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The best known and most highly regarded book on financial crises Financial crises and speculative excess can be traced back to the very beginning of trade and commerce. Since its introduction in 1978, this book has charted and followed this volatile world of financial markets. Charles Kindleberger's brilliant, panoramic history revealed how financial crises follow a The best known and most highly regarded book on financial crises Financial crises and speculative excess can be traced back to the very beginning of trade and commerce. Since its introduction in 1978, this book has charted and followed this volatile world of financial markets. Charles Kindleberger's brilliant, panoramic history revealed how financial crises follow a nature-like rhythm: they peak and purge, swell and storm. Now this newly revised and expanded Fourth Edition probes the most recent "natural disasters" of the markets--from the difficulties in East Asia and the repercussions of the Mexican crisis to the 1992 Sterling crisis. His sharply drawn history confronts a host of key questions. Charles P. Kindleberger (Boston, MA) was the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT for thirty-three years. He is a financial historian and prolific writer who has published over twenty-four books.


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The best known and most highly regarded book on financial crises Financial crises and speculative excess can be traced back to the very beginning of trade and commerce. Since its introduction in 1978, this book has charted and followed this volatile world of financial markets. Charles Kindleberger's brilliant, panoramic history revealed how financial crises follow a The best known and most highly regarded book on financial crises Financial crises and speculative excess can be traced back to the very beginning of trade and commerce. Since its introduction in 1978, this book has charted and followed this volatile world of financial markets. Charles Kindleberger's brilliant, panoramic history revealed how financial crises follow a nature-like rhythm: they peak and purge, swell and storm. Now this newly revised and expanded Fourth Edition probes the most recent "natural disasters" of the markets--from the difficulties in East Asia and the repercussions of the Mexican crisis to the 1992 Sterling crisis. His sharply drawn history confronts a host of key questions. Charles P. Kindleberger (Boston, MA) was the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT for thirty-three years. He is a financial historian and prolific writer who has published over twenty-four books.

30 review for Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    If you're looking for a colorful, narrative history of financial bubbles, this book is not for you. Kindleberger is bone dry, and his goal is mainly to analyze common features of bubble cycles. Towards that end, he tends to pick a feature, then run through ten or twenty examples of how that feature worked during past bubbles. That leads to a lot of repetition, but by the end of the book, you definitely get a clear sense of how the Minsky model views bubbles. I think that's the reason the book If you're looking for a colorful, narrative history of financial bubbles, this book is not for you. Kindleberger is bone dry, and his goal is mainly to analyze common features of bubble cycles. Towards that end, he tends to pick a feature, then run through ten or twenty examples of how that feature worked during past bubbles. That leads to a lot of repetition, but by the end of the book, you definitely get a clear sense of how the Minsky model views bubbles. I think that's the reason the book has become such a classic-- it's probably assigned in economics classes all over the world. But a word of caution to the lay-reader: I have an MBA, and a couple of years of economics courses under my belt-- and some of the discussion was definitely above my head. You'll definitely need to hit Wikipedia to refresh your macro-economic knowledge-- especially at the end of the book, during the discussions of Domestic and International Lenders of Last Resort.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Clausen

