Reader Query

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Given that we are (hopefully) going into a time of year when the news will continue to be less than gut-wrenching, and therefore provide less ready grist for blogging, I wondered if any readers might enjoy taking a hand at a book review. It can take either the “what is this book about and do I think it is any good” form, or the essay approach, using the book as a point of departure for a broader discussion of the general subject area.

I am open to ideas, but these would seem to be ripe candidates:

Animal Spirits by George Akerlof and Robert Shiller

Bailout Nation Barry Ritholtz

Lecturing Birds on Flying: Can Mathematical Theories Destroy the Financial Markets? Pablo Triana

Mr. Market Miscalculates: The Bubble Years and Beyond James Grant

When Giants Fall: An Economic Roadmap for the End of the American Era Miichael Panzner

If you are interested, please ping me at Thanks!

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  1. Vijay

    Hi Yves, I’d like to see you review Tom Woods’ Meltdown. It’s been on the New York Times best-seller list and has outsold most of the books you’ve listed. Students of the Austrian school of economics who are also loyal devotees of your blog would benefit.

  2. Michal

    Hi Yves, What about FT’s Gillian Tett new book? I like her articles in FT, would like to know if her book is any good and on the level with her articles…

    BTW Great blog. My daily must read. Thanks!

  3. Independent Accountant

    How timely. I posted a review of “When Giants Fall” yesterday.

  4. PB

    What about “Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller” by Jeff Rubin (of CIBC World Markets fame). It has been getting quite a bit of attention in the mainstream press here in Canada, which is surprising given its ‘radical’ message (de-globalization, return of manufacturing jobs to North America, less diversity in food choices, etc.).

    Would be really interesting to review this from the perspective of implications for the financial industry and so forth.

    However, haven’t had time to pick up the book yet. I’ve got a certain exam on June 6th which is currently consuming my life.

  5. Neal

    ….Why would this time of year be less than gut wrenching?….

    Who has guts left to wrench?

    Actually, I agree–it seems there will be worse to come and at a faster rate.

  6. Yves Smith


    There is generally less juicy news in the early months of summer. The US is getting a bit European in trying to avoid major stuff over the summer, even if our holiday calendars don’t reflect that. That of course is an orientation rather than anything one can control, but I have noticed starting in the mid 1990s (and confirmed by other people I know) that big companies really try to avoid major actions/projects in the July-August timeframe, and have started backing up when they think it is suitable to start them to avoid that period earlier and earlier, despite everybody being more wired and execution times being faster than when I was younger. Not that people can control events, of course.

    We do have the saying, “Sell in May and go away.” Markets do generally trend down May to November, but that does not mean catastrophe. We did have the Bear Stearns hedge fund meltdown in June 2007, but all the acute phases of the crisis (Aug-Sept 2007, Nov-December 2007, March 2008, The dot bomb era started in early, not late, spring. Sept-Nov 2008) all skipped this period. Now history is no guide necessarily…..

    I have amended the post (dumb, should have put this in the body), but if you are interested, please ping me at Thanks!

  7. attempter

    PB said: “What about “Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller” by Jeff Rubin (of CIBC World Markets fame).”

    I second this suggestion, and if you’re volunteering, PB, I hope you get around to it. I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to read any new Peak Oil books myself, but the reviews of this one look interesting.

    (Though I don’t quite follow the title. The whole mantra of globalization has been how it makes the world smaller and “flat”. It seems to me Peak Oil, the rolling back of globalization, and relocalization will, as it were, re-embiggun and resphere the world.)

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