Customer Reviews


42 Reviews
5 star:
 (31)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Foundation, But Read Around
This book is written by "Dr Doom", whose story is a take on the impending collapse of the US economy in the context of a fictional economy based on the value of fish. It is an amusing tale, highlights of which include an obvious allusion to George W Bush and his southern drawl. It's a quick read, and I finished it in a day (but I am a quick reader). For somebody who knew...
Published on 13 July 2010 by Jack

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Promising start, underwhelming from chapter 10 onwards
The book aims to explain macroeconomics using a simplified island economy as a model. This is very well done, especially in the early chapters in order to explain the dynamics of consumption vs investment and resulting productivity gains.

Unfortunately the model has al flaw in that it does not replicate the monetary system adequately. In the real world the...
Published 10 months ago by C Herrmann


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Foundation, But Read Around, 13 July 2010
This book is written by "Dr Doom", whose story is a take on the impending collapse of the US economy in the context of a fictional economy based on the value of fish. It is an amusing tale, highlights of which include an obvious allusion to George W Bush and his southern drawl. It's a quick read, and I finished it in a day (but I am a quick reader). For somebody who knew nothing - literally nothing, about economics I feel it has given me a great foundation and incentive to find out more. It explains basic concepts such as inflation and interest rates with a refreshing lack of esotericism and this has undoubtedly inspired me to read more.

The introduction makes it clear that the author is a firm adherent of the Austrian school of economics, naturally opposed to the contemporary economic policies of the USA of spending more and providing more and more stimulus to keep consumers spending. The bad thing is that you learn much from Schiff's views, but the whole publication is very one-sided. As such the reader wonders whether the criticism of Keynesian policies is justified. However, this one-sided approach is perhaps rife in publications of this sort. Hopefully those who purchase this book have the sense to read around and find ideas that make the most sense to them. But if Schiff's purpose is to create a convincing argument against Keynesian economics, he very much succeeds.

This book is suitable for all ages. It comes with illustrations, which while very amusing can sometimes appear somewhat condescending. Nevertheless, it's a fantastic book for anybody who feels they should know more about economics, and it explains the basic principles with considerable clarity.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fishy story, 10 Aug 2010
By 
J. P. Maciag (Peterborough UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Economics is bewilderingly complicated because there is so much disagreement amongst the professionals...the economists. So, just when you think you have understood what is going on around you by listening to the BBC and how the forces of Fiscal Stimulus, Government Spending and low Interest Rates will save us from another great depression, you hear that some are deeply opposed. Why?

This book is written from that dissenting side who feel that enormous government borrowing and the trend to get others to make the stuff we need will lead us to destruction. It is very persuasive because it is written as a fable on a land with fish as its currency. It bears an uncanny resemblance to the United States but the message is universal that corruption of currency by government overspending is the root of most economic trouble.

The end scenario of this allegory is quite sobering because, again, it is logical and presented simply. Altogether an easy and amusing read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Promising start, underwhelming from chapter 10 onwards, 20 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The book aims to explain macroeconomics using a simplified island economy as a model. This is very well done, especially in the early chapters in order to explain the dynamics of consumption vs investment and resulting productivity gains.

Unfortunately the model has al flaw in that it does not replicate the monetary system adequately. In the real world the money supply (cash plus deposits) is largely determined by commercial banks making loans (and thereby creating deposits) as they wish, regardless of the underlying base money (cash plus CB reserves) and without ANY gold backing. The crucial points are that debt = money and so a deleveraging results in a contraction of the money supply and related recessionary hoarding effects and that QE mainly impacts base money but not necessarily the money supply which would be more inflationary.

The simplified model used in the book is based on an outdated monetary system (gold backing + state control of the money supply) and is therefore not sophisticated enough to illuminate on current inflationary dynamics and make sensible predictions about the future. This is a shame given the promising start and the importance of the topic.

You would have thought that someone who has been warning of hyperinflation for the past three years and published several books would have done their homework.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, amusing, true, 27 May 2010
By 
M. Zabinski - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The Schiffs write an extraordinary tale of - as the title suggests - economy, and supplement almost every single page by Brendan Leach's cartoon illustrations, which make the book light reading for non-economists.

The book is divided into 17 short, yet cleverly connected chapters. It starts with Able, Baker and Charlie, the only inhabitants of a small island, and finishes up with large society with a government. The twists and turns of their lives on the islet are described in an amusing way, really. You will find out how they produce wealth, how they invest, how loans are created, how joint venture arises, how barter is replaced by money, how specialization (leading to competitive advantage!) benefits whole economy, why deflation is a good thing (efficiency pushes prices down - for instance, Henry Ford was steadily bringing down the prices of cars, which then were available to a wider pool of buyers! Same goes with computer industry - "What was once a luxury for the rich became common for everyone"), and why avoiding underconsumption and taking risk lead people to take up an employment, and many, many more.