    This was the second time reading this book. Honestly, the second time around I found this book to be rather boring. The theme of the book is as timely as ever, and I highly recommend reading something like it if you are interested in manias, panics, crashes (and financial fraud). As with the first time around, I appreciated the lack of bias and the common sense historical approach of the author. But this time around, I found elements of the book problematic. The first problem is the academic This was the second time reading this book. Honestly, the second time around I found this book to be rather boring. The theme of the book is as timely as ever, and I highly recommend reading something like it if you are interested in manias, panics, crashes (and financial fraud). As with the first time around, I appreciated the lack of bias and the common sense historical approach of the author. But this time around, I found elements of the book problematic. The first problem is the academic tone of the book. As a work of financial history, the book often found it necessary to deal with the theories and ideas of non-historians, particularly economists. Why? I found that historical analysis is often useful on its own merits and does not need to play too much with the theories of economists and their models. I also felt like the book would be better served dealing less with other academic works and more with establishing clearer historical narratives. The second problem I found was the author's use of historical cases. As the book develops he uses a historical shorthand, reaching across cases to develop his themes. For someone like me not familiar with all the cases in-depth, this became a dizzying affair. The author has laid out a chart in the book of the book. This chart is useful, but it would have been better if the author had established a clear narrative without haphazard jumping between cases. It's a pain to have to jump to an appendix to figure out where and what is going on with a particular example. And finally, the main thesis of the book: There should exist a lender of last resort, but the market should always be left wondering when and if it will come to the rescue. When I first read the book, I found this argument to be reasonable and well-argued. But having read this argument, I was looking for more the second time around. Some ideas I missed. Some tidbit that would make me rethink the elements of this book. Unfortunately, I didn't find it. I'm still interested in the subject matter and hope to find another book that can take me into the elements in way that is engaging and can challenge me a bit more. If possible, too, I would like this book to have a historical approach...but I would like the author to create clearer case studies and develop the patterns of human behavior in a more cogent way. I'll keep my eyes open for just such a book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    This work, I believe, takes first prize for the poorest editing of any recent read; its downright bad. While the message is important, the work is so choppy, disorganized and repetitive that it was mighty difficult to finish. I had this vision of someone updating this work at the corner bar, after first downing two or three pints of quality ale. Oh, for the poor student that finds this volume required reading. Id be interested to see how the seventh edition compares to the first. I feel a brief This work, I believe, takes first prize for the poorest editing of any recent read; it’s downright bad. While the message is important, the work is so choppy, disorganized and repetitive that it was mighty difficult to finish. I had this vision of someone updating this work at the corner bar, after first downing two or three pints of quality ale. Oh, for the poor student that finds this volume required reading. I’d be interested to see how the seventh edition compares to the first. I feel a brief comment on the current US investment zeitgeist is in order. With interest rates at historic lows, American unemployment at 3.5%, inflation subdued, and a decade of substantial equity market returns, the impression is easily formed that risk and scoundrels have been excised from the system, that economic stability and moderate growth are ensured in perpetuity; the policy wonks have, finally, mastered the calibration of our economic future, having learned from their many prior mistakes. I remember how similarly I felt in the mid 1990s. And then what happened?

  4. 5 out of 5

    James

    Was a bit disappointing, most of the book is about events that happened more than 100 years ago, short coverage of the last 80 years. The book reads like 10 different people wrote parts of it and didn't know what others were writing. Some events are covered multiple times, the south sea bubble has 16 entries, often saying the same thing. Treasury sec Paulson was called Mr. Bailout in 2 separate parts that read the same. I totally disagree that Lehmann bro should have been bailed out. They piled on Was a bit disappointing, most of the book is about events that happened more than 100 years ago, short coverage of the last 80 years. The book reads like 10 different people wrote parts of it and didn't know what others were writing. Some events are covered multiple times, the south sea bubble has 16 entries, often saying the same thing. Treasury sec Paulson was called Mr. Bailout in 2 separate parts that read the same. I totally disagree that Lehmann bro should have been bailed out. They piled on billions of dollars of extra debt the last 10 months trying to become a "too big to fail" bank. Fuld should have gone to prison for that and other things. The author seems to think "money flows" were more important than the corrupt rating agencies giving AAA to junk bonds. Baloney page 120 claims CPA's count the number of beans that firms claim. NOT true, that's the sole responsibility of management. Accountants see that GAAP's are used and that accounting principles are the same from one year to the next. p135 NYSE is owned by its members & provides a trading floor Both not true. p 265 claims that when many firms collapse at the same time its because of the mismanagement of the economy by the monetary authorities. Baloney, the FED didn't rate junk AAA, or make liar loans, or bundle junk, call it AAA and sell to foreigners who didn't realize how corrupt wall street is. p 269 makes the asinine claim that the cost of Lehmann not being bailed out was the total budget deficit of the US gov the following year !!!!!!!!! p299 claims the US housing bubble was from an "increase in the supply of credit" again idiotic The banks will screw up again, what we need to do is increase the required capital to 20% from the very risky 6% at present.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brad Pendleton

    Highly disappointing read. I read the book based on its reputation as the definitive work on extreme economic valuations. I found a disconcertingly disjointed presentation. The book reads like a random sampling of the author's thoughts. There was not a linear/cohesive presentation of any of the historical bubbles.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nick Klagge

