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

Critic Reviews

"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)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5.0
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  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

necessary piece to understand the current crisis

This book has a funny title, This Time is Different, but as you read it, it will become plain why it is appropriate. Because, as the authors argue very effectively, everytime an economy has been on the verge of a bubble, and a precious few prognosticators are calling it, the mass of investors say, "this time is different." Certainly true of the present bubble (or the present aftermath) and of 10s and 100s before.

This book is also approachable for the non-economist (I am an economist) if you skip the chunks that the authors themselves recommend you skip in the early parts. That is harder to do with an audiobook, but it can be done (the audiobook is sectioned).

I gave this book 3 stars not because it is bad, or mediocre, but because the actual book is laden with tables and charts. To do it justice I found it necessary to listen to it and look at the book every once in awhile to see the figures (it helped that my employer's research library had a copy). When the narrator, who is good, tries to relate what is in the tables and charts, things get ponderous.

I highly recommend the book. The audiobook is a good complement to it, or vice versa. The audiobook alone is what gets the 3 stars.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Roman
  • Novosibirsk, Russia
  • 01-29-10

Great Book, Poorly Presented - Get an E-book!

What a great book - really puts a lot of tendencies in the economics of the day into a historical perspective. In this respect, it really clears a lot of fog and makes many things clear. However, this book has a very large amount of diagrams and charts which not only illustrate the text, but develop its ideas in a graphical form. Without these graphs the book sounds weird with constant referrals to the stuff you can not see. More so, parts of text - historical anecdotal chunks of data - are simply omitted... So, before spending your credits, find an e-book somewhere on the net - without this aid you are only getting 50% of this book, which is a pity, as this book, being a quite serious research, is, at the same time, is instantly accessible even to a humble armchair economist like myself.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • MORRISVILLE, PA, United States
  • 12-13-09

Buy the book from Amazon, do NOT listen to this.

I had to buy this book from Amazon because I tried listening to it and it's nearly impossible. There are references to charts and formulas that are referred to constantly, not just once in a while. This is an important book and very accessible to the modern lay reader, but not a good book in Audible format.

28 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sjaak
  • Atherton, CA, USA
  • 12-11-09

This time it's different

I just downloaded the tables.... more than 200 hundred pages!

How can this be sold as an audio book. Please put up a big warning before people download it.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The right information, the wrong format

The print version of this book would make for an excellent text for future MBA candidates. Unfortunately, it makes for a poor audiobook for the rest of us.
This work is highly admirable for its scope and rigor. However it's far too pedantic and lacking in narrative to accommodate the audio format.
In fact, it might be too pedantic and lacking in narrative for any non-academic setting.
I say that well aware of the fact that some bookish folk will find that the post-doctoral feel suits them. Be that as it may, the extreme over-reliance on tables disqualifies this work as an audiobook, I think most everybody will agree.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • David
  • Beverly Hills, CA, USA
  • 12-09-09

A poor choice for an audio book presentation

As I listened to a narrator say the words "On table..." or, "In graph...," again, I knew I had selected the wrong book. The authors freely admit that they have avoided a narrative approach as to why economies of small and large scale fall into the same boom and bust cycles. Instead they have relied upon a visual approach, using tables and graphs for the presentation of their arguments and analysis.

While the premise of the tome is intriguing, without a hard copy or e-book of the original text, this is a poor translation to the aural format.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bry
  • Hinsdale, Israel
  • 05-19-10

Good Material; Bad Format - 3 1/2 Stars

This material is 5-star excellent with good narration, but you should buy the physical book as there are many references to charts and tables, so the format gets 2 stars. I listen to audiobooks during my daily commute, so I did not get to see the material referenced.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great content but not suitable as audiobook

The content of the book is great with its long historical view on souvereign debt defaults. After hearing the audiobook it is clear to me that the current developments in Greece etc are not a unique events.

I agree with previous reviews that the audiobook format was very bad. The references to tables and charts gets the listener out of track. Audible and/or the authors should have edited the text before making it into an audiobook.
Therefore:
Grade for content: 5 stars
Grade for format: 0 (zero) stars
All in all: 2 stars

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

disappointing

Not for someone without an economics background. Written like a term paper and too confusing for mainstream readers. Constant reference to charts/graphs/tables is annoying and confusing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Does not work well as an audio book.

would like my money back.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • James
  • 11-20-11

Not for the general reader

Be warned: this is a good book but very clearly an academic text not intended for the general reader. I get the feeling that the publishers may have rushed this out to cash in on all the post financial crisis books. It is a shame as it has a really interesting story to tell and would have benefited from a different edition - indeed book - aimed at the general reader with far less emphasis on data and statistics. (Underemployed journalists take note!). Another problem is that the book relies on sets of charts and data that can't be read out loud as they would be a nonsense. I do think the audible / publishers need to think about this a bit more, perhaps at least provide a PDF to download of the charts maybe?

However it is a good book and if I were reading the paper version it would have got a better rating!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Judy Corstjens
  • 05-05-12

This is not an audiobook

If you compare table 1.2a with 1.2b you will see that the period spent in crisis by developing countries after a sovereign default is comparable to... on the other hand, if you want an audiobook that whiles away the hours of gardening you probably want something more like Malcolm Gladwell.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • stu1815
  • 05-12-17

Too many tables and figures

Too many tables and figures you need to look and analyse to understand the book. This is just not suitable as an audio book.

  • Overall
  • Gøril
  • 02-13-13

A great Economics book, unfortunately without data

Tis is a really interesting, in-depth study of financial, currency and debt crises. It is possible to follow the content in an audiobook, but it is unfortunate that one can only imagine the graphs and tables that are referred to. Would it not be possible to download these as PDFs together with the audiobook?

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  • Sam
  • 04-05-17

too many charts for an audio book

good book but heavily reliant on charts and tables makes it dry and hard to finish as an audio book. buy the real one unless you're planning to listen to it white staring at the pdfs anyway

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • RossRoss
  • 03-28-16

well written

very well thought out and argued discussion. the authors have used fact to clearly outline the risks associated with debt and default.