Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A T-Junction of the Soul: Mohamed El-Erian's "The Only Game in Town"



I picked up this book because of the bright yellow and black cover. What can I say, I’m superficial. And it had some good blurbs on the back. Hadn’t read the author before, but I thought I’d take a chance when finally getting to the flap-text.

I was finishing it up in bed last night, and my wife was asking about it, and the best I could do to recommend it was that I wanted to finish it. I found it a slog mostly, but it was interesting enough to want to engage with all the way through. The author has two key points he kept hammering. One is that the potential for the future has turned from a normal to a bimodal distribution – the status quo will no longer have the chance to be the status quo. This leads to the other point, the T-Junction, where we will no longer get to muddle along because we are out of options. We can’t just drift on monetary policy, but we will have to make some choices. The gist is that we should follow the author’s prescriptions to get to the more desirable hump on the bimodal distribution by taking the correct turn. The second half just drags and the best thing I can say is that I did finish it, but I don’t recommend it. The author is obviously smart, but ultimately his argument lacks because of a missing story-telling verve.