    This is a classic book in the financial world, but I was somewhat disappointed with it. Kindleberger uses Hyman Minsky's "anatomy" of financial crises to discuss commonalities between a number of different financial panics from different countries at different times in history. I had been hoping for more of a straightforward narrative description of each crisis, many of which, after all, occurred in unfamiliar settings. But in fact, Kindleberger uses the generic "crisis anatomy" as the structure This is a classic book in the financial world, but I was somewhat disappointed with it. Kindleberger uses Hyman Minsky's "anatomy" of financial crises to discuss commonalities between a number of different financial panics from different countries at different times in history. I had been hoping for more of a straightforward narrative description of each crisis, many of which, after all, occurred in unfamiliar settings. But in fact, Kindleberger uses the generic "crisis anatomy" as the structure of the book, touching on each episode only as it relates to a given part of the anatomy. This can be disorienting for the reader who is not already familiar with the episodes, which description I imagine fits virtually all readers. For those interested in the generic anatomy of crises, I think it's better to read Minsky himself, who is pretty accessible. For those looking for detailed descriptions of specific crises, something like Bagehot's "Lombard Street" is more entertaining. This book ends up being neither here nor there.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lewis Johnson

    Kindleberger's "Manias, Panics and Crashes" is a must read for anyone active in the markets. If you want to learn how to identify downcycles early, and to understand their progression and eventual end, look no further than Kindleberger's work. While other worthy tomes, such as "History of Financial Disasters in 3 Volumes" cover much of the same material, the original organization of Kindleberger's work is what commends it. He disentangles the narrative of many financial disasters into their Kindleberger's "Manias, Panics and Crashes" is a must read for anyone active in the markets. If you want to learn how to identify downcycles early, and to understand their progression and eventual end, look no further than Kindleberger's work. While other worthy tomes, such as "History of Financial Disasters in 3 Volumes" cover much of the same material, the original organization of Kindleberger's work is what commends it. He disentangles the narrative of many financial disasters into their component parts, then works to educate the reader how to identify which phase of the financial cycle the reader finds himself. It is a remarkable feat of simplification. I remember very vividly loaning my copy to a friend one evening, noting the chapter title "The Emergence of Swindles" as a cautionary tale for us to expect the revelation of a major financial fraud, only to see the very next day the emergence of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. My friend was amazed at the power of this book, and you should be too. But Kindleberger had done the work and knew what was next. And he was right! If there was only one book I could recommend on how to understand and navigate financial crises, it would be this book. Ignore it at your peril. Begin your journey here to better knowledge of financial crises.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Francisco

    A good introductory book to the history of financial cycles, but only for people with some background in economics. I didn't like the style. Many times it felt like an endless list of historical examples that illustrate an idea. The idea that financial crises across the world are connected is repeated ad nauseam. Lehman Brothers didn't deserve its own chapter. It doesn't read as a treatise on the economics causes and consequences of financial cycles, panics, etc., and it doesn't read as an A good introductory book to the history of financial cycles, but only for people with some background in economics. I didn't like the style. Many times it felt like an endless list of historical examples that illustrate an idea. The idea that financial crises across the world are connected is repeated ad nauseam. Lehman Brothers didn't deserve its own chapter. It doesn't read as a treatise on the economics causes and consequences of financial cycles, panics, etc., and it doesn't read as an economic history book. It tries to be both, and it fails at both. I don't like the organization of the content by chapters. I still recommend the book, if you are very interested in the topic. If you're in a rush and want to get the gist, read the last chapter. I wonder how this compares to "This time is different." I will find out this year.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    This book was referred to by another book I've been reading. This copy as gifted to me by my alma mater at an event where Professor Aliber, the co-author of this edition, spoke. One of the most dense and therefore challenging books I've read. Every paragraph is jammed with facts. I think the book would be better if it had a few graphs and ignored corruption. There's plenty to digest here without getting into Ponzi, Madoff, or Enron. I also think some more perspective on why credit bubbles get This book was referred to by another book I've been reading. This copy as gifted to me by my alma mater at an event where Professor Aliber, the co-author of this edition, spoke. One of the most dense and therefore challenging books I've read. Every paragraph is jammed with facts. I think the book would be better if it had a few graphs and ignored corruption. There's plenty to digest here without getting into Ponzi, Madoff, or Enron. I also think some more perspective on why credit bubbles get inflated would have been helpful.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I think it would have been a lot more fun to sit down and talk with Kindleberger about his theories than to read this book. He clearly knew a lot on the subject, and I generally agreed with his ideas, but I found the way the book was organized hard to follow. A case of, "I'd have done it differently if I was writing it."

