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The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World, 70) Paperback – August 29, 2017
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"The Rise and Fall of American Growth . . . is the Thomas Piketty-esque economic must read of the year."---Rana Foroohar, Time
"This is a book well worth reading--a magisterial combination of deep technological history, vivid portraits of daily life over the past six generations and careful economic analysis. . . . [The Rise and Fall of American Growth] will challenge your views about the future; [and] it will definitely transform how you see the past."---Paul Krugman, New York Times Book Review
"[An] authoritative examination of innovation through the ages."---Neil Irwin, New York Times
"Robert Gordon has written a magnificent book on the economic history of the United States over the last one and a half centuries. . . . The book is without peer in providing a statistical analysis of the uneven pace of growth and technological change, in describing the technologies that led to the remarkable progress during the special century, and in concluding with a provocative hypothesis that the future is unlikely to bring anything approaching the economic gains of the earlier period. . . . If you want to understand our history and the economic dilemmas faced by the nation today, you can spend many a fruitful hour reading Gordon's landmark study."---William D. Nordhaus, New York Review of Books
"[The Rise and Fall of American Growth] is full of wonder for the miraculous things that America has accomplished."---Edward Glaeser, Wall Street Journal
"Mr. Gordon uses exhaustive historic data to buttress his thesis."---Greg Ip, Wall Street Journal
"A masterful study to be read and reread by anyone interested in today's political economy." ― Kirkus
"Normally, these kinds of big-think books end with a whimper, as the author totally fails to identify solutions to the problem he is writing about. But Gordon's conclusion offers some admirably definitive policy advice."---Matthew Yglesias, Vox
"Magnificent. . . . Gordon presents his case. . . with great style and panache, supporting his argument with vivid examples as well as econometric data. . . . Even if history changes direction. . . this book will survive as a superb reconstruction of material life in America in the heyday of industrial capitalism." ― Economist
"Every presidential candidate should be asked what policies he or she would offer to increase the pace of U.S. productivity growth and to narrow the widening gap between winners and losers in the economy. Bob Gordon's list is a good place to start."---David Wessel, WSJ.com's, Think Tank
"[W]hat may be the year's most important book on economics has already been published. . . . What Gordon has provided is not a rejection of technology but a sobering reminder of its limits."---Robert Samuelson, Washington Post
"Robert Gordon's The Rise and Fall of American Growth is an extraordinary work of economic scholarship. . . . Moreover, this is one of the rare economics books that is on the one hand deeply analytical . . . And on the other a pleasure to read. . . . [A] landmark work."---Lawrence Summers, Prospect
"Ambitious. . . . The hefty tome, minutely detailed yet dauntingly broad in scope, offers a lively portrayal of the evolution of American living standards since the Civil War."---Eduardo Porter, New York Times
"Two years ago a huge book on economics took the world by storm. Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century . . . became a surprise bestseller. . . . Robert Gordon's tome on American economic growth stretches to 768 pages and its central message is arguably more important."---David Smith, Sunday Times
"A landmark new book."---Gavin Kelly, The Guardian
"Looking ahead, judging presidents by policies rather than outcomes may be all the more important. In a new book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the economist Robert Gordon argues that we are in the midst of an era of meager technological change. Yes, we now have smartphones and Twitter, but previous generations introduced electric lighting, indoor plumbing and the internal combustion engine. In Mr. Gordon's view, technological change is just not what it used to be, and we had better get used to slower growth in productivity and incomes."---N. Gregory Mankiw, New York Times
"The Rise and Fall of American Growth is likely to be the most interesting and important economics book of the year. It provides a splendid analytic take on the potency of past economic growth, which transformed the world from the end of the nineteenth century onward. . . . Gordon's book serves as a powerful reminder that the U.S. economy really has gone through a protracted slowdown and that this decline has been caused by the stagnation in technological progress."---Tyler Cowen, Foreign Affairs
"[A]n important new book."---Martin Ford, Huffington Post
"[A] lightning bolt of a new book."---Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect
"So powerful and intriguing are the facts and arguments marshaled by Gordon that even informed critics who think he is wrong recommend that readers plow through his The Rise and Fall of American Growth, with its 60 graphics and 64 tables spread over more than 700 pages. You don't need to be an economist to appreciate or understand the book. His thesis is straightforward."---David Cay Johnston, Al Jazeera America.com,
"What is novel about Gordon's approach to this problem is that he doesn't try to find political causes for our economic woes. . . . [E]xhaustive and sweeping in scope, and novel in its thinking about growth."---Chris Matthews, Fortune.com,
"[A] fascinating new book."---Jeffrey Sachs, Boston Globe
"One of the most important books of recent years. . . . Powerful and impressive."---Cass R. Sunstein, Bloomberg View
"This is a tremendous, sobering piece of research, which does a lot to explain the febrile, nervous state of modern Western democracies."---Marcus Tanner, The Independent
"A new book by economist Robert Gordon--The Rise and Fall of American Growth--is causing quite a stir." ― City A.M.
