Book Countdown: 3/2/10!

Absent major unexpected developments, the book is due to be published March 2, 2010, or 3/2/10, which strikes me as auspicious.

I hate the need for self promotion, and I hope reader will take this sort of thing in stride. But if I don’t do it, only my publisher will. Actually, Palgrave is treating this as an important trade press title of theirs, and they do take marketing seriously.

One reader asked when it will be available for pre-order on Amazon. I have no idea, but I will most assuredly let you know as soon as I know.

It also turns out that the physical nature of the process means that books are shipped and in many stores before the official pub date, which is set so as not to put smaller stores at a disadvantage. That means you may see it out on display in some places before the official release date. Similarly, on occasion I have seen books sold on Amazon before the official pub date. So despite having an official date, it seems unless you are J.K, Rowling, books dribble out into distribution and start to on offer around the official release date.

The subtile isn’t final, and I worry that the “free markets” bit, while catchy, implies that the criticisms the book makes are narrower than they are. I also (not surprisingly) take on financial economics, which my economist buddies see as part of the free markets canon (common assumptions about behavior) but a lot of laypeople do not (i.e., many professionals who use models and concepts based on finance theory are apolitical or not necessarily “free markets” adherents).

Regardless, the choices steer clear of what reader Richard Smith depicted as Straggle: How Publishers Blunt The Impact Of A Snappy Title By Trying To Crowbar Quite A Detailed Synopsis Into The Subtitle, Possibly In The Hope That Somehow The Whole Sorry Thing Will Get Read Out On Air, Ideally At The End Of The Book-Plugging Slot.

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  1. jbmoore

    I hope you'll be able to sell the e-book from this blog. (Though I prefer books myself.)

  2. attempter

    That cover looks good!

    The tightroping jackass has nothing to counterbalance his briefcase (like say a poetry book or a musical instrument) – of course he's going to fall.

    But why is the briefcase in the LEFT hand? Or does that mean the toppling will be toward the left?

  3. vlade

    Good on ye!
    I have to say I don't like the subtitle either, as it can imply all of
    – free markets don't work; or
    – there never was a free market, and the myth that there was caused the problem; or
    – all the things you wrote.

    Maybe it's a good thing to imply contradictory things as both camps end up buying it – but maybe both camps will not :)

    I'll happily wait for a review in Economist before I buy ;)

  4. Views By a

    Like the title.

    I guess you know of John Quiggin's prospective book on the failures of economics.


  5. rahuldeodhar

    congrats! Look forward to updates on this one. It def will be a must buy for many of us.

  6. gordon

    Good luck with the book. If you have time for further amendments, here is a mathematical analysis that is worthy of consideration.

    Even if you cannot add it to the book I think it deserves further consideration and comment as a singular proof that the whole GFC that we are seeing is the result of the biggest crooked pyramid scheme in the history of the world.

  7. Ina Pickle

    Congrats on the release date! Personally, I like the subtitle. I suppose that you could change it to "how the invisible hand pushed us off a cliff." But I like your subtitle better, because it is a bit ambiguous. Why do we need to tell it all in the subtitle? There were a number of myths at work, but the religious belief in the superiority of "free market" solutions was the worst one. Nothing is ever that free.

  8. Keenan

    Attempter wrote:"The tightroping jackass has nothing to counterbalance his briefcase"

    The "invisible hand", not Adam Smith's but the US Treasury, has a solid grip on his right.

  9. Anonymous

    As we have noted, you are the princess of snark, not to mention taste, and the book sounds terrific.

    The subtitle really isn't accurate. It's more the slogan of the free market or the use of it as a justification for scams, but I can't see a catchy way to put it.

  10. Minh

    Congratulation from Poland.
    I hope to be able to read it online.
    You know how it is here :-)

  11. Clark

    Yves: I think it will be a great book, based on the quality & quirkiness of your commentary and selection of links & articles on your blog. But I question also the "myth of free markets" phrase, because of the implication (I'm sure you don't intend this) that a Hayekian spontaneous order is part of the problem. None of this would have happened without the type of "central planning," so to speak, that the banking cartel was able to arrange.

