©2009 Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff; (P)2009 Gildan Media Corp
"This Time Is Different doesn't simply explain what went wrong in our most recent crisis. This book also provides a roadmap of how things are likely to pan out in the years to come....This Time Is Different is an important addition to the literature of financial history." (Wall Street Journal)
a must-read review of the history of financial crises. for all of our hopes that we've reached the end of history, we never do. this is essential reading for everyone in the West who ever wonders where the economy (whatever country you live in) is going next. straight-forward, easy to digest history that's interesting. ...then you won't be surprised when the news plays out now in this crisis the same way it's done in the past...
You are in for a treat. It gets a bit boring, like other reviewers said:not good for audio. But it has a lot of data in it, it is just a petty that the author can not make heads or tails of the data. He tries to see if certain countries default and others do not, but almost all governments have failed. He gets into a lot of problems mixing up countries and governments. If you say Spain defaulted 13 times, you better say the Spanish government defaulted 13 times. Because if you try to say that a government dumps the problem on the doorstep of the next government and you use the country name, you get: Spain dumps the problem on the doorstep of Spain. I think the failure to see government as a seperate group of people in a country, that has a monopoly of the initiation of violence, causes a alot of confusion.
He also tries to compare developing and advanced countries as an explanation, which also fails. Then he takes domestic debt into consideration, which also does not explain everything.
An interesting angle would be to see if governments that set up an empire fail more than those who don't. Controlling an empire is always financed with debt and fiat money, as direct taxation would bring revolt and put a stop to empire building. The Spanish empire collapsed and resulted in 13 defaults (so far, the next one is on the way). Hungary/Austria/Turkey had serious defaults. The UK not so much and the USA not so much as well (unless you count 97% devaluation since 1913 as a default), but these things take a long time to build up and a long time to unwind.
I would recommend the book because it give a great foundation to understanding the role governments have and will play in the manipulation of the world economy and gives an understanding that this has been done for thousands of years.
The book really needs to be listened to with the tables and graphs available. Sometime difficult to follow without the visual representations.
Like a series of well-organized, excellently delivered Economics-Lectures, making technical and dense material approachable, comprehensible, interesting and, ultimately, useful.
This book is completely unsuitable for an audio format. The data is intended to be presented visually and the print is filled with graphical data. Unless you want to hear continual references to visual data that you can't see, don't buy this audio book!
I have read the negative comments about the audiobook and although I can understand them I don't entirely agree. The audio is quite sufficient to present the main points of the author's arguments and these are very interesting. I will probably buy the paper book also, but the audio is no waste of money. For me it was a relatively cheap and quick way to sample the book.
How were the events of and leading to the financial crisis of 2008 similar to and different from other historical crises? You will find out from listening to this book but it will be painful. Much livelier accounts can be listened to or read. They are by Paul Krugman, John Cassidy, David Wessel, and others.
This book sounds like a paper being read at an economics conference. Particularly problematic for the audio format is frequent reference to figures. In fact, Audible.com should warn the potential purchaser that this is actually a very VISUAL book.
Unfortunately, the narrator signals his disengagement from the material by stopping too often in mid-sentence. He makes it hard to enjoy the dry text further desiccated by absent figures
For me, the strength of Reinhart and Rogoff's effort is that they have compiled reams of data that drive home the obvious irony of the first half of the book's title. Since markets and economies have changed so much over the last two centuries, let alone the last millenium, I was not looking for enlightenment along the lines of the second half of the title, nor was it presented other than superficially.
By comparing the crisis of 2008 and its sequelae with other crises of the 20th century, one does learn that as bad as things are, they could have been--and may still get--a lot worse. Housing prices can take a decade to bottom out. Unemployment can rise 7% or more from pre-crisis levels, and stay there half a decade. Recessions associated with financial crises are far more malignant than other recessions. And government debt rises much more from loss of tax revenue than from "bail outs" or stimulus spending.
To understand what happened in 2008 relative to textbook economics, I recommend John Cassidy's How Markets Fail. For an exciting account of the psychology of the players, Michael Lewis' The Big Short fits the bill. To sit in on the meetings in autumn, 2008, it is hard to beat Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big To Fail.
The most valuable part of the book was the data. The least valuable was the analysis.
Put more thought into the analysis.
This book is essentially a description of the massive data set these two researchers have compiled that will serve as the basis of hundreds of papers and inquiries. If you expect more, you'll be disappointed.
The authors have collected an immense amount of data to not only show what went wrong to cause our current economic crisis, but to also point out what is likely to happen in the coming years. It's an eye opening look at our government and is essential listening for all. A true masterpiece!
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