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Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  1,735 ratings  ·  82 reviews
Selected as one of the best investment books of all time by the Financial Times, Manias, Panics and Crashes puts the turbulence of the financial world in perspective. Here is avivid and entertaining account of how reckless decisions and a poor handling of money have led to financial explosions over the centuries. Covering topics such as the history and anatomy of crises, s ...more
Paperback, 6th edition, 368 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Palgrave Macmillan (first published 1978)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jake
If you're looking for a colorful, narrative history of financial bubbles, this book is not for you. Kindleberger is bone dry, and his goal is mainly to analyze common features of bubble cycles. Towards that end, he tends to pick a feature, then run through ten or twenty examples of how that feature worked during past bubbles. That leads to a lot of repetition, but by the end of the book, you definitely get a clear sense of how the Minsky model views bubbles. I think that's the reason the book ha ...more
Nick Klagge
This is a classic book in the financial world, but I was somewhat disappointed with it. Kindleberger uses Hyman Minsky's "anatomy" of financial crises to discuss commonalities between a number of different financial panics from different countries at different times in history. I had been hoping for more of a straightforward narrative description of each crisis, many of which, after all, occurred in unfamiliar settings. But in fact, Kindleberger uses the generic "crisis anatomy" as the structure ...more
Dale Johnson
I read the 1st edition written in 1977, published 1978. I understand that the book has been updated in later editions, the 6th written in 2006. It was written during the height of the California housing bubble which saw Bay-area studio apartment rent go as high as $1000 per month when 3-bedroom home mortgages elsewhere were running in the $400-$500 range. It is an eerie foreshadowing of the true mania that seized the country in 2004 when the government communicated its intent to effectively free ...more
Ernie Lavagetto
This is not the easiest book to read without some prior knowledge of economic history. That said it is probably the most complete book on the history and causes of economic upheavals from the 17th century to 2010 available to the non-economist.

In particular the authors have identified what they call the 4 waves of international financial disaster in the last 40 years. Perhaps the most striking conclusion one can draw from their study is how similar the causes of each wave has been. If you take t
...more
Martin
This book was referred to by another book I've been reading. This copy as gifted to me by my alma mater at an event where Professor Aliber, the co-author of this edition, spoke.

One of the most dense and therefore challenging books I've read. Every paragraph is jammed with facts. I think the book would be better if it had a few graphs and ignored corruption. There's plenty to digest here without getting into Ponzi, Madoff, or Enron. I also think some more perspective on why credit bubbles get in
...more
James
Was a bit disappointing,
most of the book is about events that happened more than 100 years ago,
short coverage of the last 80 years.

The book reads like 10 different people wrote parts of it
and didn't know what others were writing.

Some events are covered multiple times,
the south sea bubble has 16 entries, often saying the same thing.

Treasury sec Paulson was called Mr. Bailout in 2 separate parts that read the same.

I totally disagree that Lehmann bro should have been bailed out.
They piled on billio
...more
Doğukan Doğu
Ad Majorem Gloriam Dei,

Bir Keynesyen olan Kindleberger bu kitabında nihai olarak piyasanın zor koşullarında (ki o bunu şu 3 basamak altında inceliyor: Cinnet,Panik,Çöküş) bir karar mercii olup olmaması gerektiğine cevap arıyor. 1620'den Asya krizine değin geniş bir zaman diliminde Kriz analizleri yapan yazar akademik nitelikte doyurucu bir eser sunuyor.

İyi Okumalar.
Francisco
A good introductory book to the history of financial cycles, but only for people with some background in economics.
I didn't like the style. Many times it felt like an endless list of historical examples that illustrate an idea. The idea that financial crises across the world are connected is repeated ad nauseam. Lehman Brothers didn't deserve its own chapter.
It doesn't read as a treatise on the economics causes and consequences of financial cycles, panics, etc., and it doesn't read as an econom
...more
Jadd Khayat
Manias, Panics and Crashes reads exactly like a textbook. The book is bland, bone dry and a difficult read. The author superficially go over tons and tons of information, but doesn't go into much detail. I found myself highlighting important dates and doing my own independent research to better understand the whole picture. I would have much rather the author go over a few key examples to explain his arguments.

