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America's Bubble Economy: Profit When It Pops Hardcover – Oct 6 2006


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WORRIED ABOUT THE HOUSING BUBBLE? You should be, but don't let it monopolize your agita. There are four other bubbles also deserving of attention, according to America's Bubble Economy: a stock-market bubble, a foreigner-supported-dollar bubble, a consumer-debt bubble and a U.S.-debt bubble. When the five collide in a "bubblequake," the book's authors predict, the air will rush out of the pumped-up U.S. economy, deflating the average American's assets and standard of living.
But not to panic. America's Bubble Economy has a subtitle: Profit When It Pops. Eric Janszen, one of its four authors, suggests keeping 10%-15% of your assets in gold, which he sees rising "to a peak price of $2,500 to $3,000'' an ounce. Janszen et al. also recommend eurobonds and euro-denominated exchange-traded funds, because most of Europe isn't as indebted as the U.S. and its main currency should outperform the dollar.
A former venture capitalist and founder of the financial Website iTulip, Janszen says the U.S. is repeating errors of the Nixon era, including massive government deficits, under-funded entitlements and an unpopular war the government can't fund with higher taxes or special bonds. Throw in today's growing global demand for commodities, and "... all roads still lead to inflation, whether due to energy costs, unfunded deficits or dollar-currency risks," he says.
Janszen, who was rightly skeptical of the Internet craze early-on, tells Barron's that the current stock-market bubble is "a reflection of monetary inflation" rather than future earnings. A more normal trendline, he says, would put the Dow at about half its present level, or 6,000. Now, that's something to worry about.
—Susan Witty (Barron's, November 13, 2006)

Chosen by Kiplinger’s as one of the 30 Best Business Books of 2007

Paul Farrell, Senior Columnist at Dow Jones MarketWatch said on February 12, 2008, "In short, America's Bubble Economy's prediction, though ignored, was accurate."

Review

"More roadmap than crystal ball, this book doesn’t simply advise a reader what’s coming, it tells a reader exactly how to plan and respond. That it manages to predict an awfully troubling near future while still managing to be readable and even funny in spots, is no mean feat."
—Ken Kurson, co-author with Rudy Giuliani of the No. 1 Bestseller Leadership and financial columnist at Esquire

"A sobering financial wakeup call for all Americans."
—C. Thomas McMillen, Rhodes Scholar and former three term U.S. congressman

"Whether you think it goes too far or hits a bull’s eye, America’s Bubble Economy presents a riveting argument for what may be coming and how to make the most of it."
—Philip J. Gross, former CFO, America Online

"Sound advice in these times, America’s Bubble Economy delivers what we need to hear. Its prognosis may be harsh, but these insights are astute, logical and compelling."
—Dr. Rodney Stevenson, Professor of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison, past president of the Association for Evolutionary Economics

"Finally, a way to profit from the government’s reckless spending habits!"
—Jim Goldinger, Managing Director, TD Capital Ventures


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Amazon.com: 52 reviews
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
quick, interesting read Oct. 11 2006
By john jameson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It's a quick read -- big type, cartoons and relatively simple concepts cut it down to one or two evenings -- and not too brain-bending ones at that. The authors feel quite confident about their points, and present them swiftly, without delving deeply into statistics or high-level economics (most points take a common-sense, "when x people do y with z, z goes up or down" approach...often with heavily simplified charts and graphs to illustrate).

If they were trying to sell me on a massive investment plan to get-rich-quick right now, I wouldn't feel sufficiently convinced by their approach. But they're not -- this is a practical guide to a possible future scenario: if the Dollar tanks, and tanks big (and the first half discusses the reasons why that's likely sometime in the coming years), they present sound advice as to what to do with your investments; and, in light of that, what you may want to do with some percentage of them now, as a hedge.

While this isn't Eric Janszen's (of predicting-the-internet-bubble-burst fame) book (he only provided one chapter), the authors' philosophy mirrors that of his "iTulip" Web site -- if you find it intriguing, this will provide background and practical applications. If they're right, and you play it well, things will go very well for you. If not -- even if their reasoning is wrong, their recommendations belong in a well-balanced portfolio at times, anyway.