"If he's right, and one links this with growing income inequality, our would-be leaders will have difficulty in making the case for achieving the American dream through steady incremental progress achieved through collaboration and political compromise."---Michael Hoffmann, Desert Sun
"Robert Gordon's new book on productivity in the U.S. economy, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, is masterful. . . . Gordon skillfully lays out myriad information about the history and trends of productivity. One can learn a great deal."---Edward Lotterman, St. Paul Pioneer Press
"[I]mpressive."---Peter Martin, Sydney Morning Herald
"In his unsettling new book, Gordon, who teaches at Northwestern, weighs in on the role of technology in the U.S. over the past century-and-a-half. He does so forcefully, so forcefully, in fact, as to wipe the smiles off the faces of most techno-optimists, myself included."---Peter A. Coclanis, Charlotte Observer
"[A] thoughtful new book."---David D. Haynes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"[The Rise and Fall of American Growth] is this year's equivalent to Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century: an essential read for all economists, who are unanimously floored by its boldness and scope even if they don't agree with its conclusions."---Adam Davidson, New York Times Magazine
"Gordon makes a compelling case for why the era of fast growth in America ended around 1970 and will not return in the foreseeable future, if ever."---Dick Meyer, DecodeDC
"Gordon argues that we are not going to get another surge soon and that there are several headwinds that are going to work against faster growth, including income inequality, education as a differentiator and not an equalizer, the debt overhang, and demography."---John Mason, TheStreet.com,
"[The Rise and Fall of American Growth] challenges every political claim, and every pundit's remedy, regarding how to get the lackluster American economy to boom again in the decades ahead, as it once did a half-century or more ago. . . . [The book] represents the culmination of Gordon's many years of investigation into this key economic question of our age, namely: ‘Why is it that the American economy has never been able to return to the happy boom years of our grandparents' time?' Why is it that, decade after decade, administration after administration, annualized productivity growth has only been about one-half to one-third that of the age of Truman and Eisenhower?"---Paul Kennedy, Tribune Content Agency,
"[M]asterful. . . . Gordon skillfully lays out information about the history and trends of productivity. One can learn a great deal. . . . The Rise and Fall of American Growth is a rare example of a work with solid economics that can be understood, and enjoyed, by nearly any lay person."---Ed Lotterman, Idaho Statesman
"As an economic historian, Gordon is beyond reproach."---Edward Luce, Financial Times
"Provocative." ― Associated Press
"The Rise and Fall of American Growth, is a deep dive into the past with an eye to the future. . . . [The book] is part of a fascinating debate about future prospects for the American economy."---Knowledge@Wharton,
"[The Rise and Fall of American Growth] has set the wonky world of economics aflame."---Ryan Craig, TechCrunch,
"Magisterial."---John Kay, Financial Times
"[A] contentious new book."---Margaret Wente, The Globe & Mail
"[A] fabulous new book. . . . [I]mpressive."---Dr. Mike Walden, Morganton News Herald
"Northwestern Bob Gordon's new book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, offers a deeper explanation for the underlying mechanics behind slowed economic growth."---Jon Hartley, Forbes.com,
"So much of what the presidential candidates and the American people want to accomplish over the next four years and beyond depends on the U.S. economy growing faster, and more inclusively, than it has in recent years. This year's hot economics book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, by one of America's most distinguished macroeconomists, Robert Gordon, casts a pall on whether this is possible, arguing that the U.S. had a golden century of increasing innovation from roughly 1870 to 1970, but this was unique."---Robert Litan, Fortune.com,
"Gordon's book offers the definitive account of how the many technological innovations between 1870 and 1940 dramatically improved life in the United States."---Richard A. Epstein, Hoover Institution's Defining Ideas
"[M]agiserial. . . . The Northwestern University professor lays out the case that the productivity miracle underlying the American way of life was largely a one-time deal."---Matt Phillips, Quartz
"Robert Gordon's new book The Rise and Fall of American Growth has taken the economics world by storm this winter."---Myles Udland, Business Insider
"[M]assive."---Ben Casselman, FiveThirty Eight
"[G]roundbreaking."---Zeeshan Aleem, Mic,
