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Summary

In the space of a few months, across Asia, a miracle became a nightmare. This was the Asian financial crisis of 1995-98.

In this economic crisis, hundreds of people died in rioting, political strongmen were removed, and hundreds of billions of dollars were lost by investors.

This crisis saw the US dollar value of some Asian stock markets decline by 90 percent. Why did almost no one see it coming? 

The Asian Financial Crisis 1995–98 charts Russell Napier’s personal journey during that crisis as he wrote daily for institutional investors about an increasingly uncertain future. Relying on contemporaneous commentary, it charts the mistakes and successes of investors in the battle for investment survival in Asia from 1995-98.

This is not just a guide for investors navigating financial markets, but also an explanation of how this crisis created the foundations of an age of debt that has changed the modern world.

©2021 Harriman House (P)2021 Harriman House

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  • Philo
  • 28-11-21

Macro and micro, credit, currencies, stocks

This is sprawling, but full of bright nuggets, line for line. It fits my learning style: takes its time, wanders around the scenery just enough to stay engaging, and meanwhile, pieces together remarkable stuff. Mr. Napier explains things well, not assuming the listener knows all (but some preexisting at-least-basic financial sophistication is probably needed). The book starts awkwardly, with lots of repetitive self-conscious attempts to explain why it exists. Hello, I am here, meaning I'm sufficiently sold on the concept, I bought the book, so why, author and editor, are you wasting my time trying to sell me on it? But fortunately, in a reasonable time it starts delivering what it promises. It dissects the era's financial scene, players (governmental and private), assets, credit and currency dynamics, and prospects in rich detail, and ways I had not learned yet. I realized in my past investing/trading I was nowhere near having a good edge. My mental model of east Asia and the markets of those times (not to mention the contents of the various indices of assets one sees on a brokerage website) was all woefully deficient. But the most value is as a background for sizing up what is happening now. This book is a major pencil-sharpener for that. My approach, though, is to be e leisurely listener, not in a hurry, in keeping with the book's patience at laying all this out. I can imagine other, more anxious listeners drumming their fingers and perhaps not liking it. For me this is the whole rich tapestry, as I like it.