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Publisher's Summary

How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes uses illustration, humor, and accessible storytelling to explain complex topics of economic growth and monetary systems. In it, economic expert and bestselling author of Crash Proof, Peter Schiff teams up with his brother Andrew to apply their signature "take no prisoners" logic to expose the glaring fallacies that have become so ingrained in our country's economic conversation.

Inspired by How an Economy Grows and Why It Doesn't - a previously published book by the Schiffs' father Irwin, a widely published economist and activist - How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes incorporates the spirit of the original while tackling the latest economic issues.

With wit and humor, the Schiffs explain the roots of economic growth, the uses of capital, the destructive nature of consumer credit, the source of inflation, the importance of trade, savings, and risk, and many other topical principles of economics.

The tales told here may appear simple of the surface, but they will leave you with a powerful understanding of How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes.

©2010 Peter D. Schiff and Andrew J. Schiff. All rights reserved. (P)2010 Audible, Inc

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Christian
  • East Northport, NY, United States
  • 11-15-10

Good idea but it gets a little confusing.....

Peter Schiff is a really interesting guy who is passionate about economics. This book attempts to teach what has happened in the US up to this point and and what will happen in the short term future. My problem with the book is two fold. Firstly, he starts with a metaphor about three people on an island. Unfortunately, the metaphor is extended too far and, so some extent, it seemed to make things more complicated. The second issue with the book is that I thought this was an explanation of the mechanics of economics generally, not a metaphor for the case study of the US. There were some good gems such as, "Inflation is the transfer of wealth from those who have savings in that currency to those who hold debt in that currency." But I would have like more gems like that. I guess it does do the job of simplifying some concepts, but I would have preferred him to stop the metaphor at a point and talk more about reality. Which he did to some extent, but more reality and less fishflation would have been more appealing to me. If you like Peter Schiff, or Austrian Economics, you might as well get the book. If you are new to economics, get Henry Hazlitt's book.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Non-Keynsian economics

I enjoyed this book, although the fish metaphor got a bit stale. I had serious disagreements with the premises several times, but it gave an excellent explanation of conservative economic beliefs. The readers were very good. It is not easy, I would think, to make an economics treatise interesting enough to keep the listener's attention. These readers do so.

A short read but one that will probably stay in your mind for quite a while.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • AC
  • 12-26-10

Educational and Entertaining

Listening to this audio book was fun. I couldn't stop myself but listening till the end before I turned on a radio in my car again. Peter and Andrew made a wonderful job reading out loud. Usually, I don't absorb information well when I hear it but rather when I read it. However, the way the book was read, it was very easy to follow and commit to a memory many important points that authors had to say on a topic of the economy. Being just an engineer and not an economist I do feel now that I know more about the economy than most of the people out there.
Peter and Andrew, thank you so much for taking time and reading the book out loud yourselves.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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At Last...

Both feet on the ground. Reality based. Easy to grasp. Entertaining story line and narration. Bravo!

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Current Economy for "DUMMIES"

If you know something is going wrong with this world's economy and want to know more but get lost in the lingo and "lofty" financial terms, people and bloviating. This book is for you, this simple story tells you how the current global economy works and allows you to make judgments on your own why it failed and where it is going.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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An Oversimplification

This is more of a polemic than an economic argument. It is well written and quite entertaining, but it is not a clear or useful explanation of anything to do with our economy.
There is nothing to be learned from this book so don't waste your credits. I reccommend The Ascent of Money as a much better book on this topic.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • MelbourneAustralia
  • 02-23-13

Painful

What would have made How An Economy Grows And Why It Crashes better?

Lose the fish analogies.

Would you be willing to try another one of Peter D. Schiff and Andrew J. Schiff ’s performances?

I read a review saying that they were (a) humorous and (b) interacting as they discussed the topic. The review was wrong.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from How An Economy Grows And Why It Crashes?

Everything relating to the FISH economy.

Any additional comments?

Buy Peter's other book CRASH 2.0 and read that. It's instructive, and whilst being a promotional ad for his business - it's worth the listen. As for THIS BOOK? I am gonna ask for my money back.<br/>

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Refreshing, Simple, Fun!

