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The Great Crash Ahead: Strategies for a World Turned Upside Down [Hardcover]

Harry S. Dent Jr. , Rodney Johnson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 20 2011
In his most recent New York Times bestselling book, The Great Depression Ahead, Harry S. Dent, Jr., predicted that the stimulus plan created in response to the first crisis would hit demographic and debt saturation headwinds and ultimately fail. In 2010, the stimulus plan had started to fail, and it was already stalling by the first quarter of 2011. The Great Crash Ahead outlines why the next crash and crisis is inevitable, and just around the corner—coming between 2012 and 2014.

With incisive critical analysis and historical examples, this book lays bare the traditional assumptions of economics. Dent shows that the government doesn’t drive our economy, consumers and businesses do; that the Fed does not create most of the money in our economy, the private banking system does; and that the largest generation in history is now saving for or moving into retirement, meaning slowing growth. This is the new normal! Our banking system borrowed to lend for the first time in history with unprecedented leverage and debt levels of $42 trillion, way beyond the massive government debt. But the government’s promises and unfunded liabilities take the cake, at an estimated $66 trillion and growing!

These massive debts will have to be restructured in a time of slowing spending, and this means a deflationary crisis, which is very different from the inflationary crisis of the 1970s and requires very different personal, investment, and business strategies. Dent and Johnson outline these strategies in very practical detail. In the coming years, the greatest surprise will be that the U.S. dollar becomes the safe haven and appreciates just when everyone is calling for it to crash, while the gold and silver bubbles burst along with the stock and commodity bubbles. And real estate will see another round of declines just when everyone thought it could go no lower. The Great Crash Ahead is about making smart, cautious investments—avoiding the sort of high-risk, high-profit investment schemes that sank the world economy.

The road to recovery will be filled with challenges and will require massive change, such as debt restructuring, plans for greater employment, the restructuring of social welfare programs such as social security and health care, budget cuts, and higher taxes—in short, a revision of the kind of lifestyle that characterized the “Roaring 2000s.” The good news is this process will eliminate tens of trillions of dollars of debt and can make way for growth again as the echo boom generation ascends. Or we can continue on our present course and end up like the Japanese, with no growth and high debt two decades later.

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"Dent brings more very convincing analysis on the unbearable debt that is weighing down the US and world economy. But more important, he brings the unique lens of demographics to show how the Fed's stimulus plan is doomed to fail with the rising savings and slowing spending of the massive Baby Boom generation. A must read book for prospering in the inevitable debt crisis ahead."

--John Mauldin, 4 times New York Times best selling author of Endgame and financial newsletter publisher of Thoughts from the Frontline and Outside the Box

“I have watched Harry Dent's unique demographic approach to the economy and his forecasts for over 20 years. He has seen most of the key economic changes way ahead of most. In fact, he forecast the current economic crisis 20 years ago! He has spoken at many of my events around the world and has helped many prepare for the unprecedented economic challenges we are facing today. But perhaps the best thing about Harry is his very human, understandable and common sense approach to economics.”

- Anthony Robbins, Entrepreneur, Author and Peak Performance Strategist

“You can't accuse Harry Dent of being a wimpy thinker. His new book is full of confident analysis and bold predictions. Whether he will be right about all of it, who can say? But his core theme is fascinating and provocative; his book is a delight.”

--William Bonner, President and CEO of Agora Inc.; author of Dice Have No Memory and Empire of Debt

“While being one of the most bullish and accurate forecasters for 20 years, Dent has always been warning that this great boom would end around 2008-2009. He now sees a bigger crash ahead and a deflationary environment that could ravage your portfolio. His warnings and predictions are well worth reading and taking seriously.”

--David Bach, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Start Late, Finish Rich and Debt Free for Life

“The Great Crash Ahead” sounds ominous, but it doesn't have to be if you know what factors to look at when making new decisions about your career, your investments and your business model. The old remedies won't work anymore, but visionaries Harry Dent and Rodney Johnson provide their unique insight on how to make your future a prosperous one.

