Don't Get Caught in the Middle "When Markets Collide"

Last Updated Nov 19, 2008 5:47 PM EST

Big Think Breakdown: "When Markets Collide" is an astounding look at what underlies the market meltdown and what might come next. While aimed at investors, it should be read by anyone who wants to understand what is happening in the world economy.

Checks: El-Erian has profound insights into the global economy and our current crisis. He easily blends diverse sources such as neuroscience, John Maynard Keynes, Thomas Kuhn and the West Coast offense. Though published in May, his book reads like current events â€" he is stunningly prescient about the market disruptions occurring now. He is also good at suggesting various scenarios for the next few years, neither sugarcoating things nor screaming about the sky falling.

Peeves: This book is written for investors by an investment expert. If you don't know your left tail from your right tail and aren't sure whether your liquidity is endogenous, you will struggle with some parts of this book. He spends a bit too much time prescribing fixes for the International Monetary Fund.

Quote: "The financial market turmoil that started in the summer of 2007 reflects the secular transformation of the global economy. There are now economic and financial forces in play whose impacts are of great consequence but that cannot as yet be adequately sustained by the world's current policy and market infrastructures. As such, the efficiency gains that they bring are associated with higher risks of short term disruptions. Indeed, one of the important messages of this book is that the present turmoil is neither the beginning nor the end of the transformation phase (as long-time debtor nations become creditor nations and vice versa)." [emphasis his, parenthetical mine]

  • Michael Fitzgerald

    Michael Fitzgerald writes about innovation and other big ideas in business for publications like the New York Times, The Economist, Fast Company, Inc. and CIO. He’s worked as a writer or editor at Red Herring, ZDNet, TechTV and Computerworld, and has received numerous awards as a writer and editor. Most recently, his piece on the hacker collective the l0pht won the 2008 award for best trade piece from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He was also a 2007 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science and Religion.