"With a painstaking--and fascinating--historical analysis of American productivity, [Gordon] argues that the innovations of today pale in comparison to earlier in our history and that we might actually be entering a period of prolonged stagnation. He may very well be right."---Greg Satell, Forbes.com,
"[P]rovocative."---Barrie McKenna, The Globe & Mail
"[I]nfluential."---Martin Neil Baily, Fortune.com,
"[A] stimulating book."---George Will, Washington Post
"Compulsive reading."---Andrew Hilton, Financial World
"Gordon is not an alarmist, far from it. His is a sober voice of concern, of caution, which needs to be heard by those in the helm in America. And a fascinating lesson for ambitious and growing countries like India."---Dr R Balashankar, Sunday Guardian
"[A] fascinating convergence of green and mainstream thought."---Tom Horton, Chesapeake Bay Journal
"[T]his panoramic book makes good reading."---Shane Greenstein, Harvard Magazine
"The book's great contribution is the tapestry it weaves of all the innovations that changed most Americans' lives beyond recognition in the century from 1870 to 1970."---Martin Sandbu, Financial Times
"The Rise and Fall of American Growth is unquestionably an important book that raises fundamental questions about the United States' economy and society." ― New Criterion
"[A] masterpiece."---Martin Wolf, Financial Times
"[An] impressive book. . . . Gordon's book provides sufficient ammunition to show the colossal problems facing capitalism." ― Socialism Today
"Rich with detailed information, meticulous observations, and even anecdotes and stories . . . a fascinating read."---Ricardo F. Levi, Corriere della Sera
"The Rise and Fall of American Growth is essential reading for anyone interested in economics." ― Choice
"In an important new book, economist Robert Gordon makes the case for pessimism. He believes that technologies like smartphones, robots, and artificial intelligence aren't going to have the kind of big impact on the economy that earlier inventions--like the internal combustion engine and electricity--did."---Timothy B. Lee, Vox
"Robert Gordon has written an engaging economic-based history of America. . . . Gordon is to be commended for helping to stimulate a national debate on the current low level of economic productivity."---Allan Hauer, Innovation: The Journal of Technology & Commercialization
"If you want to see how far we have come and how tough life was a century and a half ago, read Gordon's book."---David R. Henderson, Regulation
"A fantastic read."---Bill Gates, GatesNotes
"The book is well written, and one can only be in awe of Gordon's mastery of the factual history of the American standard of living."---Robert A. Margo, EH.net,
"Monumental."---John Cassidy, NewYorker.com,
"Zeitgeist-defining."---Myles Udland, Business Insider
"[A] magisterial treatise."---Nick Gillespie, Reason.com,
"[A]n essential read for anyone interested not only in US economic history but also American economic prospects . . . a tremendous achievement."---Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist
"A comprehensive history of American economic growth."---Eric Rauchway, American Prospect
"Professor Robert J. Gordon's The Rise and Fall of American Growth is a magisterial volume that will benefit any serious student of economics, demographics or history."---Wendell Cox, New Geography
"A wonderful new book."---Jeff Sachs, Boston Globe
"The most important economics book of 2016."---Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune
"This spectacular history traces the rise and the plateau of the American economy since industrialization."---Jay Weiser, Weekly Standard
"[A] landmark book. . . . An impressive history of how the American people progressed in their standards of living and productivity in the ‘golden century' of 1870-1970."---Stephen M. Millett, Strategy & Leadership
"Gordon's encyclopedic The Rise and Fall of American Growth, a new history of modern U.S. economic life, [is] perhaps the best yet written."---Jonathan Levy, Dissent
"One of our greatest economic historians. . . . Gordon's exhaustive research program . . . has knocked me back on my intellectual heels."---J. Bradford DeLong, Strategy + Business
"This is the most important book on economics in many years."---Martin Wolf, Financial Times
"Robert Gordon's The Rise and Fall of American Growth set out a thesis of technological diminishing returns that does much to explain an age of economic pessimism."---Lorien Kite, Financial Times
"In the course of Gordon's book, a vivid picture of everyday life as our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents lived it emerges. . . . What lingers in my mind, alongside these ideas, is a new, weightier sense of the past, and of what the people who lived in it ate, touched, heard, saw, and did. Reading The Rise and Fall of American Growth, I thought a lot about my grandparents. Gordon's book has made their lives more real to me."---Joshua Rothman, NewYorker.com's, Page-Turner
