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Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  32,391 ratings  ·  3,461 reviews
From the author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, comes an exposé of international corruption, and an inspired plan to turn the tide for future generations

With a presidential election around the corner, questions of America's military buildup, environmental impact, and foreign policy are on everyone's mind. Former Economic Hit
Paperback, 303 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Plume (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  32,391 ratings  ·  3,461 reviews

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Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
At the end of Three Days of the Condor the guy who is not Robert Redford, the guy who is the evil CIA operative who has been trying to ‘bring him home’ throughout the film - which we have guessed is a euphuism for ‘take him out’ - is talking about why the CIA does bad, manipulative things in the world. He tells Redford that it is simple economics and anyway, what would Redford expect them to do? Redford says he should ask the American people first. The CIA man looks at Redford in the way so many ...more
Nov 22, 2007 rated it did not like it
Terrible. Here's the book in a nutshell. "I'm in <3rd world country> doing . I feel bad about this. I meet . He takes me to . I learn . I return to my out of touch american enclave and happen upon . He like a prophet." The process then repeats.

Anyway, I'm sure the ideas in this book will help some 19 year old get laid. and if you are that 19 year old then I can not recommend this book highly enough.
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, while purportedly the author's memoir and hard-hitting expose of his work in the "corporatocracy", reads more like a flat and repetitive mass market thriller. In the 1970s, John Perkins began working for MAIN, an international consulting firm, as an economist who developed inflated projections of development in poor countries, so that they would then become dependent on richer countries like the United States. As Perkins explains, the "corporatocracy" consists ...more
Sep 09, 2007 rated it liked it
Good message, important, but reads like fiction. If this guy wanted to have any serious impact he should have written something less sensational. Also, he's a jackass. He spent his whole life screwing over everybody, including his friends, and then he writes a book (for which he probably made lots of money and became famous) and we're supposed to believe this guy suddenly developed a conscience? I don't buy it.
Mar 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, poli-sci
My short review is this: 'Confessions' is a good introduction to the darker side of foreign policy and the effects of globalization.

My slightly longer explanation is this: Paradoxically, what makes the book more accessible is also what turns many people off to it. It takes a chunk of history about a particular topic, and describes it in largely narrative form. Much of this is due to the book being an 'account' of Perkins' career during that time. Admittedly, it becomes somewhat taxing at times t
Will Byrnes
Oct 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a remarkable work, decades in the making. Perkins is the real deal, an economist who worked for international consortia to pillage the third world. The modus operandi was to perform economic analysis of target nations that indicated a rate of growth far in excess of any real possibility in order to justify offering those nations huge loans, loans they were never expected to be able to repay. The point of this was twofold. First, the money loaned would find its way right back into the poc ...more
Jeff Maxwell
May 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: economic geeks like myself
Here's why a lot of people won't like this book: it's brutally honest, historically accurate, and it has a message.

Here's why a lot of people will like this book: see above.

Perkins story about himself is not for everyone; I'll tell you that right now. The biggest reasons are a) his constant dealings with historical leaders, politics, and world geography throughout the 60's, 70's, and 80's; and b) even though he translates many economic terms and explains what he's doing, how, where, when, and wh
Sean Sullivan
Nov 08, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: totalcrap, business
This is garbage. Worse than that, I think this book is dangerous. First of all, I think Perkins is a total liar. I don’t doubt that there are people out there that make their living by betting against developing countries, and I don’t doubt that there are people who have an economic incentive for progressive third world leaders to fail. But I really doubt that the way these people ply their trade is by having beautiful blonds show young business guys (in this case, Perkins) the dark path by inte ...more
Aug 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
I don't know why I keep reading books like this...I only get more and more depressed about the state of the world. Perkins' story is well told and it kept me interested throughout.

Like a lot of other political books I've read of late, this one is made even more relevant by the events that have occurred even in the short time since it was published. The book tells the tale of the American led imperialism around the world leading up to the events of 9/11 and even the subsequent invasion of Iraq.
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
I'd had high expectations of this book and was very disappointed--mostly because I wasn't able to get past the fact that Perkins is a chauvinistic pig who I hated from the beginning til the end. He must have thought the fact that he later wrote a "confessional" about being a chauvinistic pig would make his readers forgive him or feel sorry for him, but that definitely wasn't the case for me. Also, he writes like a horny 10th grader--very poorly, and in the middle of discussing serious issues he ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really interesting perspective of US economic "development" abroad. It reads like a memoir, but it's mostly about the ways private US companies mess with other regimes. I wish everyone would read this book.
Aug 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
Ordinarily, I would not waste my time reading such claptrap, except that my colleagues are assigning this book to our students and my cousin graciously gave me a copy. As an act of respect to my cousin (and rebuke to my colleagues), I hereby offer my reactions to this grotesque excuse for a “memoir.”

I should acknowledge my own professional background first, so that those inclined to dismiss my criticisms may do so without further regard. In the late 1970s and throughout most of the 1980s, I was
Ali Heydari
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
For having a better future, everybody should read this book!
Oct 17, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t want to be overly negative, but Confessions of an Economic Hitman really irked me. I was only four or five pages into it before I got the overwhelming feeling of wading knee deep through bullshit. I think I might have been more tolerant if the book had been better written, but it wasn’t. It was cliched, used lame tropes, got treacly and scanned like bad spy fiction. The big problem with taking a bad John le Carre approach is that there were no stakes. “Oh no, he might expose the truth, b ...more
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
This book got 5 stars because it is highly disturbing and everyone especially Americans should read this book. Perkins writes his true story of what he did when he was an economic hit man. The basic gist is that he went to other countries promising the growth of their economy if they contracted engineers and workers from the States to install infrastructures such as electricity and running water. It looks like a great idea to the government because they are "helping" their people by creating a b ...more
Erik Graff
Oct 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans
Recommended to Erik by: Kristian Buschmann
Shelves: biography
The author of this book, John M. Perkins (not the same person as the Christian anti-racism activist), devoted the early part of his career to the planned exploitation of Third World economies on behalf of the interests of corporations, primarily American. He represents himself as one of many and his activities as being wholesale. Now, presumably repentent, he has become an advocate of traditional cultures worldwide.

Reading his story has reminded me of a young friend I have. Recently returned fro
Sep 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Shoppers.
The scariest thing about this book is that if you read it having read nothing about the CIA or the overseas financial games the agency (and US corporations acting with CIA influence) has played around the world, it seems like frightening fiction written by a conspiratorial nutjob. If you read it having read a few books about the history of the CIA, you're twice as scared because you know it all may be true. Perkins writing is fitting for the topic, and reading Confessions of an Economic Hitman i ...more
Mar 15, 2007 rated it it was ok
It's an interesting story. He has the perspective of the "insider" in the whole international development industry. Obviously then, his tales of drinking coffee with Torijjos or dealing with Iranian revolutions in the 1970s is fun to read.

Although, he reaches a point by the end of the book where he goes a bit overboard with his guilt. You empathize with him all the way through the book until he just starts spewing nonsense about feeling guilty for Iraq and 9/11. I think it's almost an ironic ro
Mar 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Nothing altruistic about foreign aids; multilateral agencies come in many colors and shapes like World Bank,Asian Bank, US Aid and IMF. Less developed countries leaders succumbed to the temptation of selling their sovereignty to the devils. The lucrative loans for infrastructure loan is not meant for social development to benefit the poor mess instead to ensnare the host countries for political allegiance and control. Who benefits! The local oligarchy. The book reinforce my believe of the decept ...more
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
An interesting take on international consulting industry. So, it makes sense in a sort of a roundabout way: 'If somebody lights the stars, that means that somebody needs it'.
Mario the lone bookwolf
From Developing Countries into Debt Driving Saul to Philanthropic Paul.

Please note that I put the original German text at the end of this review. Just if you might be interested.

