Recovery? What Recovery?
Did you lose money in the stock market in the last financial crisis of late 2008?
Has your home lost value?
Are you "underwater" in your mortgage or concerned about selling?
Do your dollars buy less than they used to at the grocery store and the gas pump?
Have you lost your job or know someone who did?
Are you worried about the safety of your money and investments?
Don't get fooled again! While the "experts" want us to believe that all is well (or will be soon), nothing could be further from the truth. The worldwide financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 was just a sneak preview of what is to come. For those who act quickly and correctly, there is still time to protect yourself, your family, and your business in the next global money meltdown. The Wall Street Journal business best seller Aftershock can help you:
©2011 David Wiedemer, Robert A. Wiedemer, and Cindy S. Spitzer (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Their scenario is dark, and their strategies bold and unconventional. But after being on target the last time they went against the grain, the Wiedemers merit being heard out." (The Associated Press)
"Surrounded as we are by growing talk of recovery and news about 'green shoots,' it's still refreshing to consider the different perspective that Wiedemer, Wiedemer, and Spitzer offer here." (Robert J. Hughes, SmartMoney)
"Aftershock makes a compelling argument for a chilling conclusion. Their track record demands our attention." (Sam Stovall, Chief Investment Strategist, Standard & Poor's)
This review is not about whether I personally agree or disagree with the statements in the book.
The authors of this book do a great job of making a highly convincing and insightful case for their viewpoint on the future of our global economy. It is a well-written, highly informative and eye-opening explanation of the authors' expectations, based on their macroeconomic analyses.
The overall experience of listening to this audiobook was enjoyable. The narrator was easy to listen to, and his cadence was just right to get the point across, as he read with a consistent, persuasive tone.
The thing that truly sours the book, in my opinion, is that it contains advertisements for their investment and retirement planning services. The end of the second and sixth chapters are blatant advertisements for their services, urging readers to call in or visit their website. Furthermore, the book, in a variety of places, urges its readers to visit their website, which is oriented toward getting people to pay for their services.
The basic premise of the book is that the American and global economies have largely been the creation of a series of government induced "bubbles", which, due to their unsustainability, are destined to pop, leading to an economic collapse.
Once that very valid point has been made, the authors careen off into lala-land.
For starters, the reader is forced over and over again, to listen to the authors:
A. Tell them how they are sage prophets of our economic future, and how right they were in a previous book which, you probably haven't bought yet, but should so you can see how brilliant they are.
B. Rant about tenured economics professors, and how they are going to show them all up by eventually unveiling their brilliant theory of "economic evolution" in later books, newsletters, and expensive investor services. Buy them so you won't be consumed by the zombie hords!
There are so many problems with this book, its hard to know where to start. I won't cover them all here, but offer a few choice examples.
1. "Numerical models will revolutionize economics and save the world."
Sorry guys. I spent 20 years of my career running numerical models. These are TOOLS not crystal balls. The authors mistakenly claim that by calibrating one of their models to past known events, they can accurately predict the future. THIS IS FALSE. Calibration is only the FIRST step in producing a reliable model. VALIDATION is where the rubber really meets the road. That is, after calibrating your model, you challenge it by running predictive simulations into the future, and then observe (in the future) whether your model was right. Do that a half dozen or more times (tweaking the parameters and metrics along the way) and you may have something that is half-way decent at prediction under a given set of economic (or other scientific) boundary conditions.
If economists want to be less "voodoo" and more "empirical", here's a bit of friendly advice: learn from other scientific disciplines that have been doing this type of thing a lot longer than you have!
2. "When the crash comes, everything will be really, really expensive - except of course FOOD, and we will all continue to become even fatter and lazier."
Uh, really? Do I even need to cover this? Why in the world would food be "cheap" when the costs of energy, equipment, seed, fertilizers, and chemicals will skyrocket?
3. "Marx was wrong, but hey, he deserves a lot of credit for "advancing" economic theory (an A for effort!). He saw that economies "evolve" and that humans can be perfected, he just based his theory on an outdated economic model, other than that, he was teh awesome!"
