walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Abandoning Kindleberger

I'm giving up. I've given _Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises_ four tries (at least), three more than I would have for anyone else. Kindleberger was respected and beloved by just about everyone, as near as I can tell, and I'm at a loss to explain why. Well, that's not true. I think the guy could talk your ear off with a million facts and your eyes would just glaze over and people mistook that for being right and actually understanding things. I think he must also have been a genuinely wonderful human being.

But the book is terrible. It's just list after list after list, and every list is riddled with identifiable errors: errors in spelling terms, errors of analysis, blah, blah, bleeping, blah. You can't learn much from a list anyway, without enough detail to make sense of it, which Kindleberger does not supply. If you want to learn about financial crises, look elsewhere. Not sure where -- this is sort of a _catalog_ of financial crises, which I guess is something (altho now that I think about it, I don't think I've seen a catalog of financial crises that didn't stink to high heaven, so I may have an absurdly high bar for this stuff).

Possibly Kindleberger's other work is better. I would certainly hope so.n
Tags: not-a-book-review

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