Beating the Business Cycle: How to Predict and Profit from Turning Points in the Economy

Lakshman Achuthan, Author, Anirvan Banerji, Author Crown Business $24.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-385-50953-4
Reading this thin volume on business cycles feels like riding the economic roller coaster itself. Beginning with some engaging chapters on the how and why of business cycles, it plummets into a dull trough about identifying and analyzing economic indicators and levels off with advice about using cyclical information to plan financial moves. Directors of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), a New York-based think tank specializing in cyclical research, the authors stress their affiliation with this""secret weapon"" of corporate America throughout the text. But given the track record of most economic prognosticators--in March 2001, for example, 95 percent of American economists thought there would not be a recession, although one had already begun--some crowing about ECRI's success in predicting recessions and recoveries may be justified. Numbers could easily overwhelm the message here, but Achuthan and Banerji avoid a statistical tar pit. They use numbers judiciously and effectively and write in a style accessible to professionals and amateurs alike. They also exhibit a surprising sensitivity to the real consequences of business cycles.""Wile E. Coyote,"" they write,""after scraping himself off the canyon floor, again gives chase, heedless of the dangers ahead, oblivious to any lessons he might learn. Because he is only a cartoon character, no matter how many times he gets splattered, he never really gets hurt. But life is not a cartoon. And if you are the one to take a nose dive when the economy makes an unexpected turn, the pain is real. It may not be so easy to peel yourself off the canyon floor."" What's ultimately disappointing about the book, though, is that its promise to provide readers with an economic dashboard to navigate the financial peaks and valleys of business cycles appears to be a pumped-up advertisement for ECRI.
Reviewed on: 05/01/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Open Ebook - 119 pages - 978-0-385-51258-9
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-385-50954-1
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