What a career the man has laid down, someone has to imitate him first. By getting married, he comes into position, at a very young age, to assist in building up the structures to destabilize the economy of countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, and to move up rapidly. He does not shy away from believing only stat
Oct 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everybody who keeps associating growth and consumption with progress and elevation of the LDCs
Recommended to Lesandre by: film Zeitgeist: Addendum
Disconcerting, to say the least. It seems there is hardly anything, as an American, I own or acquire that doesn't have the blood of hundreds and thousands upon it. Thank goodness somebody is telling this story. I've always suspected something of the sort, but never understood its specific mechanisms.
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Adam by: Alex Hiatt, Samn Johnson, Blase Masserant, many others
I find it kind of surprising and disappointing that so many of the reviewers here have rated the book so poorly, and more importantly that they have done so not only for purely legitimate reasons (that they think Perkins is a poor writer; I disagree, but if they think so, they ought to rate accordingly) but because they accuse him of being a "conspiracy theorist." Perkins attempts to dispel this notion at every turn:

"Some would blame our current problems on an organized conspiracy. I wish it we
Lars Guthrie
Aug 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
I didn't want to like "Confessions," nor Perkins. It bothers me when people point to nefarious and secret conspiracies engineered by masterminds who control our lives; it means we have no responsibility or power. It bothers me when people "confess" to past crimes and urge reform when it works to their reputation and remuneration. But I wanted to honor a coworker's recommendation and loan of the book, so I gave Perkins a chance. I was engrossed and even entranced by his facility with words and na ...more
Grace Tjan
May 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Grace Tjan by: Brian

To Brian

Thanks for sending me this book: definitely a food for thought, although I don't necessarily agree with it 100%.

WARNING: This review is opinionated, political, long and probably somewhat naive because of my rudimentary understanding of international economics, CIA covert operations, and the effect of seductive blondes on susceptible males.

It took me quite a while to finish this book. I’m familiar with the gist of the argument, since I’ve read excerpts of it in the Indonesian media before
Mar 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Ok, so as I finished reading this book, I can say I successfully landed on 3 main conclusions!

Yet, before I share them, let me brief you on what this book talks about. Interestingly enough and as the title suggests, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a real-life story of a person who played a role in reinforcing and mushrooming the system of marching into a global empire of America. Nonetheless, trapped in consciousness, guilt and willingness to save the next generations-as he puts it-Perkins
Darran Mclaughlin
John Perkins lifts the lid on the workings of what I am convinced is the American Empire. Perkins worked as an 'Economic Hit Man' for years pursuing the coordinated interests of the American State and Corporate sector. This involved visiting 3rd world countries, performing an inflated economic assessment of their future growth prospects, persuading them to take out enormous loans they will never be able to afford to repay to pay American companies to build massive infrastructure projects that wo ...more
Sep 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book has a story everyone should know, even if it's not something everyone must read. It chronicles the exploitation of politically poor and oil-rich nations by economist hired by private firms working at the behest of the NSA to secure America's international sovereignty. The reality is that if these nations were organized, as OPEC was in the seventies, they could bring the first world to its knees. To prevent that from happening, economists are sent to create optimistic-biased forecasts t ...more
Nov 04, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: my-non-fiction
Lightweight and dull.
Anno Nomius
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don't normally read biographies however this one was different. The author is interesting as he is an economic hit man. I don't want to give too much away however this is a story of US policies abroad fueled by business interest of a select few. Typically for profit, typically for energy (oil) and major infrastructure construction. The author takes you on a journey from Panama to Indonesia to the middle east. You learn why we look the other way with anything involving Saudi Arabia. You learn a ...more
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Underground Knowl...: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man 34 427 Jul 17, 2020 11:31AM  
Financial Order 2020 1 4 Feb 18, 2019 04:13PM  
I love this book 12 132 Oct 08, 2017 10:13PM  
Truth or exaggeration?... 14 225 Jul 26, 2017 11:30AM  
........ 1 10 Jun 03, 2015 12:57PM  

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John Perkins is an activist and author. As a former chief economist at Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main, Perkins says that he was an "economic hit man" for 10 years, helping U.S. intelligence agencies and multinational corporations cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S. foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business.

However, after several years s

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