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This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly | [Carmen Reinhart, Kenneth Rogoff]

This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly

Throughout history, rich and poor countries alike have been lending, borrowing, crashing - and recovering -their way through an extraordinary range of financial crises. Each time, the experts have chimed, "this time is different" - claiming that the old rules of valuation no longer apply and that the new situation bears little similarity to past disasters. This book proves that premise wrong.
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Publisher's Summary

Throughout history, rich and poor countries alike have been lending, borrowing, crashing - and recovering - their way through an extraordinary range of financial crises. Each time, the experts have chimed, "this time is different" - claiming that the old rules of valuation no longer apply and that the new situation bears little similarity to past disasters. This book proves that premise wrong.

Covering 66 countries across five continents, This Time Is Different presents a comprehensive look at the varieties of financial crises, and guides us through eight astonishing centuries of government defaults, banking panics, and inflationary spikes - from medieval currency debasements to today's subprime catastrophe.

Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, leading economists whose work has been influential in the policy debate concerning the current financial crisis, provocatively argue that financial combustions are universal rites of passage for emerging and established market nations. The authors draw important lessons from history to show us how much - or how little - we have learned. Using clear, sharp analysis and comprehensive data, Reinhart and Rogoff document that financial fallouts occur in clusters and strike with surprisingly consistent frequency, duration, and ferocity. They examine the patterns of currency crashes, high and hyperinflation, and government defaults on international and domestic debts - as well as the cycles in housing and equity prices, capital flows, unemployment, and government revenues around these crises.

While countries do weather their financial storms, Reinhart and Rogoff prove that short memories make it all too easy for crises to recur. This Time Is Different exposes centuries of financial missteps.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2009 Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff; (P)2009 Gildan Media Corp

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

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  •  
    L 04-22-12
    L 04-22-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "of course it's not different this time"

    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...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    peter Houten, Netherlands 04-01-12
    peter Houten, Netherlands 04-01-12 Member Since 2005
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    "If you thought defaults are an exception"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug The Gap, Australia 02-26-12
    Doug The Gap, Australia 02-26-12
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    "Deep understanding of the world economy"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    The book really needs to be listened to with the tables and graphs available. Sometime difficult to follow without the visual representations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linden New York, NY, United States 11-22-11
    Linden New York, NY, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2013
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    "For this topic, more useful than sight-reading."

    Like a series of well-organized, excellently delivered Economics-Lectures, making technical and dense material approachable, comprehensible, interesting and, ultimately, useful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen United States 08-16-11
    Stephen United States 08-16-11

    Steve Johnson

    ratings
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    11
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    "Unsuitable for Audio Presentation"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P K Rotterdam, Netherlands 06-09-11
    P K Rotterdam, Netherlands 06-09-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not *that* bad as an audiobook"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronald 05-09-11
    Ronald 05-09-11
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    "Livelier accounts of the same material exist"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron E. Michel 01-02-12 Listener Since 2009
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    "Adam Smith Their Not"
    What did you like best about This Time Is Different? What did you like least?

    The most valuable part of the book was the data. The least valuable was the analysis.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Put more thought into the analysis.


    Have you listened to any of Sean Pratt???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Did This Time Is Different inspire you to do anything?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 11-13-10
    Richard 11-13-10 Member Since 2014
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    "Long on Data, Short on Conclusions"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    morton Rego Park, NY, United States 11-21-09
    morton Rego Park, NY, United States 11-21-09
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    "Essential Listening!"

    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!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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