"Magisterial. . . . While the book has gotten attention because of its bold projection of slow growth in the future, this is actually just one small element of a magnificent and detailed presentation of how our economy has changed since 1870. Most people don't fully appreciate what life was like in the past and Gordon gives a blow-by-blow description of how people lived in America from 1870 on. In addition, he carefully explains how each new innovation was created and how its adoption changed people's lives."---Stephen Rose, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
"Gordon constructs a strong case using conventional economic principles and exacting data measurement."---Don Pittis, CBC News
"Gordon's genius is to weave together economic history with the story of the technology, know-how, politic, demographics and medicine that made the astonishing progress of the US perhaps the most remarkable ever."---Sean O'Grady, The Independent
"The author's method has the merit of being straightforward as well as robust. . . . The carefully woven tapestry offered by Rise and Fall leaves no corner in the shade."---Jean-Pierre Dormois, La Vie des Idees
"A towering achievement that will utterly transform the debate on U.S. productivity and growth. Robert Gordon chronicles the stunning swiftness with which American lives have advanced since 1870, and raises profound questions about whether we have benefitted from one-offs that cannot be repeated. Combining eloquent description with forceful and clear economic analysis, Gordon's voice is gripping and compelling. This is economic history at its best."―Kenneth S. Rogoff, coauthor of This Time Is Different
"The Rise and Fall of American Growth is a tour de force with an immensely important bottom line. It is packed, page after page, with insights and facts that every reader will find fascinating and new. A profound book that also happens to be a marvelous read."―George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics
"Keynes dismissed concerns about economic trends by remarking that in the long run, we are all dead. Gordon turns this upside down by reminding us that we inherited somebody else's long run. If you care about the legacy we will leave future generations, read this richly detailed account of America's amazing century of growth."―Paul Romer, New York University
"Robert Gordon has written the book on wealth―how Americans made it and enjoyed it in the past. If we're going to create more wealth in the future instead of arguing about dividing a shrinking pie, we have to read and understand this book."―Peter Thiel, entrepreneur, investor, and author of Zero to One
"This book is as important as it is unsettling. Gordon makes a compelling case that the golden age of growth is over. Anyone concerned with our economic future needs to carefully consider his argument."―Lawrence Summers, Harvard University
"In The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Gordon looks at the evolution of consumption and the standard of living in the United States from the end of the Civil War to the present day. His work brims with the enthusiasm of discovery and is enriched by personal anecdotes and insights derived over a long and very productive career."―Alexander J. Field, Santa Clara University
"The Rise and Fall of American Growth makes use of economic history to argue that Americans should expect the rate of economic growth to be, on average, slower in the future than it has been in the recent past. Gordon is the most important exponent of the pessimistic view working today and this is an exceptional book."―Louis Cain, Loyola University Chicago
- Publisher : Princeton University Press; Revised edition (August 29, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 784 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0691175802
- ISBN-13 : 978-0691175805
- Item Weight : 2.13 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.3 x 1.8 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #165,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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To him much of this improvement is due to what he calls the second industrial revolution which was brought into being by the widespread adoption of electricity and the internal combustion engine. along with indoor plumbing remade the economy. In a way his book is a paean to industrial capitalism whose innovations brought about this revolution. Further, although it is hard to believe today, the introduction of the automobile in the early 1900s was the clean technology of its day. Simply put the major cities of the country were knee deep in horse poop and horse piss that local residents struggled to avoid. They were literally swimming in pollution.
