Being lectured on economics by a ginge with a Doctorate isn't likely to get many volunteers for a bit of light reading.
- Dr Pippa Malgren
But you should. Oh and you definitely would. Very milfish.
Being a presidential advisor to George W. Bush probably requires the ability to simplify things a little, to put complex ideas into everyday language and this is exactly the treatment that geopolitics, macro-economics and the military receive.
From being able to spot a recession coming based upon china.. As in crockery not the country, to the implications of the credit crunch, the fall of the Berlin wall and the rise of geopolitics this is both a thoughtful and thoroughly entertaining read, certainly the only book on economics which I could describe as a page turner.
The theme of the book is that you should make your own mind up on the future direction of the world economy based upon what you see, these Signals giving the book it's title. She gives a few good examples, though I'd say they tend to be focussed more around a female readership. More than that though, rather than trying to predict the future herself, she equips you in the things which will signal which way the global economic system is going to break.
She is quick to point out that as one of the pointy headed geeks who we expect to know what they doing, that the geeks all disagree and probably know less than the rest of us due to their insulated lifestyle and need to toe the party line. They depend upon their algorithms and computer models which she clearly views with well deserved distain. Economic orthodoxy broke down some time ago as she details. Hence it is not just the interesting times in which we live, but why they are interesting and why they are likely to get even more interesting in the coming years.
If you have any interest in knowing how the world works, how it is changing and the knife edge that breeds Black Swan events worldwide with increasing frequency then Signals is heartily recommended. It is certainly the most accessible book on geopolitics or economics I have seen and reads more like a Tom Clancy thriller than the work of an academic.
It might be a bit light for a dedicated student of International Relations and there are some strange omissions. Rising powers being one as even India gets barely a sentence. Drones too, which is odd as she owns a company which develops them. If you've read extensively on the subject before then some of the name dropping and quotes might be a bit old hat too. Whilst the book doesn't itself draw conclusions, but rather points to areas where conclusions can be drawn, it does strike a very optimistic tone which would be far more comforting if the incompetence of government were not indirectly laid bare.
For 274 pages of quite large type though the amount of information imparted almost by stealth makes this a highly recommended read.