A must-read volume for every undergraduate student of economics (or business, in general), politicians, as well as economic advisors who during their education were not aware of Austrian, or at least Chicago economics thought. The book is also recommended for ordinary person, who is, for example, confused about whether to save or spend during the recession. The title will change forever the way you think about economy and economics!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The basics of an economy everyone needs to know, 1 May 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What Peter Schiff has told in this book, is something I used to think deeply about as a child. It is regarding the basics on how the economy governs. I remember in my youth thinking how some nations become wealthy and others poor, what determines wealth, where do business' get their money from (or where does the first person get his money from) etc.
These were basic questions that I used to ponder over as a child, and as I got older, I learnt new stuff (e.g. macroeconomics) but my questions as a child remained unanswered. That was until I finished reading this book.

Essentially, Peter Schiff tells a story, initially in it's primitive stages which gets complexed as you read further. It starts with 3 characters Able, Baker and Charlie who, in the beginning, have no other time except catching one fish a day, eating it, resting and sleeping. It states that through sacrifice and innovation, their standard of living increases (e.g. building a net that can catch two fishes). Thereafter, the story becomes complex with the introduction of banks, paper money, foreign nations etc but nevertheless, remains an extremely exciting read and understandable.

If there is one thing I have realised is that all this wealth (i.e. the wealth of nations) comes about by lowering the cost of food (in this case the fish i.e. being able to catch more than one fish a day). I have realised that this is key to the success of standard of living (i.e. this is what creates the factories, the manufacturing industry, the tourism etc). This statement seems quite simple, yet something that is not first thought of given the complex economical system that we live in. Whilst I don't think the book states that clearly within the text, it gave me a sense of satisfaction that if I learnt just this from the book it would have been sufficient and a worthwhile read. I'm happily to say, that fortunately it touches on many more topics.

Nevertheless, the wonderful tale presented by Peter Schiff captivates the reader to keep reading more. You can quite comfortably read this book within a few days even if you set aside a couple of hours at the end of a busy working day.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and understandable - not like economics at all, 27 Nov 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you've ever been baffled by economic theory then take heart. The reason is probably that the person explaining it didn't really understand what was going on either.

Yes, there is a lot of complexity in the details and many tomes on economics would have you wade through graphs, calculus and statistics until your ears bled and yet never give you a birds eye view of what an economy actually is.

Peter Schiff is a man who, in 2006 (and even before that), was forecasting with great accuracy, the recent/current financial crisis while loftier economists scoffed at his warnings.

This book offers a clear and understandable overview of what an economy is, what makes it grow and what can go wrong. It does this by relating the tale of a fictional island, whose main natural resource is fish, and follows the development of its economy from its inhabitants first attempts at wealth creation through to the islands rise to inter-island trade dominance and subsequent fall.

Despite being a 200+ page book about economics it is easily read within a day and, surprisingly for so easy a read, will leave you feeling much wiser. In fact you'll probably finish with the thought "surely economics can't be that easy?". It may take you a bit more time to realize that it is, and that the complexity offered up by some economists is merely a smokescreen for their own lack of understanding (after all, how many of them saw the recent troubles coming?).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alistair Wesley, 1 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An economics textbook presented in the style of a cartoon book for children. An excellent way of putting the argument across clearly and a style that others might look to copy as it has the advantage of being potentially easy to rebut as it's so clear. The fact that the argument comes across as thoroughly convincing makes a strong case for the Austrian school of economics. I wonder if the 21st century advocates of ever greater government spending would dare to expose their arguments in the same way. Although they call it Keynesian, I think Keynes himself would have been appalled as my understanding is that he advocated government spending around 25% of GDP and not the 50% plus we have seen and are seeing in Europe.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, interesting and easy to understand, 21 Mar 2012
By 
PNP (HINDHEAD, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this book for my daughter, she read it when she was 12 and understood and enjoyed it, now she has an interest in economics. Great book I would recommend it to anyone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Economic theory in parable form, 20 Nov 2011
By 
Edward A. Thomson (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is economic theory in simple terms, in this book Schiff essentially derives the modern global economy from ancient times when the world was far simpler. He expounds the necessity of risk and underconsumption. Failure is always a possibility but without taking the risk then there is no advancement. Without savings then there is nothing to spend. The global economy seems complicated when you try to consider everything at once but how did it come to be like that? What underpins it? This is what Schiff illustrates in this book.

Some reviewers complain of the light hearted comic nature of the book; the ideas are explained in parable form so it is essentially an economic comic book. The light hearted nature makes the book approachable as well as simple to understand, if anything this should fuel people's desire to understand more about the economy actually works rather than give up. I think this book would be easily readable for a keen high school student.

The key concepts of this book are that money should be something based in reality with a fixed, or at least a less manipulable substance than current, and that the original role of banks was as a safe place to store money (particularly gold / silver). Schiff highlights the parallels between the original role of a bank and self-storage facilities that holds people's stuff that they no longer have space for: it costs to store your items but these 'banks' provide a safe location and the extra space that you don't have. Therefore, banks are a business that provide a necessary service but somewhere along the lines it has all gone wrong. Money no longer has a basis in reality and the role of a bank is now obfuscated.

This book isn't a practical guide to investing, nor does it contain any equations or any praise for central banks. This much you should have already guessed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fantastic Reading, 30 Aug 2011
Purchased this book with delivery to Moscow, Russia. I've read this book from cover to cover in 3 hours and it is perfectly great economic reading for simple people.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes
£8.65
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews