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Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,294 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
"Manias, Panics, and Crashes, Fifth Edition" is an engaging and entertaining account of the way that mismanagement of money and credit has led to financial explosions over the centuries. Covering such topics as the history and anatomy of crises, speculative manias, and the lender of last resort, this book puts the turbulence of the financial world in perspective. The updat ...more
Paperback, 5th edition, 309 pages
Published October 12th 2005 by John Wiley & Sons (first published 1978)
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Mar 18, 2009 Jake rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
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
Dec 01, 2013 Nick Klagge rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
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
Aug 10, 2013 Dale Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 29, 2014 Ernie Lavagetto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 17, 2015 Martin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, economics
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
Doğukan Doğu
Mar 06, 2013 Doğukan Doğu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 20, 2015 Anthony rated it it was amazing
There have been many attempts to explain the GFC – greed, irrational behaviours, bell curve, derivatives, excessive leverage, failures by rating agencies, regulatory failure, etc, which all can be groups as a demand side shock.
This book artfully presents (or had presented) another factor, excess capital floating around in the world built by the current account surpluses from the economic imbalance since 60’s. This is more of a supply side shock, which no one has control over after the collapse
Jan 06, 2015 James rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finance
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
Ed Terrell
Oct 04, 2014 Ed Terrell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, economics
"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,
Apr 10, 2014 Jeffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
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
Feb 09, 2009 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finances, history
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
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
Nov 03, 2010 Raghu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 07, 2008 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
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
Sep 12, 2008 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2011 Marc rated it liked it
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
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
Feb 05, 2016 Francisco rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
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
Jenn M
Jun 09, 2015 Jenn M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book first as an economics student in my undergraduate college course of study. It was read back then as a means to achieving a passing grade on a section test in the economics class. I recently had cause to re-read this book, and was surprised to be able to observe the connections between historical financial crises and economic events in our current economy. With all of the talk about stock market manipulation, derivative fraud, and the imminent collapse of the global economic s ...more
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
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
Jun 15, 2015 Dylan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 2000 edition reads like a playbook for the collapse and bailout of of 2008. Both the descriptions and proscriptions of this book, especially its focus on the lender of last resort, seem to be amazingly prescient though it probably just that this iconic text was on the bookshelf of every major player in the fed at the time.
The book is not written for a general audience and some of the econ jargon gave me trouble as a non-specialist but it's not insurmountable. It is a historical and non-quan
Jim Rossi
Apr 19, 2015 Jim Rossi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Gary Daly
Aug 13, 2014 Gary Daly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oleksandr Zholud
Apr 08, 2016 Oleksandr Zholud rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite an unusual book. Instead of taking crises case by case, the author divides them on stages and gives a very detailed description of what happened on this or that stage, what are the similarities. This is a rare example of literary economics. It can be a very nice reference book but reading it is a bit hard
Jun 23, 2011 C.R. rated it liked it
A fascinating history, held back by the fact that it is dry as dust and uses far too many examples that are not explained. Although this is *the* book on the history of financial mania and bust, along with Galbraith' delightful "The Great Crash 1929", Kindleberger does seem to assume way to much prior knowledge on the part of his readers.
Mike  Goodson
May 30, 2008 Mike Goodson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the classic "must reads" for anyone interested in investing. The cycles of boom/bust and greed/fear are constantly renewing and re-inventing themselves, but the basics remain the same. This book spells these concepts out clearly and forcefully. Before you invest in any asset class (again) do yourself a favor and read this gem.
Jay Roberts
Aug 09, 2011 Jay Roberts rated it really liked it
Great book. While it’s outdated, the information is very contemporary to current markets. The breadth of information covered in this short work was amazing. I don’t think I can recall a more thorough coverage of financial panics. Great insight, and the conclusions would have helped avoid some of the more current issues we face.
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“Money is a public good; as such, it lends itself to private exploitation.” 3 likes
“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 tempted to say "fancier" - techniques I am, as one who received his formation in the 1930s, untutored. A colleague has offered to provide a mathematical model to decorate the work. It might be useful to some readers, but not to me. Catastrophe mathematics, dealing with such events as falling off a height, is a new branch of the discipline, I am told, which has yet to demonstrate its rigor or usefulness. I had better wait. Econometricians among my friends tell me that rare events such as panics cannot be dealt with by the normal techniques of regression, but have to be introduced exogenously as "dummy variables." The real choice open to me was whether to follow relatively simple statistical procedures, with an abundance of charts and tables, or not. In the event, I decided against it. For those who yearn for numbers, standard series on bank reserves, foreign trade, commodity prices, money supply, security prices, rate of interest, and the like are fairly readily available in the historical statistics.” 2 likes
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