  12. re

    Guessing that it's not entirely accurate, I also don't much like the "myth of free markets" thing. Hard to come up with an improvement that's equally short. My best effort is:

    "How markets rigged by hubris and greed crashed our economy"

    The cover mock-up has a great 50s B movie feel to it. Although I'd quite like to see at least a hint of smouldering wreckage in the background below the tight-rope guy.

    Anyway, best wishes for the book's success.

  13. Siggy

    Congrats and Good Luck!

    I hope the book sells very well. What is lacking in the public realm of economic discourse is the kind of lucid questioning that your blog brings to us every day.

  14. "DoctoRx"

    Congrats and good luck!

    Great title

    Re the subtitle, it might look out-of-touch if the economy is in an up-phase in 2010, even if it is a Fake Recovery. A "past tense" subtitle might be safer.

  15. Benign Brodwicz

    How about "How Government By Greed Wrecked America"?

    And what to do about it?


  16. PB

    Now this is a book to look forward to! Congratulations (and really nice cover design).

    Are you going to have an Antidote du Jour for each chapter? I have a feeling they will be needed.

  17. Anonymous

    I don't quite get the title, but that may just be because I'm not a native English speaker.
    From the word only, I'd assume it's a mix of 'economy' and 'conned', but the colors seem to disagree and indicate that it is a contraction of econ-omy and ned-something. Is this what is intended: ? I'd never heard of neds before.

  18. Anonymous

    Congratulations on all your hard work. I hope the book does well for you.


  19. Slug

    I just pre-ordered it on Amazon. No cover art shown, $17.82. "This title will be released March 16, 2010."

  20. Anonymous

    How about "the cult of free markets"? "The cult of unregulated markets"?

    And yes, antitotes du jour would be a nice addition. Some days they're the difference between mere hopelessness and utter despair.

  21. Anonymous

    Congrats, and many thanks for this blog.

    I preordered as well………I love Amazon too………

  22. Kyle Napierkowski

    Seconding the dislike of the term "free markets" in the subtitle, and also not a fan of the "cult of free markets" etc. Most of what we read on NC has something to do with regulators and central banks being in bed with private institutions. This is most certainly not a problem with free market, but instead with the non-market power granted to governmental institutions.

    If I'm missing the point of the book then maybe I've just been misreading NC for the past year or so since I found it?

  23. attempter


    I think the point is that the term "free market" is a scam.

    What the corporatist ideologues call the free market in their textbooks does not exist and never can exist, while what they call it in practice is really rigged markets, rent-seeking, and organized crime.

  24. Erich

    The subtitle sounds great to me. Even today, we hear talk of consumers having access to a "free market" when it is clear not everyone has perfect information. When I bought my house in 2003 there was an article in the WSJ in which the director of HUD acknowledged he did not understand the documents at his own house closing (if I recall correctly). It was remarkable.

    Obviously, the too big to fail banks got a lot of help while even now people talk about the sanctity of free market employee contracts.

    Congrats and good luck.

  25. Anonymous

    More like "how 70 years of market-distorting regulation and intervention made another, cyclical, financial panic much worse than it had to be."

    A subtitle expressly railing against the 'free market' (when the market has been anything but free in either absolute or relative terms) makes an author sound pretty ignorant of history and economics to be perfectly honest.

  26. Anonymous

    Congratulations, Yves! I'm sure you have been true to yourself.

    I also dislike "free market". It's becoming hackneyed. Could I suggest

    "How the word "FREE" wrecked our economy"

    It is direct.
    It is abstract.
    It invites a question.

    Anyway, it's only a suggestion.:)

    John C

  27. Leo Kolivakis

    Those of us that studied eCONomics in university know that behind the esoteric equations lie real policy decisions. The myth of the "free markets" has been exposed many times. The 2008 implosion didn't just happen. There were policy decisions undertaken by both Democrats and Republicans that led to this mess.

    I congratulate Yves for having the patience and tenacity to sit down and write a book. I have read over one hundred books on investments, but something tells me this one will really be worth my time and energy.

    Bravo Yves, and I hope to one day follow-up and write my own book, or even a movie script about the pensions debacle. If you thought Wall Street was good, wait till I am done with my movie script!



  28. MarcoPolo

    Nice, Yves. What could make it a really, really, even better good book would be that there were just a few personalized copies made available to long time followers.

