Book Review: The Financial Domino Effect

This is a good book.  It has one significant problem, though.  It is very good at describing the problems that exist, but does not follow through on the subtitle: How to Profit Now in the Volatile Global Economy.  That might be a publisher error.  They want to sell books, and a book that describes the problem will have a small audience, while a book that shows how you can profit from a problem would have a wide audience.  For the most part, this book describes the problem well, and that is good.

So what’s the problem?  Most bond managers intuitively know that most bonds either trade at “normal” or “distressed” levels — there is very little in-between.  Those are two “stable” places where bonds trade, and with a few exceptions, different groups of investors are involved in each place.  They have different ratios, standards, and metrics.

The book spends a lot of time on the Eurozone, with its bevy of distressed governments.  The distress stems from deficits, over-regulation, and entitlements. The “domino effect” part of the title comes from core Eurozone banks lending to distressed fringe Eurozone entities.  If the fringe fails so do core Eurozone banks.  If core Eurozone banks fail, so does the Eurozone.

But the book offers us precious little of new information on how to profit in an uncertain environment.  The last few pages offer a few general ideas, but even with my outside knowledge I have no idea on how to apply that easily.


On page 43, he describes government liabilities as “future tax receipts.”  Sorry, future tax receipts are assets, not liabilities.

Who would benefit from this book:   If you want to understand the nonlinear dynamics of the bond market, buy this book.  If you want to make money, don’t buy this book.  If you want to, you can buy it here: The Financial Domino Effect: How to Profit Now in the Volatile Global Economy.

Full disclosure: The publisher sent me a hard copy of the book, without my asking.

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