Compare this to the third industrial revolution we are experience today involving information technology, computers and communications. Sure those technologies have improved our lives, but how do they compare to indoor plumbing and electric lights. Gordon demonstrates through a careful analysis of the data that the information revolution peaked from 1996-2004 and has since slowed down. Specifically Moore’s Law which states computer chip capacity doubles every 18-24 months which held from the late 1960s to the early 2000s broke down in the past decade to a pace of doubling every four to six years.
Going forward Gordon is a “techno-pessimist.” He views the 1870-1970 period as a one off event. The recent slowdown in productivity and economic growth certainly supports his view. Whether he is right, or not, only time will tell. Where I would disagree with Gordon is that he labels the rise of income inequality as an impediment to growth. To me that is a stretch because during his golden age of 1870-1940 there were two distinct periods of high and rising income inequality. The first was the gilded age of 1895-1910 and second was the roaring twenties. During those two time periods the standard of living for the average American grew rapidly and it is hard to see in the data that it was an impediment to growth especially when Gordon admits the official data grossly understated overall economic growth.
I know that this review has hardly done justice to Gordon’s magisterial work. I highly recommend it for those interested in how our lives came to be.
Some of the reading can be a little tedious and repetitive, as one by one, the author goes over all the significant factors and inventions which contributed to a huge i ncrease in US incomes since the beginning of the 20th century, and created the worlds biggest economy. Nonetheless, it really is necessary to read every chapter and page because it prepares one to understand better the book's main thesis, which is repeated over and over, but explained more fully in economic terms in the last chapters. All policymakers will have to contend with the conclusions of this work, especially the new government which vows to "make America great again". Robert Gordon's book shows that with the right policies such a goal is achievable in the economic ( and social ) sphere, but the task will not be easy.
Gordon is an economist and uses metrics such as GDP and total factor productivity to analyze true growth and well-being for the typical American citizen. He proves through meticulous research how annual productivity growth peaked somewhere in the 1970s and we will not likely witness late 19th or 20th century growth rates anytime soon again. From medical breakthroughs to transportation and communication technologies, he lays out a solid argument as to why huge leaps in progress are likely behind us and only incremental growth is in our future.
The book is a compelling page-turner that will force you to see so many things we now take for granted in a whole new light. Highly recommended!!
Top reviews from other countries
The years 1940 to 1970 were, if anything, even more spectacular. Wages increased even more as productivity boomed. Highways were built which enabled easy travel from all corners of the nation to all of the others. Driveways filled up with automobiles. Air travel became increasingly accessible to everyone, not just the financial elite. And on long hot humid summer days Americans could take refuge in their air conditioning.
Then, with the exception of a brief spurt between 1996 and 2004, the helter skelter growth slowed to an amble. A rust belt developed in areas previously frenetic with production of steel, cars and other goods. The ICT “revolution”, heralded as the bringer of new industrial and domestic advances on a par with those of electricity and the internal combustion engine, has so far failed to deliver in such a grand manner. There’s a limit to the extent to which cat videos and 140-character prattlings can improve the standard of living.
Robert J Gordon’s story of this great unfurling of the American dream is captivating in two ways: first in showing how the meteoric rise and subsequent plateauing (it’s overdramatic to characterise it as a fall, really) came about, using some of the same old sources, though in slightly different ways, maybe, and also drawing on resources such as back-issues of the Sears catalogue to trace the way in which American households advanced from home-made everything, including virtually all clothes, to the ability to order everything – clothes, white goods, musical instruments (the number of musicians who made their start on Sears catalogue instruments, which Gordon doesn’t go into, is phenomenal), and so on – via the postman.
But he also tracks how things have stagnated: with all of the waiting around at airports and all the other attendant hassles of flying it now takes longer by jet to fly New York-LA than it did in the day of propeller-driven aeroplanes, and with all the little extras, like paying for luggage to be carried and food on the flight, both of which used to be included in the fare, it’s more expensive too.
Gordon is not, however, blaming anyone or anything in particular. The problem is, he suggests, that all the good stuff has been done, and everything now is just new ways of doing those things (emails for letters, online orders for mail orders, incremental improvements in TV picture definition, DVDs or Netflix for videos or the cinema, and so on). Likewise with productivity: ICT may be able to achieve improvements, but the potential is nowhere near as striking as that for advances of previous industrial revolutions.