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jim Angstadt

    Bailed early; just could not get into the topic, and the sentence structure and phrasing felt odd. keywords: bubble finance recession

  12. 5 out of 5

    Adam McNamara

    Important material delivered in a dry, difficult to follow narrative.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ari

    Written by an eminent economic historian, this book outlines what I believe is the standard view of bubbles, crashes and financial panics -- three closely related but not identical topics. The author's account goes something like this: From time to time the price of some class of assets starts to rise and people get excited. Often there is some good reason for this -- railroads, canals, tech companies and so forth are real productive assets and people realize at some point that they have been Written by an eminent economic historian, this book outlines what I believe is the standard view of bubbles, crashes and financial panics -- three closely related but not identical topics. The author's account goes something like this: From time to time the price of some class of assets starts to rise and people get excited. Often there is some good reason for this -- railroads, canals, tech companies and so forth are real productive assets and people realize at some point that they have been previously underestimating just how productive. Tulip bulbs with exciting pretty patterns also qualify -- a bulb that produces a new kind of flower is a capital asset, since you can produce many such flowers by cutting. The first third of the book documents this process. As speculators pile in, the price of the asset grows higher than can be justified based on future cash flows. In addition to sincere promoters of the new asset, there are incompetents and frauds promising returns they can't reliably deliver, or have no intention to deliver. Insiders notice this and cash out. At some point the cycle goes into reverse -- often due to some prominent failure, sometimes due to simply a lack of new investors. Prices falter and fall. When people notice the decline, there's a feedback loop where everybody wants to sell "before the crowd" -- hence, the crash. The author traces this pattern with examples going back to the tulips, with special emphasis on English, French, and American panics from the South Sea bubble through 1929. Reading the book at the time I did, it was impossible not to think of Bitcoin. The second third of the book describes the crash and shows that it feels remarkably similar whether it's stock in the South Sea Company or a 2000-era Dotcom company. Sometimes, a bubble can burst without drastic effect (e.g., the Dot-com bubble.) But sometimes the bubble is big enough, or has sensitive-enough investors, that it causes larger scale disruption. In particular, if people or banks had been borrowing against the now-worthless asset, the individual or bank will now be under water. At this point, creditors notice that they need to get their money out before the insolvent party goes bankrupt -- and there's a rush to call in loans and de-leverage. This cycle, if it grows big enough, is a panic. Anybody who was paying attention in the fall of 2008 knows what this looks like. The last third of the book is devoted to discussing responses to panics. The author looks particularly at doing nothing, at declaring bank holidays, central bank cash infusions, and international rescues. The author notes that "bank holidays" [and their shorter-timescale equivalent, the trading circuit-breakers] rarely work -- those devices leave investors more anxious to get out quickly, while they still can, the next time. "Do nothing" is questionable: some problems do go away on their own as investors take their losses and move on; other times, the scale of financial deleveraging does a great deal of unnecessary damage. Rescues (domestic or foreign) do work, but have corresponding challenges -- they risk moral hazard,, and sometimes the rescuer doesn't have enough money to go through with it. The author at length concludes that we are little advanced over Walter Bagehot, the mid-19th-century economic journalist -- it's good to do rescues, when we can, but without being too consistent or predictable about it. The book is written for both a professional-economist and lay readership. The author is at pains to draw contrasts between his view and either Marxists who assert that all investment and money is a sham or radical neoclassical types who assert that there are no bubbles, investors are always rational and things that look like bubbles and crashes are a misreading of the evidence. I found the book generally easy reading though was confused about technicalities at some points.

