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Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles Hardcover – 3 May 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (3 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846145562
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846145568
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.9 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 428,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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In lucid prose Sharma overturns conventional wisdom, highlights new trends, and discovers new sources of growth. This is the most interesting book on the new economic landscape that I have read in years. (Fareed Zakaria )

A fascinating gallop through the countries at the edges of the developed world. Not only does he challenge the accepted wisdom - that China and India will motor on, ad infinitum - but he comes up with some surprising candidates for the next decade's economic stars. (Sunday Times )

This is a great road-map to the new and better-balanced world in which we will all live, and an encouraging one. (Independent )

This is a book of fascinating analyses which argues that the growth nations of the future will emerge from the margins of the world economy. It will tell you the price of a cocktail in Rio and bases one fruitful line of argument on the cost of a bedroom in the Four Seasons hotel chain around the world. (The Scotsman )

Breakout Nations works best as a compilation of highly illuminating country vignettes - similar, say, to Michael Lewis' Boomerang (2011) - rather than an overarching analysis. But this is hardly an affront. As with Mr. Lewis' work on the European crisis, for sheer readability and insight on the various parts of the ongoing developing world drama, [....] you won't find a better choice... (Jon Anderson, Wall Street Journal )

About the Author

Ruchir Sharma is head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley, a position which lends him a truly global perspective and first-hand experience of the world he is describing, as well as affording him unique access to top CEOs, key finance ministers and heads of state. He is an occasional television commentator, on CNBC and in India, and a regular columnist for Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal and the Economic Times of India.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Andres C. Salama on 19 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
An interesting book by Indian born economist Ruchir Sharma, the head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley on which emerging countries he believes will be able to break out on the new few years.

Sharma is bearish on Thailand (too much political instability – this was written before the recent coup), Malaysia (the government is increasingly hostile to market mechanisms), Taiwan (the economy is centered on the export of a few products, like computer components, in which companies don’t have a lot of market power), Mexico (the economy is in the hand of just a few businessmen, more interested in gaining rents than in generating genuine growth), Brazil (there is still a lot of macroeconomic instability and the country has not invested in the infrastructure needed for future growth), Russia (based on natural resources and dominated by oligarchs) and South Africa (the economy is too regulated, and too much of its wealth is concentrated in too few white hands). In the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, he likes the future prospects of Poland and the Czech Republic over those of Hungary and Bulgaria. He thinks China has already consumed all the low hanging fruit and will be growing at more normal rates in the future. Regarding Vietnam, while admitting the recent years have seen large economic growth, he doubts the country will be able to turn into a second China (its education system is poor and its politicians are less able than the Chinese). India needs to tackle crony capitalism if it wants to pursue a sustained path of high economic growth.
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Format: Hardcover
"Then He saw wisdom and declared it; He prepared it, indeed, He searched it out." -- Job 28:27 (NKJV)

Books designed to highlight relative investment opportunities are very difficult to write. First, they quickly become dated. A newsletter would seem like a more appropriate place to share the information on a regular basis. Second, you have to know a lot about many subjects or your observations don't have much value. Third, if you don't include information that investors want to know, they don't see much value in what you provide. Fourth, there's a tremendous amount of fact-checking required unless you just wing it. Fifth, it can be dry, dry, dry.

I found that Mr. Ruchir Sharms, head of Emerging Market Equities and Global Macro at Morgan Stanley Investment Management did an above average job in Breakout Nations.

Here's the good news. He's been to these countries and provides "on the ground" perspectives that go beyond the usual statistics. He tries to pick on bigger themes so that his observations won't go out of date so fast. He also warns readers on what to watch out for should things change (as they inevitably do). He addresses industry sectors where there should be divergences within a nation. He also has a mental framework that he uses to size up markets and pretty consistently applies that method to his reports. He also has a pleasant writing style that relies a lot on anecdotes and factoids that serve as straws in the wind to make his points.

Here's the bad news. It is dated. You'll learn an awful lot more about GDP potential than individual stocks to buy. It's awfully thin in covering some nations. I didn't always feel confident that I could draw the indicated conclusion from the facts presented.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
One small consolation for the current economic pantaraxia is that many very helpful, intelligible and readable books on economics are being written and, it even appears, read. Whether or not you agree with me that we the democratic public have an outright duty to try to understand the economic issues we are invited to vote on, there is no denying that we are being given the opportunity. Ruchir Sharma comes with impressive credentials as the head of Emerging Market Equities at Morgan Stanley. That makes him knowledgeable, in addition to which he is a practising journalist, most publicly in Newsweek, and that has made his writing a model of clarity. What this book is about is economic growth. It is not about the question whether such growth is a good idea, although I suppose it is assumed to be some kind of good thing for the most part. Spurts of growth funded with easy money are not commended, but Brazilian-style constipation with growth opportunities neglected and postponed gets the thumbs-down as well. Subject to rational limits like these, the nations that Sharma inspects are assessed by their growth potential. Growth is also never asked to justify itself as an alternative to, say, freedom or social justice, and this approach at least makes for simplicity.

This is not to say that Sharma makes the mistake of trying to view economics in isolation from politics. For me, economics is a form of sociology - the study of how people behave en masse in the financial sphere. I can't foist this view on Sharma, but he says nothing that leads me to change it. Indeed, his political attitudes are a breath of fresh air in that stifling miasma of prejudice. You can see what I mean from the economies that get the best ratings from him. South Korea comes off best, and I suppose that is nothing surprising.
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