The Only Game in Town

Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse
Narrated by: Dan Woren
Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
3.9 out of 5 stars (241 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

Dr. Mohamed A. El-Erian, one of the world's most influential economic thinkers and the author of When Markets Collide, has written a road map to what lies ahead and the decisions we must make now to stave off the next global economic and financial crisis.

Our current economic path is coming to an end. The signposts are all around us: sluggish growth, rising inequality, stubbornly high pockets of unemployment, and jittery financial markets, to name a few. Soon we will reach a fork in the road: One path leads to renewed growth, prosperity, and financial stability, the other to recession and market disorder.

In The Only Game in Town, El-Erian casts his gaze toward the future of the global economy and markets, outlining the choices we face both individually and collectively in an era of economic uncertainty and financial insecurity. Beginning with their response to the 2008 global crisis, El-Erian explains how and why our central banks became the critical policy actors - and, most important, why they cannot continue in this role alone. They saved the financial system from collapse and a multiyear economic depression in 2008 but lack the tools to enable a return to high inclusive growth and durable financial stability. The time has come for a policy handoff, from a prolonged period of monetary policy experimentation to a strategy that better targets what ails economies and distorts the financial sector - before we stumble into another crisis.

The future, critically, is not predestined. It is up to us to decide where we will go from here as households, investors, companies, and governments. Using a mix of insights from economics, finance, and behavioral science, this book gives us the tools we need to properly understand this turning point, prepare for it, and come out of it stronger. A comprehensive, controversial look at the realities of our global economy and markets, The Only Game in Town is required listening for investors, policymakers, and anyone interested in the future.

©2016 Mohamed A. El-Erian (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"How come the global economy is now run largely by unelected central banks? In this highly intelligent analysis, the author, a respected investor and CEO, explains how elected governments are failing in their basic job to take care of the economy and why this might lead to a massive unmanageable crisis." (Fareed Zakaria, CNN)
"The one economic book you must read now.... If you want to understand this bifurcated world and where it's headed, there is no better interpreter than Mohamed El-Erian.... An excellent primer [and] a guide on what to expect as the world struggles to cope with slower, less equal growth." ( Time)
"El-Erian expertly offers a balanced view, commending the central banks for their necessarily aggressive policy views while noting, for example, the failure of the Fed to recognize the pre-crisis housing bubble.... A grand tour of the challenges we face, along with ideal solutions and more likely outcomes." (Steven Rattner, The New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about The Only Game in Town

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    4 out of 5 stars

Solid Framework

Provides solid framework for thinking about today's issues and organizing how they should be thought about. May be too simplistic for the very advanced econ reader. Thought provoking overall.

3 people found this helpful

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excellent analysis of the impact of central banks

This was a very thought provoking analysis of modern centrak bank policues with suggestions for future action

2 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

I'm more informed than your average person about this topic, yet I found myself often bored by long, tedious dialogue that sometimes strayed from the subject of Central Banks and sounded more like a book on corporate management techniques (I.e. "convergent diversity "). I disagree with the author's premise that these Central Banks saved us from the 2008 financial disaster without the author also considering that they helped cause that disaster via the very same policies that they have again repeated -- mainly starving average people of interest on their savings and re-inflating bubbles in asset prices -- thus exacerbating the income inequality the author is now discussing, and contributing to the rise of outsider political candidates. It is absurd to praise these institutions -- as the author does -- for allowing politicians "the time to get their act together " when common sense dictates that printing money (QE) allowed politicians to completely avoid making the tough, structural reforms that are needed. Why would they when their only focus is getting elected? The author didn't consider the possibility that the "political dysfunction" he mentions was enabled by Central Bank policies. Central Banks through all this interference in the free markets have done a great disservice, and the results are showing up at the voting booths worldwide!

7 people found this helpful

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This book is a marketing rhetoric for central banks

The book follows a collectivist agenda that promotes handing power over to central banks and international organizations. I'm not a big fan of that mindset so I was greatly turned off by the opinions of mr. El-Erian.

6 people found this helpful

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Like a textbook

It reads like a textbook without useful information. Sounds like a politician wrote a “required reading” in high school.

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Talks a lot without saying anything

I was shocked by how little useful content is in his book. He sounds like he is running for political office. For example, he will say something like they need to modernize infrastructure, revamp outdated models, and improve effectiveness. Blah blah blah.

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Unhappily not much new or insightful

Perhaps because it is dated, there was nothing insightful or new in the narrative. Would not recommend.

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Management Bullshit

This book very carefully says things no one can disagree with. E.g. we should have more agility, resilience and do things in new better ways. we should not do 'too much' of anything, or give in to our biases etc. The book doesn't go into further detail with any of this. It overall just says that positive words are positive and negative words are negative. As such the book is quite worthless and I didn't learn anything, and was not entertained.

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Very Cerebral

Very long but informative. Good analogies. A b c d e f g h i

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  • BD
  • 04-02-17

Couldn't finish

The sense I get from El-Erian is that he's afraid to lay blame when it is due. Instead, he tempers his critiques with words like "bold, impressive, courageous", as if he's afraid to offend any friends at the Fed he may have. Because he can't speak straight, he comes off as partial, and for that I found the book a waste of time. He fails to critique public funds insuring private industry's success, yet somehow is surprised, and is not afraid to lay blame, when Wall St "would dare ask for more when conditions were improving", as if such asking were irrational given the fact that handouts were being made. He comes off as a "feely" economist, imparting some sort of moral compass on a playing field of diverse actors, none of whom can be trusted to follow, let alone writing a book in which to express your surprise. Highly subjective foundations for this book's writing.