  29. MarcoPolo

    Start mine, To MarcoPolo:[insert anything you want (prefer it follow blog guidelines – no ad hominid attacks:)]

    I'll be proud to own it.

  30. Anonymous

    Precious and uninformed brighty.- Please, do take the time to explain how you blame this crisis on the free market when the world has a centrally-planned entity aka The Fed to dispel that notion. By the way, Marx's fifth point on the Communist Manifesto recommended that money sholud be controlled by the state, and this, in turn, should lead to the centralization of credit. Just what happened fopr following Karl's recipe. Screw you and your ignorant fellow countrymen.

  31. Capricorn

    Yves, congratulations on getting it done! Looking forward to reading it – but March 2, 2010 is a long, long way away – both from a personal sense as well as possible input to policy development. I guess it is far too late to consider some form of e-publishing?

  32. Hugh

    I think the myth of free markets was that they were free, that they were self-correcting, and that they found the most efficient, optimal solutions. Only this last was really true. Unfortunately, it invariably the optimal solution was to cheat.

    Ina, I like your suggestion about the invisible hand pushing us over a cliff. I think it gave us an invisible finger after doing so.

  33. skippy

    A bit of A/V background, takin u to 1975.

    Book release Jones, I got a Book release Jones
    Got a Book release Jones, oh baby, oo-oo-ooo

    Yes, I am the victim of a Book release Jones
    Ever since I was a little baby, I always be readblin'
    In fac', I was de baddest readbler in the whole neighborhood
    Then one day, my mama bought me a book by Yves
    And I loved that book
    I took that book with me everywhere I went
    That book was like a book to me

    I even put that book underneath my pillow
    Maybe that's why I can't sleep at night
    I need help, ladies and gentlemens
    I need someone to stand beside me
    I need, I need someone to set a pick for me at the free-throw line of life
    Someone I can pass to
    Someone to hit the open man on the give-and-go
    And not end up in the popcorn machine
    So cheerleaders, help me out

    {cheerleaders sing repeatedly…}
    (Book release Jones, I got a Book relase Jones)
    (I got a Book release Jones, oh baby, oo-oo-ooo)

    {while Tyrone Shoelaces aka skippy sings/speaks…}
    Oh, that sounds so sweet
    Sing it out
    C'mon Coach Booty Yves, Red Blazer, sing along with me
    That be bad, honky
    I want everybody in the whole stadium to stand up and sing with us
    Oh yeah, sing it out like you're proud
    All right, everybody watchin' coast-to-coast, sing along with us
    Doc H/ Richard Kline/ Leo K, sing along with us
    NC Regulars, sing along with us
    GS Frat boy choir, don't sing nothin'

    Oh, it feels so good
    Gimme the book
    I'll go one-on-one against the world, left/right-handed
    I could stuff it from center court with my toes
    I could jump on top of the backboard @ FED window, take off a quarter, leave fifteen cents change. I
    could, I could readble behind my back. I got more moves than Ex-Lax. I'm bad; I could
    readble with my tongue. Here I go down court, try to stop me You can't stop me, 'cause I
    got a Book release Jones. Here I come. That's my hook shot with my eyebrow. Yeah, I could
    dunk it with my nose I'm, I'm bad as King Kong, gimme the book I'm hot, I'm hot as…,
    I'm hot as…, I'm hot as… uh Uh, uh, uh, uh

    (book release Jones, I got a Book release Jones, I got a Book release Jones, fade.

    Yves' I have a special place for your book in my Library, between Samantha Powers "A PROBLEM FROM HELL" and J M. Diamonds "COLLAPSE"

    Skippy…tearing across the Nulabor before Yves gets a bead on me.

  34. run75441


    Marco beat me to it. I assume if I buy it and mail it off to you, you "may" be willing to sign it?

  35. Yves Smith

    Marco and run,

    I'd be delighted. Let me talk to the publisher, they might be able to arrange for a certain # of copies a simpler process that would reduce the amount of shipping required.

  36. ComparedToWhat?

    Congrats Yves.

    The brutal two-tone image seems appropriate, and I mostly like the subtitle and how it's centered on the cover above the title. The graphic and the emphasis on the word "myth" would be enough for me to pick it up in a book shop even if I'd never heard of you. "Econned" seems puzzling and intriguing; draws me in.

