists like Robert Prechter, however, since he does not appear to share Prechter's focus on extinguishment of debt being a powerful deflationary force liable to dominate the economy for some time.

Prechter's view seems dubious considering that public debt is increasingly replacing private debt, and it is extremely unlikely that government debt in the US or its states or municipalities, will to any appreciable extent be extinguished through outright default. (that may happen to some degree in Europe, however)

As he lays out his thesis that the next two decades will be dominated by peak oil and inflation, the author provides a proposed investment portfolio of assets that should perform best. His recommended portfolio is somewhat broader than one often sees in "doomster portfolios" consisting largely of commodities- for example he also likes consumer staples (but not discretionary goods), which is consistent with a society in the next couple of decades that will be at a much lower standard of living than that of the last couple decades. He emphasizes investments that will do very badly, such as long-term treasury bonds.

The one issue on which I would perhaps differ slightly from the author is that I believe the economic hardships of peak oil will likely be pushed a little further into the future due to the recent opening up of unconventional gas and oil resources in the US (and likely to also be found to some degree in other parts of the world). Some peak oil commentators are very skeptical that these resources are what they are cracked up to be, but I tend to believe that those doing the exploration and development are the ones with the best knowledge base to judge the size and economics of the resource, and if they are to believed, the resource is large and should be highly profitable.

One thing I found interesting was what the author said about housing- that if one buys a house at the bottom of the burst bubble on a mortgage at a low interest rate, that will be an incredible investment. The HOUSE won't be a good investment, the MORTGAGE will be. Because its asset value will shrink rapidly due to inflation. (and of course, as a homeowner with a mortgage, the bank is "long" the mortgage and you are "short")

He says renting and owning a home outright will be bad. Since I was planning to buy a home next year with cash (when I turn 59.5 and can liquidate IRA assets), that was an interesting observation. However, owning a home you will still get the benefit of having the value of the home inflation-protected, assuming as he clearly does, and I do as well, that houses will be going up in tandem with inflation.

I suppose the ultimate investment strategy would be to own real estate on borrowed money, and use the money you would have paid if you bought your house outright to instead invest in ETFs that short long-term treasury bonds.

That leads to one other matter which is what is going to happen to wages as the dollar devalues. The author seems to believe they will go up with inflation. My feeling is that they will remain stagnant for a while, so long as the unemployment rate is high. With the dollar losing value and wages not going up, the real income of workers will be going down, which is unfortunately that inevitable "lowering in the standard of living to a sustainable level" that I think most clear-headed observers of the economy, including the author, expect to occur. I can see that after some period of time that wages will begin to follow devaluation of the dollar, and then there will no longer be a further downsizing of worker incomes, but there will still be a downsizing of debt, and those with savings or bonds will continue to see their wealth shrivel up as they continue to earn a negative real return on their money.

Even though this is a very short book, I give the author 5 stars for doing a good job in what I believe he set out to which was to hit the key points of what he believes we can expect to see in the economy down the road. The conclusions the author comes to obviously are a matter of opinion, but are a very good representation of the views widely shared by those who believe peak oil and peak debt will dominate the economy over the coming decades.
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on February 9, 2017
Makes you think about what we are really in for. I like it because it's not apocalyptic but is helpful to understand that big changes for the worse are certain to come. Personally, I most fear hyper-inflation which he addresses as a real possibility due to the need to pay off a large national debt to other countries in the coming decades. His arguments and investment advice seems reasonable. I fear the "grapes of wrath". Maybe, less likely, I fear there will be more and more unsettling violence and political change. So it goes.
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VINE VOICEon August 18, 2011
The author gives a very compelling viewpoint on what the world will look like over the next forty years due to the terminal decline in oil prices and the unsustainable rise in sovereign debt.
There's no fluff. The author cuts right to the chase with cold, hard facts. You will be very depressed by the gloomy picture that he paints, especially when you realize that it could easily come to pass.
But fret not, because the author also provides some simple portfolios to help you weather, and even profit from, the oncoming global financial storm.
His arguments are logical and expressed in laymen's terms. Even if you do not agree with his predictions, it always makes sense to consider all possible outcomes.
Great book and highly recommended.
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on October 13, 2012
As some reviewers have already noted before, this book is much too short to give a deep insight into the subject of Peak Oil. There are other books for this. What the book does, however, is that it gives a short and concise overview in the field that is very well written, and that at an unbeatable price-performance ratio. The introduced investment tips follow then naturally from the predicted future oil prices and their consequences. I would thus recommend this book to all people who want to get an introduction into the field of Peak Oil but do not want to read more than 90 pages for it.
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on November 12, 2011
I suppose what I appreciate most about this book is that it isn't written primarily for mass appeal, but rather for an audience that already has the background knowledge on peak oil and the oil supply industry to understand that there isn't a debate over whether this is an issue: it is coming. Instead, this book analyses how this is likely to impact the Western way of life, and offers tips for those looking to invest/save/profit in light of this coming incident that so many have blinded themselves to (and will thus be left vulnerable to exploitation when the crisis intensifies).
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on May 7, 2011
Ken Worth is outstanding in his ability to cut to the chase in explaining Peak Oil issues to his readers. I admire his brevity, clarity, and engaging writing style. Furthermore, I respect his willingness to go out on a limb in developing a specific timeline for how inflation and hyperinflation are likely to unfold. Mr. Worth was also gracious enough to respond to my specific questions via E-mail. Do yourself a favor and buy this book today!
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on July 10, 2012
Whilst this is more a pamphlet than a book, there are two good reasons to purchase:
1) It is direct and sums up the situation - there's not much else to say on this - the next 20 years will be tough, period. At this late point in the game, an 1000 page technical analysis will not avoid the great deleveraging.
2) this concise format gets this critical message across.
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on May 29, 2016
Finished it in a few hours. Its basic thesis is more than likely correct, but its out of date.
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on September 29, 2010
Simple, precise, to the point and brilliant! The author states his case, backs it up with model portfolio's and wastes no words.(and he's a lawyer) A very good and easy read, yet not lacking in detail. Only 72 pages in length, not much more than an essay, yet he say's what he needs to say. Makes you wonder if all the "thick" books are just word wasters.
If you are inclined to believe that there is only so much "crude oil" in the world, and the "printing of money" is not without consequences, then you will enjoy this book. The author not only states his case, but backs it up with several portfolios that you can tailor to fit your need. I would say buying and reading this book, and then following through, with some action, could be the best investment decision we could all make over the foreseeable future. Investing in this book, is money and time well spent.
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