  14. 5 out of 5

    B

    Interesting book, I would have been able to appreciate it more if I had a better grounding in economic and monetary theory

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alberto

    very complete book about the topic but a bit heavy and at times obscure for the layman

  16. 4 out of 5

    Void lon iXaarii

    The data in this book is very rich indeed, but the read was however rather confusing, in my opinion because of the way the author keeps jumping through history and countries without establishing contexts or a timeline for reasons which seemed to me to be meant to justify categories and groupings that to me seemed not very obvious or at least only useful with the perfect 20/20 hindsight vision of the past. As to his conclusions I have read different views by other authors on some of the panics The data in this book is very rich indeed, but the read was however rather confusing, in my opinion because of the way the author keeps jumping through history and countries without establishing contexts or a timeline for reasons which seemed to me to be meant to justify categories and groupings that to me seemed not very obvious or at least only useful with the perfect 20/20 hindsight vision of the past. As to his conclusions I have read different views by other authors on some of the panics mentioned which made (to me, obviously) more sense. To disclose, my bias is that i found it quite unjust that in his desire to fix or at least do something, the author never seems to me to really ask about the costs born by the average citizen by the requested interventions. Indeed he seems to me to ascribe to the view which seems standard all through history: your government may promise you not to save those involved but eventually always seems to do, at least for those well connected enough. It's happened so many times through the centuries and it's such a recurring theme that (to my personal moral outrage) there's even a general formed strategy (to which the author seems to ascribe) of reassuring lying threats/promises until the last possible moment... followed by a shock and awe hyper reaction with cannons and bazookas. As often is the case in government intervention advocacy situations, the focus is on those seen, and the things that can be measured by those in power, but not the (i believe) bigger hurt to those denied or hurt on the sidelines, be they businesses crowded out (i'm sure there are many industries who would like that amount of government help and support) or individuals who's savings are inflated away (because somebody has to pay for all those shock and awe interventions). That being said however, the book does contain a lot of information and obviously the author knows and has done a lot of historical research. I would love to see more books like this... except with a better timeline maybe :D It's confusing to jump centuries back and forth, skipping countries without contexts. It often felt like the book is written for those who are already familiar with all the events told and is meant as just a synthesis (or rather an interpretation?) of those events.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dale Johnson

    I read the 1st edition written in 1977, published 1978. I understand that the book has been updated in later editions, the 6th written in 2006. It was written during the height of the California housing bubble which saw Bay-area studio apartment rent go as high as $1000 per month when 3-bedroom home mortgages elsewhere were running in the $400-$500 range. It is an eerie foreshadowing of the true mania that seized the country in 2004 when the government communicated its intent to effectively free I read the 1st edition written in 1977, published 1978. I understand that the book has been updated in later editions, the 6th written in 2006. It was written during the height of the California housing bubble which saw Bay-area studio apartment rent go as high as $1000 per month when 3-bedroom home mortgages elsewhere were running in the $400-$500 range. It is an eerie foreshadowing of the true mania that seized the country in 2004 when the government communicated its intent to effectively free the financial markets of regulatory oversight. Given the events of the last 10 years, which so closely mapped to the de-emphasis of financial regulation by President Bush and the resulting toxic mortgage derivative scams that triggered both the mania of 2004-2006 and the panic that culminated in US financial collapse in 2008-2009, I seriously doubt that Kindleberger’s conclusions could have changed, as the model he revealed matches the current events with surreal accuracy. All of his conclusions are drawn from analysis of historical events dating back to 1720, and give a clear and consistent picture of how bubbles and crashes work. I mention events of the past 10 years because Kindleberger could not have foreseen the changes in the financial practices that lead to what has happened, but it has clearly followed his model as if he had been writing today. I gave him 4 stars because some of the historical stuff (especially in chapter 8) got into plain list mode, without enough explanation, as if he felt he was part of a larger discussion the reader was not privy too. Otherwise I would have given 5 stars.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Henrik Haapala