The book is very, very informative, and would recommend to anyone looking for a histor
...more
Ed Terrell
"There is nothing as disturbing to one's well being and judgment as to see a friend get rich."

First witten in 1978 but this edition in 2005, is current enough that a close reading identifies the makings of the 2008 banking collapse. Manias is more than just prophetic; it is insightful. One step at a time, like learning mathematics or building a house, Kindleberger lays a foundation in economics to show how cycles laced with excessive optimism followed by excessive pessimism come to be. In 1841,
...more
Jeffrey
A very good book the analyses the anatomy of financial crises in history. The book is not at all mathematically heavy but provides some excellent qualitative descriptions throughout history. However what is not loss is that despite several centuries of financial crises, we do not seem to have learnt. Indeed it provides some extremely valuable insights; e.g. crises are an inherent part of human psychology and greed, with Kindleberger dismissing tools such as macro-prudential policies as being abl ...more
Jon
This was interesting book that reads like several essays made into a thesis, i.e., a bit hard to read for the lay reader. It did give valuable insight to how bubbles and crashes happen and a solution to crashes. Some of the interesting points to the book were how it is very difficult to avoid a bubble (even if you are on the good standard, those financial types can be very creative apparently) and when you are not able to stop a bubble (perhaps because you don't recognize it for what it is or yo ...more
Void lon iXaarii
The data in this book is very rich indeed, but the read was however rather confusing, in my opinion because of the way the author keeps jumping through history and countries without establishing contexts or a timeline for reasons which seemed to me to be meant to justify categories and groupings that to me seemed not very obvious or at least only useful with the perfect 20/20 hindsight vision of the past.

As to his conclusions I have read different views by other authors on some of the panics me
...more
Tubs
Apr 27, 2011 Tubs is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
it's not my book, so i can't underline stuff, so i'll just have to type my quotes here for now. first of all, omg, i hear this all so loudly. i HEAR this. most of my econ classes were just math. i could talk so much about that, and whether it was a good thing.

This book is an essay in what is derogatorily called "literary economics," as opposed to mathematical economics, econometrics, or (embracing them both) the "new economic history." A man does what he can, and in the more elegant - one is tem
...more
Raghu
Prof.Kindleberger's book is very topical to read at any time in the past or future. Newcomers to stock investing like me have been looking at the boom of the late 1990s, the crash of 2001 and the current massive crash in 2008 as something which is unique in the era of globalization. All sorts of reasons are given by the pundits to explain each one of them. Prof. K shows that it is absurd to say that 'this time it is different' because it has always happened this way. He cites evidence from the p ...more
Ivo Crnkovic-Rubsamen
This book is the opposite of Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, a book along similar lines that I read soon before this one. Manias, Panics and Crashes is a very in-depth look a the psychology and manifestations of market crises, extensively researched and documented. Kindleberger first outlines a series of questions for the book to answer, generally about central bank intervention and then in order to answer these questions systematically outlines his claim for the three phases of a market cris ...more
James
In light of current events on the business front I have been dipping into a classic text that provides historical perspective for understanding the events of today.
This is the classic Manias, Panics, and Crashes by Charles P. Kindleberger. He provides a succinct history of economic crises in ten chapters plus a conclusion as to "The Lessons of History". Interestingly he feels it necessary in his first chapter to explain: "This book is an essay in what is derogatorily called today "literary econo
...more
Jim Rossi
Like Samuelson says on the cover, I read it and re-read it and thus had no need to kick myself during the Great Recession. I eschewed real estate and stocks and had my my money in CDs earning 4 to 5.5%. Thank you, Mr. Kindleberger! This is not a page-turner so much as a tome of wisdom: to paraphrase Judge Reinhold in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High:" Learn it, know it, live it. A major inspiration for my own first book, the upcoming "The Case of the Cleantech Con Artist: A True Vegas Tale."
Amrahs Jarihd
An important and landmark book on the history of economics pertaining to financial crisis. The repetitious examples serve to delineate the anatomy and sequence of financial crises, namely manias, panics, and crashes, but they sure do make it boring and and tedious. After a couple of chapters, I skipped all the specific examples and read only the general results telling myself "More examples, more examples." You can do it too without missing the central argument and message of the book.
James
This is a fascinating subject, and the author definitely knows his stuff. However, the writing is sub par: sentences are chopped and broken, and there is often no flow to paragraph structure, which makes for rough reading.

