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This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Hardcover – Oct 1 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (Oct. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691142165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691142166
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 16.7 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 862 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #71,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Winfried Fruehauf on Jan. 17 2010
Format: Hardcover
The book "This time is different" is well-researched, so well that it could be viewed as a scholarly entertaining, educational textbook. It is not easily read cover-to-cover in one or even a few sittings. Indeed, it is very demanding on the reader.

The book identifies excessive use of debt as the root cause of some of the most severe economic and financial ills of governments, societies and the business-world over many centuries. Lack of spending discipline, caused by ignorance, greed, lack of foresight, massive governmental intervention and/or acts of Dutch courage, is the driver of excesssive indebtedness. On the flip side of borrowers' inability to repay debt in full and on time is the damage visited upon lenders from the fall-out of insolvency. It could be argued that some or most of the causes of the excessive use of debt are, mutatis mutandis, identical with or similar to the causes of excessive lending. In other words, lack of due diligence is leading both borrowers and lenders into financial quagmires.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the use of debt; however, wrong is excessive use of debt.

The book's title is probably chosen to be facetious. It could, perhaps equally well, have read "same old - same old" and it would have hit the nail on the head, and, as such, would have reaffirmed Ecclesiastes 1:2-11: there is nothing new under the sun.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Trading Central on April 18 2013
Format: Hardcover
Upon receiving the book it was really one so very very different to all the other histories of economic crisis that have been printed that my dismay and shock turned to pleasant surprise. Conditioned to the usual academic rigor of verbose and irrelevant commentary based on borrowed personal commentary from key individuals living during the crisis being reviewed, this book allowed for an easy read supported by solid economic time series presented in a graphical format.

The style is frankly one that takes all the modern tools in the computer age and consolidates the economic information into a useful concordance for the economic historian. The bibliography and references made available are outstanding. The use of graphics and description of relevant time lines for critical events raises the bar for future authors. What is contained between the cover pages is a nicely summarized database that is a useful desk reference for the trader or economic historian.

Most appreciated however is the lack of verbose commentary and personal reflections of personalities who were living through the crises events analyzed. The tone used to describe the events is not the usual PhD scribed analysis or over described rhetoric using obscure economic terms common to other volumes on economic panics. The length of the book also allows for more nights of leisure than the traditional economic history that needs several months or years to get through.

As others have said economic history is not the same read as say Shades of Gray or the latest Stephen King novel of popularized fiction. But this book is by far more readable and allows the reader the opportunity to make their own conclusions of the events and analytical areas under review based on the consolidated economic information presented.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ian Robertson TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 5 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is different; already an important and oft-cited contribution to our understanding of financial crises, it will likely endure as both a turning point and a benchmark for economists and policymakers alike. Reinhart and Rogoff compile and synthesize centuries of economic data, draw both facts and inferences, and offer some predictions as to how the global financial crisis that began in 2006 with the US housing collapse might continue to unfold. A truly remarkable and important work. It requires some effort to read, but at the authors’ suggestion readers can skim or skip some of the more technical parts with no loss of continuity. In fact, those with an interest in only the recent financial crisis can read just the final chapters (13-17) and be well rewarded for their time.

Because it is primary research and because of its analytical rigour, this is first and foremost an academic text. Unlike most academic works, though, it is bereft of formulas and statistical analyses, instead relying on readers’ familiarity with a bit of (economic) history and geography. This is the first work to compile such an extensive set of economic data (sixty six countries over almost eight centuries), and differs substantially from earlier academics’ work such as Charles Kindleberger’s Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises, Sixth Edition, which had previously stood as the best chronicle (i.e. not ‘analysis’) of financial folly. In Reinhart and Rogoff’s book, successive sets of historical data are explained and inferences or lessons drawn.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Zlamal on Dec 28 2011
Format: Paperback
Quick summary - this is NOT a light-reading book. This is doctorate-level, textbook-caliber information that requires a certain amount of passion for the subject, otherwise it is easy to lose focus.

This book clearly had many hours of sweat-labor put into it. The sheer amount of data collected, analyzed and conclusions derived from it is astounding. I commend the authors for committing to such a huge project, and am fully impressed with the results. I don't think I found one spelling, grammar, or other layout error in this book. The overall layout and flow of information was logically presented.

The first 50-60 pages were difficult to read - lots of assumptions and explanations as to how the data was collected, analyzed and presented. Structurally, this is understandable and accepted, but for those that want to "get to the meat" of this book, you can probably just skim this section.

From there on, it was simply brilliant. I will not spoil it for you, but I can assure you that my eyes were opened by the time I finished reading it. I look at the banking and finance industries in a very different view now. A difficult, but almost necessary read for those interested in banking/financial crises of our past.
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