In-a-nutshell contents:

1) Active bubbles (overinvested sectors, most especially the American currency itself) at play in the American/world economies -- how they formed, how big they are, and what happens if they deflate in tandem

2) What sectors would survive or thrive in the several-year global recession that would result

3) A somewhat tangential last-chapter on the likelihood of the global electronic markets someday evolving out of the current bubble-generating multi-currency morass into global monetary unit

Rather annoyingly, the hyperlinks referenced by the book (most sections have at least one "see x on our site for more information") are all dead at the moment -- but it's a new release, so hopefully they'll finish the site soon.
162 of 183 people found the following review helpful
Basic ideas would fit in one chapter. Poorly edited. Nov. 20 2006
By Bstone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
You can give this book a pass. There's really nothing to it, so save your money. While one might agree wholeheartedly with its premise and conclusions, the exposition here is not the best. For comparison, take a look at Stephen Leeb's Chapter 5 in his "Oil Factor" of 2004 and you will see a much cleaner more informative discussion of just about everything in the "Bubble" book. Leeb is far more succinct and authoritative and manages to avoid what is becoming the most overused word in the language -- "bubble." And he does it in 11 pages.

The investment advice in this book, once you get past all the padding, is to buy gold and euros. The advice on gold at least comes with a cursory analysis of the supply and demand situation, but the advice on the euro is given without support. There's no discussion whatsoever of the economic realities facing the European Union and how they might impact the dollar/euro exchange rates. I'm not saying there isn't a good reason to run to euros, just that it appears nowhere in this book.

One of the other reviewers was as annoyed as I was about the poor editing in this book. In addition to misspelling Warren Buffett's name numerous times, including in the index, there is a general carelessness that made reading each chapter a hunt for mistakes. I expect more from Wiley.

If this is your first exposure to discussion of the multiple problems facing our economy from housing prices, government debt, consumer debt, and foreign exchange risks, it may serve as a readable introduction. However, don't expect too much depth and be prepared for typos and misspellings. A two star rating is pretty generous.
67 of 80 people found the following review helpful
A repetitive, unimaginative bore Dec 22 2006
By ThriftyDrifty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The authors' thesis is correct. Yes, the real estate market, the stock market, and the dollar are part of one big bubble, and America will have gum on its face when it pops.

But the book is a repetitive, unimaginative bore. Points are repeated again and again, ad nauseum. After a couple of chapters, I concluded that the authors, motivated perhaps by fast money, slapped this project together, stretching what could have been a one-page magazine piece into a book. "America's Bubble Economy" is largely bereft of original ideas. The statistics and charts are simple-minded, the writing uninspired. Several times, exasperated, I threw the book down and went to sleep. But, almost certain that their thesis (though hardly original) is correct, I plodded on and finished it, like someone forced to take his medicine.

The only bright spot is Eric Janszen's engaging chapter on gold. Recognizing that gold's value will be as a hedge against inflation, Janszen, slyly placing the words in quotes, says that investors can "make money" on gold. That is, until, at some distant time, gold itself becomes a bubble and pops.

And so the book earns a single gold star, rather than none.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Too many commercials in this book Oct. 26 2011
By Guapo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I don't know if the events predicted in this book are likely to occur. But I was really annoyed by the number of times they mentioned their 800 number so you could call up and buy their services. I feel like I paid for and read a commercial.
36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Mediocre if you Know What's Going on Dec 27 2006
By A. C. Bradford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the other reviewers who have not rated this book high. If the authors are experts they surely have not convinced me of this. Unlike other reviewers, I see the lack of proper editing as less of an issue, as the book was rushed out into the market because of its timely content which is understandable.

The problem I have with the book is that it focuses on America's debt as the only main issue, similar to "Empire of Debt. Unlike "Empire of Debt" this book is more informative, but not by a big margin. While America is in a huge credit bubble, there are many other issues the authors do not address. As a result, they repeat the material over and over and I lost interest.

A much better book (and the best book by far I have read on the topic) is "America's Financial Apocalypse." It details all of the major problems in America and is lacked with an enormous amount of data to support the arguments. The author of this book is clearly an expert.

If you are think the economy is in good shape then "America's Bubble Economy" might be a good place to start your reading. But if you already know about the bubble, you should skip this one and head straight for "America's Financial Apocalypse."


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