Yeah, really? Human beings are flawed. Biological evolution is one thing. Human character evolution is something else entirely. Humans have repeated the same cycles of behavior over and over again for millennia. Sorry guys, I don't think we are going to evolve into gods any time soon. And that hat tip to Karl the Killer, didn't up your currency in my book. He was a self-hating Jew who was pissed off at a world he didn't think was fair to him. Kinda like someone else we know...
4. "We won't tell you anything really useful in this book, because we want to sucker you into buying the next (where we won't tell you anything either). But we just want to drop a tantalizing little hint: "targeted stimulus"!!"
Awesome. Now the hat tips to Marx and Keynes make sense. You think these douche nozzles were on the right track, but you're gonna fix it with a few tweaks, eh? (probably with one of those fancy numerical models that haven't been validated, no doubt).
5. "Wegner's theory of Continental Drift was revolutionary. He was scoffed at just like untenured geniuses like us. But Wegner was right, so are we, we are all so smart. Believe everything we say. Buy our crud and make us rich."
Uh, OK, so this is not strictly an economic point of contention, but one of sloppiness. Wegner FYI, was WRONG. The continents do not "drift" - they do not float across the oceans. Wegner got lucky about the coasts looking like they fit together. Wegner was totally wrong about the drivers of continental movement; didn't understand what true continental margins were; didn't get that the oceans themselves are "plates" in and of themselves; and missed the significance of mountain building, earthquakes, and other "tectonic" theory, and how those relate to continental movement, which is far, far from random drift. Like the old saying goes - even a broken clock is right twice a day. So it is for astronomers like Wegner. (Astronomers have historically shown they understand less about planetary geology than your average bus driver)
In the end, the authors start with a kernel of believable truth that most average people already "get" - i.e. that our economy is ready to go "pop". Then use that as a launch pad for selling a bunch of half-a$$ed crud that they will publish in the future. Probably dribs and drabs of nothingness, all the while promising "if you just buy our newsletter, we'll give you the real scoop".
Don't get me wrong; I don't have a lot of love for academic tenured economists either. But using your obvious grudge against these people is not the basis for making the world a better place (see Marx above).
Meh. Save your credits. This is not the book you are looking for.
Oh, the narrator on the other hand, was excellent.
This was the worst audiobook I have ever read. The arrogance of the authors is astounding. There arrogance is only surpassed by their insecurity. They spend the entire first two chapters trying to convince the reader why you should believe what they are saying. Their answer - because they were the only ones in the world who had the forsight to see the housing bubble and they were right in their last book so they must be right now. Everyone I knew thought that we were in a housing bubble! When they are not trying to convince you how smart they are they are trying to sell you on their services. I lost count of the number of times they mentioned their website or phone number and urged the reader to contact them. Do not waste your money or credits on this book.
Although the case of economic collapse seems rather obvious for anyone who follows anything outside the main stream media, I'd question a few points. The author realizes that CPI numbers are fixed, that the central banks buy the debt, that money printing can not fix the economy and that we are in a multi bubble economy. So far so good. However his thesis is also that the inflation will be combated with higher interest rates, as gvts will be unable to borrow. I doubt this is still the case. The central banks can just put a floor bid on bonds and a ceiling on interest rates. They can keep lying on inflation.
He also assumes that all high flying economists who wrecked big banks, are irrational and took the wrong decisions. I don't think they did. They only sold crappy mortgages fully aware that they had the persons in their pocket that would bail them out and dump their problems on the tax payers. They are not illogical, just evil.
I also do not share his pessimism over asia. All production has moved there, we in the west just import stuff from there and have forgotten how to make it. When the bubbles have fully popped, they still have production capacity and knowledge.
