"This is a once in a lifetime moment," writes Soros in characterizing the scale of financial distress spreading across Wall Street and other financial centers around the world. In a concise essay that combines practical insight with philosophical depth, Soros makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the great credit crisis and its implications for our nation and the world.
©2008 PublicAffairs; (P)2008 PublicAffairs
"[Soros]...sets out to illuminate the credit crunch through the prism of 'reflexivity'....His prognosis is grim." (Economist.com)
This book won't make you rich in terms of money, but is interesting. More of a philosophy book than and analysis of the current (early 2008) financial situation.
At its heart is the idea of Reflexivity which is described also in his other books. Here he uses it to show how the sub-prime problem of 2007-2008 came about as well as a super-bubble. The book is very short, though brevity is one of its good points. If you liked ?The Black Swan? then you?ll like this.
"What you take away, you'll have earned."
It really is striking to hear how frequently George Soros repeats himself. He must have defined his concept of "reflexivity" about one hundred times over. He can be very efficient though, when he wants to be. His telling of historical events in the markets and their cause/effect relationships was brief and clear and fantastic. I am reminded of "Rain Man". "Rain Man" could count a pile of toothpicks at a glance but, well, there were other things that he simply couldn't do well. Soros muses openly about whether or not he is taken seriously as a philosopher. If Soros is a philosopher, then "Rain Man" is a hot Latin lover. I think Soros has conveyed one good idea, (reflexivity) and then utterly milked it to death. Beyond that he reveals some of his fevered political views. It's breathtaking what an otherwise astute thinker can bring himself to believe.
I think that the book does have some real value, you'll just have to wade through an awful lot to reach it.
"Very well Narrarated"
George Soros doesn't lack an ego, this is clear in all of his books. I do like to try to see things from his point of view. Reflexivity makes some sense but I am not sure it is really that new of an idea. I would rate this book average. Probably worth the listen or read but don't pick this over real theory if you are trying to learn more about economics.
Soros bores the reader with his ponderous self invented theory of "reflexivity" (sp) which is a pseudo-scientific mess. In vain was there a search for some insight into his investing acumen. God, this was dull.
"Reflexivity is not the right word!"
I now finally understand that George Soros, as smart as he may be, does not know how to explain himself all that well. I mean, he's been trying to explain his concept of reflexivity to the world for almost two decades. If nothing else he is persistent, I will concede. I listened to this entire book but I am still not inspired nor enlightened by Mr. Soros nor would I know how to apply the knowledge in the book. Am I just slow? Maybe, but perhaps the problem is not me but the terminology Mr. Soros has chosen to frame his reflexivity concept. That's my two cents.
"Brilliant but sure to be Controversial"
This book sets forward a framework for understanding markets, called "reflexology";. I assume that this choose of moniker is a deliberate reference to a kind of mathematical analysis that goes under the same name and is popular in Russia for understanding some game theory like situations, e.g., asymmetric combat. But he never explicitly says rather he means the same thing.
The idea is that the actions of market participants, if allowed to pursue their self interest, limit knowledge about the market. This is because the use of new knowledge changes the dynamics of the system.
It's a simple, not entirely new insight, but in my opinion he somewhat convincingly argues that it really is at odds with many fundamental concepts of economics, like market efficiency.
In my opinion the major weakness of the book is that it doesn't offer many hints about what to do about this state of affairs. So the system has feedback; is it unstable; can it be stabilized; is there a better way of understanding transient system state or at least understand our understaing of the sate.
"wade through the first half and you'll be rewarded"
much of the book is autobiography, explaining the evolution of his thinking, then his self-titled theory of "reflexivity." but it's spot-on in its recount of the final crisis that's occuring right now.
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