--Ed Slott, CPA, author, IRA expert, creator of PBS Special “Stay Rich Forever and Ever”

“Dent is the reigning expert in using sophisticated demographic models to see around the economic corner. He saw the boom of the 1990s and warned that a bust would come in 2008 forward. Now he tells us the worst is not over. Harry makes a clear and compelling case for what could be a tough time ahead.”

--Robert D. McTeer, Distinguished Fellow, National Center for Policy Analysis, and former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

About the Author

Harry S. Dent, Jr. is the president of the H.S. Dent Foundation, whose mission is "Helping People Understand Change." He is the founder of HS Dent, which publishes the HS Dent Forecast and oversees the HS Dent Financial Advisors Network. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Great Depression Ahead, as well as of The Great Boom Ahead, in which he stood virtually alone in accurately forecasting the unanticipated "boom" of the 1990s. A Harvard MBA, Fortune 100 consultant, new venture investor, and noted speaker, Mr. Dent is a highly respected figure in his field.

Rodney Johnson is the president of HS Dent, an independent economic research and investment management firm. He oversees the daily operations of the companies and is a regular contributor to the HS Forecast and the HS Dent Perspective. A graduate of Georgetown University and Southern Methodist University, Mr. Johnson is a frequent guest on radio and television programs to discuss economic changes in the United States and around the world.

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Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
"For the price of wisdom is above rubies." -- Job 28:18 (NKJV)

Harry S. Dent, Jr. and Rodney Johnson combine analyses of demography, prices, debt levels, deleveraging, asset bubbles, and government policies to present a strong argument in favor of major continuing deflation combined with economic weakness and higher unemployment beginning in the next three years and hanging around for some time. While governments are trying to engineer inflation without much success, it's a sobering thesis . . . and well worth studying as a way to be sure that your personal plans and financial practices will allow you to prosper should this well-documented scenario play out.

Naturally, no one can really forecast what's going to happen with prices, economic growth, and unsustainable levels of debt at a given point of time. There are just too many moving parts and too many things that can happen to intervene (such as the sovereign debt and banking solvency crisis in Europe).

Understanding risk is an essential element of gaining financial rewards. The authors provide solid, well-documented arguments for their conclusions that are well worth your time and attention.

If the book has a weakness, it's in perhaps being a little too convinced in the one scenario. If you are looking for financial advice, you may be disappointed that more attention is placed on the scenario than on identifying how specific advice might work out if the authors are wrong in any of their conclusions.

If you have been reading Mr. Dent's books, you'll probably only find the updates on debt and government policies to be relatively new.

That said; it's good to see an update of Mr. Dent's way of thinking. I enjoyed the book.

If this scenario does play out, spend more time thinking about how to go short than this book explicitly discusses. It could be one of the great short selling opportunity periods of all time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Demographics shows the way Nov. 24 2011
This book more than anything focuses on the Boomer's. They are about to retire and will spend less, this will have a big impact on the economy. This is a well researched book with lots of details about Americas Debt, as well as the debt of other nations and how leaders don't seem to consider demographics in the equation. This is one of my 3 best books on this topic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Th Great Crash June 18 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was received exactly as advertised, arrived in a timely manner and met my expectations.
I would order from this supplier again.
I information in this book was extremely interesting and an eye opener
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5.0 out of 5 stars A different slant on the financial future June 14 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a must read for anyone investing/borrowing money. I believe that Harry is right on the mark with most of his predictions.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  79 reviews
108 of 114 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars As a long-term reader of Harry Dent Dec 27 2011
By TS 2912 - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In 1994 I read Harry Dent's "Great Boom Ahead" and it was extraordinarily prescient... he foresaw the demographics-based boom of the late 90s and early 2000s as well as our current economic depression. I went on to buy all his other books and they provide invaluable predictions on demographic-based economic conditions all over the world and over the next few decades.

Harry Dent also provides valuable insights into emerging technologies and business processes.

As long as you follow him on those areas, you will do fine.