But if you can get past these flaws, there is a wealth of information inside. For instance, the connection between bubbles in stock markets and real estate is explained, the rise of fraud and euphoria in economic booms is made evident, and the roots of bubble contagion are tra
...more
Marc
So Brad Delong says this is the best work of macroeconomics ever written. I am miles away from being qualified to assess that judgment, but it seems plausible. Unfortunately, my lack of macro training meant that stretches of this book went over my head. The writing was actually fairly clear--if often lacking in grace--and jargon-free, but the author does presume a basic level of understanding. Still, the overall thrust of the book makes intuitive sense to me; in particular, he makes a convincing ...more
Gary Daly
I read this book as background research for my economics dissertation. As a history of the causes of, and minutia behind, the many financial crashes and scares the financial services industry has served up during its long and torrid history, it is very good. While the subject matter may not appeal to everyone, a book like this provides essential support for the truism that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. So, read it.
Agenor
Jan 03, 2015 Agenor is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't ever read a book about a topic I find so interesting, by an extremely qualified author, so crippled by a terrible level of organisation or lack thereof.

The book takes each stage of a crisis e.g. expansion of credit, and then goes on to list and compare and contrast this phase from a wide variety of examples. Fantastic, but perhaps I don't know about the London crisis of 1866, so just rattling off some details about it isn't that helpful?!?!

It seems to be written exactly if it is missi
...more
Jaryl Altomare
While Galbraith's book is a short tome highlighted some more famous economic crises, Kindleberger takes the approach of digging deeper, scientifically as well as philosophically, into this rich history. In the end, the similarities between the Tulip Panic during the Dutch Golden Age, to the Great Depression, onto the 2008 Financial Crisis, are haunting.
Jennifer
I think it would have been a lot more fun to sit down and talk with Kindleberger about his theories than to read this book. He clearly knew a lot on the subject, and I generally agreed with his ideas, but I found the way the book was organized hard to follow. A case of, "I'd have done it differently if I was writing it."
Ed
The classic economic history of capitalisms record of booms and busts. A great antidote to the famous phrase: this time it's different. When you hear this phrase of a boom, sell your shares. Anyway a steady walk through the madness of markets and why free unregulated markets are an insane idea.
Ecoute Sauvage
I was in the last class taught by CPK at Tech and count myself very fortunate - the late professor had an insight we have had to relearn painfully in this last financial crisis: there is no "normal distribution" in economic affairs. Crises are only to be expected.
Peter Lindsay
An excellent exploration of economic collapse. Our current economic situation is not new and this book details the common linkages between panics and crashes. Bad credit, cheats, wishful thinking: this book gives you an insight into how economic bubbles come about and what we can do to prevent them. There is some exploration of the Minsky model and of course a complete gloss over of human impacts from the business cycle. I wish economists would write more books about why recessions suck.

Read it
...more
Rory Foster
Lots of examples here, and it can be very interesting, but it's also assumed that the reader has a lot of historical background (or will take the time to do a lot of historical research). It would also be a benefit to have a good handle on macro-economic concepts before tackling this, although for a novice like me it did lend itself to lots of wrestling with complicated (and simple) ideas. These two factors likely contribute to the often very conclusory writing/argument. Interesting parallel rea ...more
May
This book gives a broad attempts to draw some lessons from the variety of manias, panics, and crashes that have occurred throughout history. I personally believe that one must read a bit more about each of these historical events first to really appreciate what the author is attempting to convey. However, if one is looking for a general overview, this is a good piece. I applaud the author for adding updates to the book post its first writing keeping his basic thesis current even in today's envir ...more
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“Money is a public good; as such, it lends itself to private exploitation.” 3 likes
“In Chapter 5 we consider swindles and defalcations. It happens that crashes and panics often are precipitated by the revelation of some misfeasance, malfeasance, or malversation (the corruption of officials) engendered during the mania. It seems clear from the historical record that swindles are a response to the greedy appetite for wealth stimulated by the boom. And as the monetary system gets stretched, institutions lose liquidity, and unsuccessful swindles are about to be revealed, the temptation to take the money and run becomes virtually irresistible. It is difficult to write on this subject without permitting the typewriter to drip with irony. An attempt will be made.” 1 likes
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