Canadian Investment Review

Book Review: This Time is Different

Written by Bruce Grantier on Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

1280495_tulipsThis Time is Different:  Eight Centuries of Financial Crises

By Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff

This a brief note on a recent book entitled “This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly”, which I thought our readership might enjoy. Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff have been widely quoted in investment commentaries, by other notable academics, and in the financial press. The book discusses financial crises of all sorts, involving up to 66 countries, and going back to the 1300s. It covers debt defaults (sovereign and domestic), hyper-inflation, currency crises, and stock market crashes.

Among the best known books on financial crises is Charles P. Kindleberger’s “Manias, Panics and Financial Crises”.  Reinhart and Rogoff’s book stands out in that it catalogues both the surprisingly high repetition of financial crises and the equally surprising frequency of participants who believe “this time is different.”

Below is a summary of the Main Takeaways:

The book covers such a vast array of crises, times, and countries, it was hard for me to summarize briefly. For example, there are 100 pages of appendices and 50 pages of references, including both name and subject indices. Suffice it to say, the book represents an encyclopaedic description of many of the past and very recent financial crises and represents a quite valuable reference work for all involved in financial markets.

Bruce Grantier is President, Airth Inc.

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