But... if you follow his investment advice on equities, inflation and commodities you WILL lose a lot of money (his predictions on stock market valuations were awful as was the performance of his various financial funds).
125 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid Overview - Excellent Research. Why It's Worth Your Time to Read and Share Sept. 21 2011
By javajunki - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Inflation versus Deflation. It's one of the most hotly contested topics in economic and financial circles. As a college instructor and business writer, there are a few authors that I always make a point of reading...Dent is one of them in part because of his deflationary position. He is an unapologetic, hard-core deflationist...I'm not, but there is a great deal of value in keeping an open mind and considering all points of view.

However, Dent is also a superb researcher with a focus/concentration upon demographic research which is worth the time and effort to read in its own right. Unlike many authors that fail to provide sufficient references or resources for their claims (ie, opinions), Dent takes great pain to substantiate all conclusions with research, data, articles and graphics while remaining reader-friendly and engaging.

The first section of the book covers basic economic and fiscal theory, history and the expected "how we got here"...depending upon your school of thought, you may agree or disagree with some of the assumptions but the data is equally fresh and relevant. Dent does a stellar job with this section and really goes above and beyond the same old stale data to truly paint a picture of the madness gripping both this nation and the globe.

Next, the book covers what "to do" and what "not to do" with an emphasis on small business owners rather than merely individual investors. Both are included which is a nice change from solely a personal finance perspective.

Finally, there are pages upon pages of references for those interested in pursuing additional well as the "sales pitches". Now, as for the "sales pitches"...these are a modern irritation which I've never quite learned to live with. There are sporadic insertions inviting the reader to sign-up for a free webinar, newsletter or other throughout the book with several pages of pitches at the end of the book. Aside from that, the authors are fairly restrained and do not skimp on information nor require the reader to participate in sales to access "the meat" of the issue.

As for topics covered...the author(s) make some compelling points regarding deflation at least in the short-term then relate how various investments will perform in light of these assumptions. Real estate, bonds, the stock market at large, foreign investments, small business ownership, multiple streams of income etc are each reviewed. Special emphasis is placed upon retirement planning as well as various other demographic cohorts and associated spending patterns. An excellent overview of government retirement obligations and implications on retirees, future taxation, benefits etc is a "must read" for everyone!

All in all, a well researched book that is well worth the time and effort to read even if you do not agree fully with some of the basic assumptions (ie, rationality for example) or suggested course of action.
88 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read to understand current crisis -- and prepare for it Sept. 22 2011
By Richard Stooker - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Great Crash is Harry Dent's best book, and I strongly recommend it.

Economic doomsaying is nothing new. Howard Ruff and others sold a lot of books in the 1970s advising people to buy gold and silver to survive the "certain" financial disaster that never happened.

And many others now are predicting either hyperinflation or deflation will soon destroy the world's economy.

Dent is different because he doesn't just rail against excess government spending like an Old Testament prophet, but points out a dimension of society ignored by most economists: demographics.

In the late 1980s, while the perennial Chicken Littles were claiming the sky would fall because of the size of the government's budget then, Dent said the 1990s and 2000s would be an economic boom time. Why? Because the baby boomer generation would be entering its greatest earning and spending years.

He also pointed out (yes, 20 years ago) that this would end around 2010 or so, and there'd be a crash, a depression that would probably dwarf the 1930s lasting until around 2024.

We've lived through the boom, and now we're entering the crash, so that's what this book is about.

The theme of this book is that the huge amount of debt we've created at all levels from you and me to all developed country governments -- combined with the aging of the baby boomers and the consequent change in their spending and investing patterns -- is going to slow the world's economic growth for years to come.

In fact, it's going to create a situation that frightens the powers that be --justifiably -- far more than inflation:


Much of the book is taken up with examining the history of the crisis. The government and personal debt that so frightened people in the 1970s is, interestingly, a tiny blip compared to current levels of debt.

Thanks to the financial crisis as individuals we have less debt than in 2008, but still far too much -- especially mortgages on houses that aren't worth what we paid for them. Companies owe too much. State and local governments owe too much. The federal government owes too much. (Not even counting the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare). China and Japan owe too much. And, we've learned recently, many European countries owe too much.