    The last 400 years have been replete with financial crises, which often followed increases in the supplies of credit, greater investor optimism, and more rapid economic growth. There have been 4 waves of banking crises; a large number of lenders in 3,4, or more countries collapsed at about the same time as the prices of real estate and securities in these countries and the prices of their currencies fell sharply. Each country that experienced a banking crisis also had a recession as household ”The last 400 years have been replete with financial crises, which often followed increases in the supplies of credit, greater investor optimism, and more rapid economic growth.” “There have been 4 waves of banking crises; a large number of lenders in 3,4, or more countries collapsed at about the same time as the prices of real estate and securities in these countries and the prices of their currencies fell sharply. Each country that experienced a banking crisis also had a recession as household wealth declined in response to the sharp fall in the prices of securities and real estate, and as the banks become much more reluctant suppliers of credit as their own capital was depleted. The Great Recession that began in 2008 was the most severe and the most global since the Great Depression of the 1930s.” General interesting quotes in this context: “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis. ' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger--but recognize the opportunity.” /JFK ”It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: "And this, too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!” /Abraham Lincoln

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Anyone who picks up this book hoping it may help make sense of what's going on in the world and the economy would be bitterly disappointed. Majority of the text reads as one long list of historic events that author doesn't even recount, but simply refers to. If you haven't read extensively on the history of the events in question it probably would make very little sense and a rather tedious reading. Moreover, any trace of analysis, opinion and conclusions postponed till the very last chapter and Anyone who picks up this book hoping it may help make sense of what's going on in the world and the economy would be bitterly disappointed. Majority of the text reads as one long list of historic events that author doesn't even recount, but simply refers to. If you haven't read extensively on the history of the events in question it probably would make very little sense and a rather tedious reading. Moreover, any trace of analysis, opinion and conclusions postponed till the very last chapter and here it is (big spoiler) "Lender of last resort is a necessary evil". So don't get any ideas. The book also produces an impression of being hopelessly dated, as neither NASDAQ boom-bust of 2000s neither global crisis of 2008 are included. One overall message that seems clear is that borrowing-lending leads to speculation and bubbles in real estate, stocks and some weirder assets again and again, there doesn't seem to be a compelling reason for the insanity to stop either now or any time in the future. The financial systems developed in the wake of the crisis will perpetuate the crisis while pretending to deal with aftermath and pretending to exercise some preventive measures. A thoroughly depressing script.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    There have been many attempts to explain the GFC greed, irrational behaviours, bell curve, derivatives, excessive leverage, failures by rating agencies, regulatory failure, etc, which all can be groups as a demand side shock. This book artfully presents (or had presented) another factor, excess capital floating around in the world built by the current account surpluses from the economic imbalance since 60s. This is more of a supply side shock, which no one has control over after the collapse of There have been many attempts to explain the GFC – greed, irrational behaviours, bell curve, derivatives, excessive leverage, failures by rating agencies, regulatory failure, etc, which all can be groups as a demand side shock. This book artfully presents (or had presented) another factor, excess capital floating around in the world built by the current account surpluses from the economic imbalance since 60’s. This is more of a supply side shock, which no one has control over after the collapse of the Bretton Woods system. We don’t even know the volume of this excess capital, let alone the movement. This indicates, the next financial crisis will occur where this excess capital ends up triggered by whatever the demand side shock mentioned above meaning as long as there is this excess capital, another crisis is inevitable. There may be a way to track the flows of this capital but the financial transaction tax being largely rebuffed by free market capitalists, there does not appear to be any other means to predict or curtail the next crisis but just wait it to happen.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ernie Lavagetto

    This is not the easiest book to read without some prior knowledge of economic history. That said it is probably the most complete book on the history and causes of economic upheavals from the 17th century to 2010 available to the non-economist. In particular the authors have identified what they call the 4 waves of international financial disaster in the last 40 years. Perhaps the most striking conclusion one can draw from their study is how similar the causes of each wave has been. If you take This is not the easiest book to read without some prior knowledge of economic history. That said it is probably the most complete book on the history and causes of economic upheavals from the 17th century to 2010 available to the non-economist. In particular the authors have identified what they call the 4 waves of international financial disaster in the last 40 years. Perhaps the most striking conclusion one can draw from their study is how similar the causes of each wave has been. If you take the time to work your way through this book you will come away with a more sophisticated understanding of words such as "credit" , "liquidity" and "asset prices" and how they are interrelated. You will also come to understand how basic human nature rather than complex financial strategies underlie decisions which repeatedly cycle from beneficial to disastrous consequences for humanity.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenn M

