Customer Reviews: The Great Crash Ahead: Strategies for a World Turned Upside Down
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on December 31, 2011
"HS Dent provides a sobering picture of not only our governments' (state and federal) fiscal situations, but also (and more importantly) the demographic impact of the aging boomers on the economic cycle. He argues that demographic trends will trump any fiscal "trick" policies that governments are trying and will try, and why there is hard work ahead both for governments and for families to put financial houses in order. He provides some helpful, practical investment and business strategies for the anticipated deflationary period, and provides hope for the recovery ahead. A helpful book for business owners and investors."
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on July 7, 2012
This book caught my eye because I'm 53, retired, hoping to live off of my savings for the rest of my life, but afraid that my savings aren't going to last because of bad things that are about to happen. In January 2012 (several months before I ran across this book) I sold almost all of my stocks and am sitting mostly in cash. One of my worries is that the final bubbles yet to burst are the value of US Treasuries and the US dollar through massive money printing by the Fed leading to inflation. So I was very interested in Dent's deflation argument, which in a nutshell is that money creation by the Fed is going to be swamped by massive decreases in the money supply caused by decreases in credit outstanding caused in turn by Boomers in their fifties and sixties wanting to shed debt preparing for retirement, and also because large amounts of debt will eventually need to be written off as uncollectible by creditors. He likens the Fed's attempts to create small amounts of inflation by buying assets (and thereby increasing the money supply) to someone bringing a knife to a gunfight, or attempting to put out a forest fire with a garden hose.

Dent's ultimate argument against the inflation scenario is that Fed officials are too smart for that. Here is the key passage from pp. 139-141 of the book, where he discusses Fed actions to deal with the financial crisis of 2008-2009: "The Fed injected massive amounts of new money into our economy by printing money and using it to buy bonds. This caused commodities, stocks and junk bonds to skyrocket. ... This response has been great for those who own such assets, but it cannot last. These moves are based on ruining the dollar, not on productive gains in output. Are we willing to push our dollar to zero? Are bondholders of US Treasuries, as well as our international trading partners who receive dollars when they sell us stuff, going to stand by and let that happen? Of course not! The voting members of the Fed are not stupid. They understand that they are walking a very fine line between attempting to restart our economy and destructive currency devaluation."

In Chapter 11 (is it coincidence that this is in Chapter 11?) Dent gives his recommendations on how responsible politicians are going to have to dig local, state and federal governments out of the fiscal mess we are in - raising the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security, means testing both of these programs, merging these programs in with the rest of the Federal budget and doing away with the fictitious "trust funds", rationing health care in general, particularly for the last six months of life, stripping government employee unions of collective bargaining, curtailing their pensions and health benefits, and enacting hefty tax increases on both the rich and the middle class. So while Dent concedes that it is possible to destroy the value of the dollar with too much money creation, he concludes that reform-minded politicians and wise Fed officials will prevent it.

I say lots of luck with that. I say Dent is an optimist. I say that instead of courageous, far-sighted politicians taking on seniors, other government program beneficiaries, taxpayers, and powerful employee unions, we will see US politicians do the same thing that European politicians are doing, namely postponing painful and politically explosive actions until there is no other way out. Further, most politicians who do advocate spending cuts and tax increases will get voted out. The end result is likely to be continued huge federal budget deficits financed by the Fed buying massive amounts of Treasuries, i.e. conjuring up dollars out of thin air. Our experience is more likely to resemble that of Germany during the 1920's (runaway inflation) as opposed to that of Japan over the past 30 years (low inflation combined with low growth).

Having just disagreed with Dent's main argument on deflation, I would say that the book is well worth reading. It is chock full of facts, figures, graphs and charts. The demographic analysis is interesting and the explanations of the explosion in private and public sector debt, unfunded entitlement and state pension liabilities, how the Fed controls the money supply, how the government undercounts the unemployed, and the bubble in the Chinese economy are excellent. Where the book is weaker is in its discussion of the stock market which is based heavily on technical analysis - chart patterns such as head and shoulder patterns, wedges, and the like. To me this is like fortune telling. The Dow is going to go to 3350 because that's where it was in 1994. Really? Having said that I agree with his conclusion that stocks should be sold, and largely for the same reasons. I think we are in for another ten years of high unemployment and low or nonexistent economic growth.
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on December 17, 2012
I have read several books on the coming economic crash. It's obvious that our economy (as well as most of the world's economy) is in trouble. Our government is just kicking the can down the road without fixing anything. This book takes a different approach and explains how we got to this point and how bad it can get. On the other hand, the author is not so gloomy as to say there is no hope. Instead of following the the crowd over the cliff and going broke, the author tells you how to make money on the economic crash. I will say that you will probably want to get the newsletter ($50) if you plan to actively follow Mr. Dent's recommendations. After reading my first issue of the newsletter, important current economic issues are explained, documented, and recommendations are suggested. This is no "buy and hold" scheme. It's active trading and you need up-to-the-minute information.