As an avid reader of almost all books dealing with economics over many years, I find this one to be the most refreshing reads in a long time. It is simple and fun to read. Not as detailed as an Economy for Dummies type book, but does manage to give a broad overview of how we got to where we are today in the economic landscape. There was nothing new for me in any of the chapters, but I still enjoyed the book for its "look at the forest, not just the trees" presentation. After years of studying the "trees", I just found this to be an entertaining recap of everything I already learned and helps me explain these things to others a little more effectively. This may be one of the best introductionary books for beginners of serious economic studies.

Its the "Pilgrims Progress" of Economics. Just a fun read on the "Dismal Science" that may actually leave you with a better understanding of our current situation than some of the current leaders in the field today.

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

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A simplified and easily understood explanation.


The Schiff brothers (fish spelled backwards?) use...fish... to explain the "economy" so that normal people can comprehend what the heck it is.

This is an easy read for the subject, and was very enjoyable. It explains things so as to give a general understanding, without delving into the boring endless details.

Starting at square one, they uses fish to represent money. This illustration becomes more complex as money backed by the gold standard becomes paper money, and government regulates its worth. All of the participating countries involved in this 'fish' story are specific nations today, and are places in historical context. (It can become a little confusing trying to keep track of the new fish names and who they actually are in the world today, especially if you are like me and do not follow the economy much.)


As the title implies, I feel the authors have accomplished what they set out to do, namely, to explain:
"How An Economy Grows, and Why it Crashes".



Suggestion: Skip the intro.(takes up the first chapter space, chapter 1 starts as 'chapter 2').
Listen to it after the fish story instead.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Grant
  • NANTUCKET, MA, United States
  • 06-18-13

Written for children. Of Republicans.

This book contains a rather childish, simplistic and slanted view of our economy. And if you already understand economics on anything but a 8th grade level, you can pretty much skip it. I found that 80% of the information contained in the book is irrefutable, but a solid 20% is the product of faulty right-wing political thinking. Some examples:

The authors say that government is rife with corruption and waste. While corruption and waste do exist in government, it is likely not fair to paint with such a broad brush given the spending cuts and efficiencies that have happened over the past five years. Government spending is down. While corporate corruption seems to be accepted or overlooked by the authors.

The authors state that markets are the best way to make an economy grow. But they conveniently overlook government programs like the GI Bill, the Marshall Plan and the Interstate Highway act that had massive impacts on the US and world economy.

The authors also largely overlook the substantial greed and corruption in the private sector and discount the notion that there is a fundamental imbalance between the haves and have nots in our society largely caused by the people in their own industry. They are very good at pointing to a problem, and assigning blame (and bringing the same old gold standard argument up again), but they have no true thoughts on what to do to make the US economy more vibrant and diverse and equitable. If they think we will go back to 1920s monetary policy, they are mistaken.

And when the authors, who also narrated this book, started imitating the late Teddy Kennedy while portraying a corrupt politician, I had to shut the book off. Pete and Andy, you're no Teddy Kennedy.

I can deal with the whole economy based on fish on a desert island concept, but they take it way too far. And after an hour or so, it just gets annoying. What I can't take for a minute is the same level of simplicity and black and white thinking applied to social economics and the inequality in international markets. This book is too full of faulty thinking and slanted viewpoints to take seriously.

Run. Away.

30 of 46 people found this review helpful

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  • Dennis
  • 02-09-16

Go and buy emergency groceries

Good book that explains the markets very well on the basis of an fictious island.

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  • Siam
  • 10-01-15

Mandatory for everyone

This book is an excellent guide to basic economics. The narrative style makes it easy to follow no matter what you are doing and the subtle referencing and underlying humour keeps the novel fresh and interesting. I would say this is a must read for anyone in the finance industry but to be honest, based on its educational value, I think it should be mandatory for everyone.

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  • Dainen
  • 03-05-16

Very well written, will change your perspective.

Very well written, easy to follow story, cleverly explains some quite complex economic functions.
Hard to fault the logic and a real eye opener.

I now see the world with greater clarity.