Other than that a reasonable book, expecting high inflation because of money printing and a collapse of just about everything else as it is financed with debt, which will suffer high interest rates. It does however not strike the root of the problem:the cause of the problems is not that bubbles are popping. The bubbles are there for a reason. The root of the problems is the approval of the initiation of force by the gvt elites. Their power is our undoing, it will be further corrupted and used against us.
Sometimes the commercials are a bit annoying, he could have made it free with the adds in.
While the concepts in this book are interesting, and thought provoking, the authors don't go very deeply into the technical details. Yet in spite of this lack of detail and explanation, the authors recommend that you sell everything of value that you own (except your car as you will need that to get to work to make more money, to give to their investment firm) and turn the money over to their investment company. That is what is scary. Be wary of anyone who tells you to sell everything you own, give the money to them because paradise awaits you in the afterlife, or "aftershock" in this case. How many times will people continue to fall for that one. At best, these people are well meaning, but misguided and arrogant. At worst, the next Bernie Madoff. "A fool and his money are soon parted." There's a reason that's a cliché. If these people could accurately predict the market which is driven by many more complex factors then anyone can calculate at this time, they wouldn't need to sell their financial services and books. Think about it. They're not your friends. They don't know you and could care less about you. They care about making money and feeding their egos. While I think the book brings up many important things to consider and has opened my eyes, I wouldn't give a penny of my money to their investment firm as I think these guys are the next Bernie Madoff. I have a 50/50 chance of being right. If I am, then I can write one of these "I told you so books." You heard it here first.
Investors who passively manage their money could see their entire portfolio evaporate into money heaven. This book describes the causes and effects of a major economic collapse. It also describes several methods for protecting investments; moving money into gold, bonds, foreign currencies, and bear funds. It also gives economic indicators to watch for trouble: inflation rate and interest rate.
There is some pretty deep economics in this book but the author explains it in terms that non-economists can understand. I would've given the book a 5 star if it wasn't for the bragging and self-plugging that is found throughout the book.
The advice to sell all your real estate, sell your business, or even change professions is very dangerous. Between reminding you they were right in 2006 every few minutes and use of the words bursting bubble, the book could be shortened to 30 mins of rehashing previous problems and guessing at the future. These guys are so full of themselves its not even funny. Listen with extreme caution. The raspy narrator doesn't help either.
-they were right about the first crash
-poor economic principles caused the first crash
-they were right about the poor economic principles causing the first crash
-buy gold, change professions, sell your houses, sell your business
-they were right so uproot your life before its to late
-everyone else is wrong
-they were right that everyone else is wrong
-oh and go to there website so you can subscribe to their newsletter
This book puts what I have been seeing and thinking into context that makes too much sense to dismiss. Bubble economy and the underlying economic principles- or lack there of is truly scary and if true when the final bubbles finally burst will signal the end of life as we know it.
EZGSA -- Gateway to Government Sales
This is a clear and well articulated discussion based upon the undeniable macro-economic evidence that we see every day. The conservative leanings of the authors are generally well disguised but occasionally evident.
The data are good and easy to understand, but the book is annoyingly repetitive. It could be distilled 50% without losing any factual content or conclusions. Most offensive are the authors' self-serving self-promotion throughout the audio-book. Three- to five-minute commercials abound. I've never sat through an audiobook so laden with ads for the authors' consulting services. Without the ads, I would have rated the content at least a point higher in all categories. Unfortunately, the ads are a significant value-subtract.
If you don't mind hearing the authors' cynical sales pitches, there's a lot of good data. But if listening to the authors pitch their services isn't for you, or if you don't need the same facts repeated ad-nauseum, try the print version.
"Breaking the status quo"
These guys predicted the bursting of the last housing bubble while most people were blissfully unaware of the horrors ahead and continued to spend like the good times would never end. This book is a must read for anyone who genuinely cares about the years ahead. Alternatively you could continue to believe the intricate web of misinformation spun by the political leaders worldwide.
The predictions in this book may well come to fruition but the book is padded out to the extreme which makes it incredibly boring. After reading “Fools Gold” which was excellent this was very disappointing.
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