    I enjoyed this book first as an economics student in my undergraduate college course of study. It was read back then as a means to achieving a passing grade on a section test in the economics class. I recently had cause to re-read this book, and was surprised to be able to observe the connections between historical financial crises and economic events in our current economy. With all of the talk about stock market manipulation, derivative fraud, and the imminent collapse of the global economic I enjoyed this book first as an economics student in my undergraduate college course of study. It was read back then as a means to achieving a passing grade on a section test in the economics class. I recently had cause to re-read this book, and was surprised to be able to observe the connections between historical financial crises and economic events in our current economy. With all of the talk about stock market manipulation, derivative fraud, and the imminent collapse of the global economic system, this book rings with the reverberation of truth understood over the long-term. If you want to understand more about today's current economic events in Cypress and Greece and what these mean to the US, Chinese and Russian economies, you should study Kindleberger's book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

    The 2000 edition reads like a playbook for the collapse and bailout of of 2008. Both the descriptions and proscriptions of this book, especially its focus on the lender of last resort, seem to be amazingly prescient though it probably just that this iconic text was on the bookshelf of every major player in the fed at the time. The book is not written for a general audience and some of the econ jargon gave me trouble as a non-specialist but it's not insurmountable. It is a historical and The 2000 edition reads like a playbook for the collapse and bailout of of 2008. Both the descriptions and proscriptions of this book, especially its focus on the lender of last resort, seem to be amazingly prescient though it probably just that this iconic text was on the bookshelf of every major player in the fed at the time. The book is not written for a general audience and some of the econ jargon gave me trouble as a non-specialist but it's not insurmountable. It is a historical and non-quantitative book so it's still a very interesting overview of the many global financial crises since ~1600.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nathanael

    This book was incredibly dense and difficult to read. While Kindleberger knows his stuff, he fails to organise it in a way that is accessible or comprehensible. There are one or two chapters that are (relatively) easy to follow, but the majority leap from historical crisis to crisis with little in the way of context or explanation. This reads like an academic treatise written exclusively for tenured professors in their ivory towers, rather than a book that I can recommend to a lay person This book was incredibly dense and difficult to read. While Kindleberger knows his stuff, he fails to organise it in a way that is accessible or comprehensible. There are one or two chapters that are (relatively) easy to follow, but the majority leap from historical crisis to crisis with little in the way of context or explanation. This reads like an academic treatise written exclusively for tenured professors in their ivory towers, rather than a book that I can recommend to a lay person interested in financial crises and their causes.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jim Rossi

    Like Samuelson says on the cover, I read it and re-read it and thus had no need to kick myself during the Great Recession. I eschewed real estate and stocks and had my my money in CDs earning 4 to 5.5%. Thank you, Mr. Kindleberger! This is not a page-turner so much as a tome of wisdom: to paraphrase Judge Reinhold in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High:" Learn it, know it, live it. A major inspiration for my own first book, the upcoming "The Case of the Cleantech Con Artist: A True Vegas Tale."

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This book has not been updated to explain the current crisis, but it doesn't really need to be. It seems that all crashes have some similar elements. This book is not easy to read, but it is a great analysis of several economic crashes throughout history (from the Holland Tulip crisis to the dot com bust) and explains what happens to the markets and people. Very interesting. Wish I had read it a few years ago.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gary Daly

    I read this book as background research for my economics dissertation. As a history of the causes of, and minutia behind, the many financial crashes and scares the financial services industry has served up during its long and torrid history, it is very good. While the subject matter may not appeal to everyone, a book like this provides essential support for the truism that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. So, read it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Oleksandr Zholud

    Quite an unusual book. Instead of taking crises case by case, the author divides them on stages and gives a very detailed description of what happened on this or that stage, what are the similarities. This is a rare example of literary economics. It can be a very nice reference book but reading it is a bit hard

  29. 4 out of 5

    Johnny

    gave up listening to an audio version of this text about a third of the way in. it is flabergasting to me how an author could devise such a dull treatment of such a fascinating subject. okay between this and the movie 1408 i now know to avoid any book/movie recommendations by russ winter..

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    The classic economic history of capitalisms record of booms and busts. A great antidote to the famous phrase: this time it's different. When you hear this phrase of a boom, sell your shares. Anyway a steady walk through the madness of markets and why free unregulated markets are an insane idea.

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