Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Roadmap to Nowhere

I normally hate to write bad reviews on books I read, but 'When Gaints Fall' by Michael Panzner raised my ire to a high degree.

The book predicts the fall of America (I guess not a difficult prediction now) and then paints a picture of doom and gloom in the United States and the rest of the world. About ten to fifteen points (Fall of the U.S, De-globalization, Increasing violence & wars, Fall of the Dollar, Changing Demographics, Energy crisis, Water shortage, Shortages of other natural resources and a few more) are repeated through out the book - the continuous repetitions making it a very difficult process to read the book. Extensive quotations are used - so much in fact that about 65 pages of the 260 page book are used up for bibliography!

Maybe the future predicted by Mr.Panzner is a possible outcome and he is entitled to his opinion. But the book claims to provide a economic roadmap for the future and also promises to show 'how the chaotic years of the future would present a singular opportunity for the reader to realize goals....' (quoted from the cover flap of the book). Here the author grossly misleads the reader. The book hardly provides any suggestions for the future except to 'focus, analyze, prepare well, network..' and to keep in mind that nothing will work out as planned!

The book is divided into two parts - Part 1 of 122 pages explaining the descent into chaos and Part II of about 60 pages supposedly to tell the reader how to prepare for the future. However Part II continues to repeat most of the points made in Part 1 with hardly a worthwhile suggestion. After some laborious effort, the author comes close to making a couple of positive suggestions (Invest in Canada, Invest in commodities & precious metals) but then immediately highlights why those steps are also fraught with danger!

The author completely misses out on Science & Technology and how today's challenges can be tomorrow's opportunities. A book written in haste - I guess to take advantage of the current pessimistic world outlook.

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