My comments about the newsletter aside, you will want to read book first to at least get a perspective on the current economic crisis and some ways to profit from it.
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on October 7, 2012
Harry Dent has many critics but if you think for yourself and keep in mind every economic cycle is different you will be well served. Our economic recovery reflects what is written in this book and as a trader I will be watching for what will be an unsustainable market as boomers continue toward retirement. Yes you will make money in this recovery but keep in mind the big picture as Mr. Dent so well explains in this guide to our economic future. I highly recommend.
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on November 26, 2012
the book showcases how the ageing population will affect the market demographically. dent clearly points out that the us is in a deflationary economy and that the fed is using qe to print money to cause inflation to counter deflation . but its not working as we have 20,000,000 plus workers unemployed. he indicates that a side effect of qe is to devalue the dollar to our . kensian economics has not and will not work to recover this economy. he predicts a crash of the market in 2014 or 2015, and that we investors should remain short term invested. i read his 1993 book proclaiming the great boom ahead and he was dead on .
i made money then and using his guidelines in this book ill make money in the next crash as well. a very good read. buy it.
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on July 17, 2012
Harry Dent makes great use of demographics and statistics to illustrate how life cycles in history drive the economy. He converted me into his deflation camp showing the 80 year cycle of the Great Depression repeating in 2007. This is based on birth stats with the Baby Boomers ending in 1961. Combine this with empirical evidence showing household spending peaks at age 46. After this age household spending drops as couples become empty nesters as children leave and more savings for retirement. Harry had correctly predicted the stock market peak and crashes in the past 5 years!

The book is a fast 319 page read with insightful stats you probably have never seen before. He repeats some but only to clarify a point. It is written in layman friendly terms with boldfaced sections to highlight key points. It doesn't get dry with charts or graphs. It is a good guide to planning your future with regard to buying real estate, investing or starting a business. It is hard to argue against his points as he does an excellent job of using logic and past patterns to layout future trends. He is not an investment expert but has studied many countries and history to advocate strongly his point of view. Deleveraging of debt, falling home prices, and consumers spending less will lead to overall deflation. The government can delay things but nothing can stop the inevitable cycles!
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on November 3, 2013
a lot of past history. However, economist even tend to disagree, on what it takes to find a solution. Looking backwards and applying the economic science of today's world, will eliminate the worry of another Great Crash. Positive thinking and leadership is a must.
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on April 29, 2013
Harry and Rodney take a strong look at how demographics affect the economy and the market. This book provides a lot of statistical data that is hard to argue with. Many of Harry's long term predictions have been right on the money. Some are pointing to the big crash that was supposed to occur around 2010 and didn't as a basis for ignoring the predictions. The reality is that most of Harry's predictions are windows of a year or two when something may occur. Nobody could have predicted 20 years ago that the Fed would be printing money the way they have to keep the stock market from crashing and to attempt to stimulate the economy. If they had not done this the crash very likely would have occurred by now as Harry predicted. I believe he is right, that a huge correction is coming, the Fed will only be able to delay it for so long and when they stop printing the money watch out below. This book is a very good read and you can't deny many of the statistics presented and how they affect the economy.
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on July 16, 2014
These books came and were described as new but they had a black mark on the side of the book pages. Also, there were tags from Half of Books and the last priced sticker was $1. I paid almost 4 times that plus an equivalent amount for shipping. In other words, I paid $23.49 for three books that should have cost much less.
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on November 6, 2013
Harry gets the forecast right. Probably more than any other forecaster of our economy, he presents a rational, hard-eyed analysis of the things that drive both the US and global economies. His timing may not be dead-on to the day and month, but he has pegged the underlying drivers.
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