    But in place of "wrecked our economy" I would suggest something like "wrought global mayhem".

    I experienced a regional collapse (my hometown of Pittsburgh) and a national collapse (Japan). What's different this time is the global scale — here I am living the Cali-pocalypse, Ireland's going through its version, Guangdong and its toy factories, ad infinitum.

    While "our economy" may be correct, I'm afraid it might come across to some as parochial. That would be a shame, as one of the reasons I follow this blog is that your perspective is anything but parochial and I expect that's true of the book as well.

    BTW I only started following NC last Fall, but your writing seems to have tightened up quite a bit during the course of working on the book. I'd like to see you explore some tangents that didn't make it into the book in longer form than blog posts, maybe NYRB?

    Anyway, cheers & congrats & thanks for blogging! Very much looking forward to it.

  37. MarcoPolo

    Latin- Who needs it?

    Smith: Mine goes on the shelf with independent thinkers between Rushdie & Solzhenitsyn

  38. Nick von Mises

    While I'll certainly be buying the book (been a loyal NC reader for 2 years) I'd have to say that if I didn't see your name on the bottom of this book cover I'd just assume it was one of these Naomi Klein type "free market bad, socialism good" books. It would be easy for a book store browser to take the following as implicit:

    – Free markets don't work
    – Economic logic is a fraud (as opposed to the current economic orthodoxy)
    – Government and politicians are nowhere to be seen in creating the mess

    Maybe that'll help it sell, given all the anger and the "failure of capitalism" meme. Maybe that's a good thing because once those people get into the book they'll be swayed to your nuanced position.

    Just my thoughts. Perhaps a tag line like
    "How Wall Street and Washington strangled the markets and wrecked our economy"

    Not so catchy, though :(

  39. attempter

    While I'll certainly be buying the book (been a loyal NC reader for 2 years) I'd have to say that if I didn't see your name on the bottom of this book cover I'd just assume it was one of these Naomi Klein type "free market bad, socialism good" books.

    If it's as good as Naomi Klein's corporatism bad, real democracy good books, it'll be an excellent book indeed.

  40. carol

    congrats with the book!!

    Sorry for my late comments, but i have a few:

    I like the title!

    I share your and many commenters' doubts about the subtitle. Judging from your blog, the problems were not due to 'markets' of whatever kind, but due to a certain kind of people: the insatiable greedy ones, with no integrity not conscience. Stefan above mentions 'cult'; Simon Johnson mentions 'oligarchs'.

    You did not say anything about the drawing: a male rope dancer with a briefcase.
    That may suggest that while he (bonus banker et al. ?) obviously has fallen of the rope last year, it would not have been a given: if only he had kept his balance, the world econ. would still be OK. Judging from your blog, we agree that due to the fundamental imbalances being built-up (higher and higher debt compared to lower – in real terms – income; trade imbalances, etc.), it could never have been balanced. Hence, an upside down pyramid (scheme) or overblown bubble balloon might give a better picture. (Also I'd give the man – on the toppling pyramid – a laptop or iphone or blackberry instead of an old-fashioned briefcase: fast computers and intraday trading instead of investing versus the old-fashioned 'banking is boring' are a (small) part of the problem).

    "wrecked the global economy" instead of only "our economy" (see also comparedto what above).

    As not all the potential book buyers will know about naked capitalism, I suggest "creator of the naked capitalism blog" underneath your name.

    Thanks for your blog!! and lots of good wishes re the final touches of your book!!

    P.S. I once read that a fan of a book by historian Howard Zinn bought 500 copies of Zinn's book and sent it to each member of congress. It could happen again ;-)

  41. Charles

    I would replace "free markets" with "deregulated markets" if I were you. Markets ought to be free by essence (you don't want to be squeezed into buying or selling something against your will), but need to be regulated to ensure fairness.

  42. john bougearel


    Love the book cover. When I first went down to work at the CME back in 1994, the brokerage firm RB&H had designed for their floor traders and brokers black trading jackets with a patch on them that said "Free Markets for Free Men" ~ as I have come to know, love, and hate the financial markets over the years, that tagline has always struck me as absurd, as if it were a double oxymoron.

    Skippy, ~ you are one mad dog!

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