cover image Boomernomics


William Sterling. Ballantine Books, $19.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-345-42583-6

The authors--both executives with Credit Suisse Asset Management--know their demographic here, quoting everything from Star Trek to rocker Alice Cooper in making their points. And they clearly know their subject matter. The problem is they don't offer much of anything that's new to readers who even casually follow either buying trends or the economy. The book's first third shows how boomers, simply by dint of their numbers, will keep the economy humming over the next 10 years or so. Next, relying almost exclusively on secondary sources, they talk about what will happen as the boomers hit retirement age. The likely scenario: stock prices will fall as boomers cash out their retirement accounts and real estate prices will follow suit as a rash of baby boomers all decide to sell their houses at the same time--to say nothing of the strain on Social Security. While the authors do end by offering advice about what to do about the trends they have discussed, they hedge--readers are left unsure what action to take, other than to lobby for privatizing Social Security. Nonetheless, Sterling and Waite's entertaining style (""When Peter, Paul, and Mary made fun in the 1960s of all the ticky-tacky little boxes that were scattered on hillsides, few would have predicted how valuable those little boxes would become in the 1970s and 1980s"") makes this a worthwhile summation of current thinking about the television generation's legacy. (Nov.)