In his final chapter, then, he advances proposals not so much for kick-starting a productivity revival as for alleviating the fallout of its demise. Like Thomas Piketty, whom he makes a point of acknowledging and citing, he recognises the enormous chasm that has opened up between top and bottom of American society. In a particularly poignant chart he shows how between 1945 and 1975 – the years of the “great compression” - incomes advanced at similar rates across American society, and how since then the top 10% have continued to enjoy steady growth (those at the very top, as Piketty pointed out, have enjoyed obscene growth in their wealth in comparative terms) whilst those at the bottom have suffered ongoing contraction.
In all, I would rate this book, as a piece of economic history, almost on a par with the works of Landes (The Unbound Prometheus and The Wealth And Poverty Of Nations), as a research piece at least in the same ball park as Piketty’s Capital (yes, I have read it), and as a piece to dip into alongside Porter’s three best-known works (yep, I read them too; I didn’t just look at the pictures).
Nevertheless, like all of those publications, it also deserves, demands even, critical appraisal. For starters, I find the central thesis too alarmist, like the head of the US Patent Office at the turn of the 20th Century believing he could close it down as everything had already been invented. There are many reasons for guarded optimism. The Economist recently ran a Special Report outlining some of the many potential productivity improvements in Agriculture in the pipeline (if only we could get past the Frankenfoods pitchforks and torches in the dark mentality some of them may one day get used). Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing to most of us) has only just begun to find its role, so far in specific niches, but plenty of work is being done on breaking loose of that straitjacket. And who knows, somewhere within ICT there is that killer app like the motor car or electric lighting waiting to be found (I don’t think the so-called “internet of everything” is it, though; I don’t need my fridge to tell me I’m out of milk, thanks).
Secondly, Gordon appears to dismiss out of hand the role of government in revitalisation, but as Mariana Mazzucato and Carla Perez, among others, have pointed out, without government there would be no internet, no ICT revolution, no (shock horror) iPhone. In The Entrepreneurial State, Mazzucato advanced the idea that government could be doing far more for the development of alternative energy.
Furthermore, without the government-built network of Interstate Highways, what would Americans do with all those cars?
Thirdly, Gordon gives a very confusing account of the benefits of immigration. First he assigns responsibility to immigration for bringing down wages in some sectors, then seems to be saying that it is really only the wages of immigrants that are affected. He partly credits immigration control in the US after the second world war for rising wages, but makes no mention of the many Mexicans who moved, under the Programa Bracero, to the US during the period covered by that war and the one in Korea in order to fill in for the Americans serving in the armed forces, which saw the Mexican population in the US double to five million. And he proposes a points system for permitting immigrants to enter the US, making the classic economist’s mistake of commodifying people, in the belief that a price can be put on everything.
And finally, at least for this review, there is Gordon’s US-centricity, almost to the exception of everywhere else. One of the great strengths of Piketty’s work was that whilst it spoke of “Les Trente Glorieuses”, it did so in an international context. Gordon’s “Great Leap Forward” only applies to the US. There is nothing in Gordon about how improving economies in the rest of the world may benefit the US. The rest of the world more or less doesn’t exist in the bubble he constructs.
However, to reemphasise my earlier point, notwithstanding a few quibbles I consider this book to be of extraordinary value: a record of spectacular progress and how it was achieved, and a warning that, unless somebody brings more beer, the party’s over.
It is rich in detail and well supported with evidence.
As a reader it is well written therefore it’s length was not an issue for me though it could be a consideration for some (it is a heavy book even in paperback form).
If I am going to say anything critical I would say a more ruthless editor could have made a difference and not lost any of the central message. Secondly I would point out that the policy prescriptions in the final chapter are a bit on the weak side and less sophisticated than the historical analysis that supports them.
Robert Gordon and his team are to be congratulated on the amount of information they have gathered and put into a single book.
The Postscript at the end lists a number of policy changes that should be seriously considered going forward if we are to avoid the severe impact of protracted very low growth when a lot of people think we can keep on growing at a significant rate forever.
Not sure how we get the Politicians to understand that things need to change as it will take time and significant effort, something today's politicians do not understand
Sadly the book is the absolute opposite of today's off the cuff ( non measured fact based ) quick fix populist politics.