There's no way we're going to pay off the trillions of dollars owed around the world.

Much of it will have to written off. That's the purpose of depressions -- to wring excess debt out of the system, so we can get on with building the next boom time.

But because it's painful, politicians are determined to avoid it. That's why the chairman of the US Federal Reserve System is working overtime to create new dollars, to keep the current system running.

Many current financial doomsayers look at how the government is running the printing presses overtime and are predicting runaway inflation.

Dent says you can't force 60 year old boomers to stop saving for retirement and buy new cars, houses and gadgets -- especially when they're afraid of losing their jobs.

Therefore, once the Fed's extraordinary efforts to keep the economy going fail (and that appears to have started), the crash is going to be deflationary.

That means continued high unemployment, lower prices in general, a collapse in the price of gold, and (wonder of wonders), higher interest rates leading to . . . (drumroll!) . . . a strong US dollar.

Given the current state of the euro (and the determination of Japan's central bank to keep the yen from going up in value), that doesn't sound quite as crazy now as it would have last year.

Dent gives advice on surviving (and profiting from) the crash that is so different than what you usually hear (and ironic given the S&P's recent revaluation of the US government's credit rating) that not everybody will agree with it.

This is a book many will argue with. However, you can't beat Dent on the facts. He backs up everything he says.

You can argue his interpretation, and his conclusion that we're in for a period of deflation -- while most are telling you to buy gold to hedge against hyperinflation.

The foundation of investment risk management is diversification. Placing your "bets" entirely on either hyperinflation or deflation risks the other happening (or, incredible as it seems, neither -- the world's economy has been muddling along for decades, so maybe it will somehow continue to do so), so I stand by my advise in Bring on the Crash! A 3-Step Practical Survival Guide: Prepare for Economic Collapse and Come Out Wealthier to invest in things that people need whether the economy and the markets are up or down.

(Hint: people need food and energy to survive, but NOT gold.)

The problem with predicting the future is that things happen you don't predict. I wouldn't use Dent's projections to "trade" the stock market. He has a poor short-term record. He predicted that before this crash came, the stock market would experience a boom that would dwarf the late 1990s. We know that never materialized.

But he has a great long-term, "big picture" record. Before you sell all your stocks and bonds to buy gold, you need to read his arguments for deflation.
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars you've got to be kidding me March 13 2012
By william jordan - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
So Dent completely fails with his predictions of the "Great BOOM Ahead" where he called for the Dow to be in the 35,000 range by now we're to think he has any clue what he's talking about when he suddenly reverses course with the Dow around 13,000 and predicts the great CRASH ahead? I can't believe anyone is still buying his books.

For the record, if we HAD experienced the great book he predicted and the Dow was around 35,000, it would take a crash of more than 60% just to get down to today's level. So here's a news flash for anyone who would read this book...the crash ALREADY happened. Where the markets go from here is anybody's guess and the author has already shown himself to have no clue.
40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Level-headed approach to the new financial landscape Sept. 20 2011
By Padman - Published on
Dent's predictions may have seemed extreme when he published The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in History, but now that we're amid an ongoing debt problem in Europe and at home, coupled with lingering job troubles, and constant worries on other economic fronts, it seems that Dent was right all along. His perspective in this is more of the same--here he warns of a massive correction in the stock market over the course of 2012 and '13, and suggests that investors avoid it during that time and stay with more conservative investments.

Of course, the critic will claim, Dent has made predictions in the past that have not come to pass (didn't he predict a crash in 2010?). But, one might argue that the various mechanisms and boondoggles that the Fed has instituted over those few years have effectively kicked that can down the road. They haven't alleviated the strains of the economy, though, and instead have made the inevitable correction that much worse.

The underlying argument is strong and can be summed up with some of the rhetoric that Dent uses describing the "madness of the Fed." And who can argue that his is the sensible approach? The only question some investors will ask is whether they can profit from the madness a little more while others start to take more caution.
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