I will start off, by saying this book is about changing perspectives. It is not, a one two three investment cookbook. Spitznagel attempts to explain his approach to investing. The author has immersed himself, in the school of Austrian economics. Spitznagel`s investment strategies, are all based on the lessons of Austrian economics.
The reader will be introduced, to all the leading proponents of Austrian economics. The list includes; Mises, Hazlitt, Carl Menger, Bohm-Bawerk, Bastiat, and Hayek. Austrian economics is based on human behavior. This is in complete contrast, to most modern economic models. The current models are based on mathematical principles. Spitznagel wants to be clear, that human behavior can not be graphed into a math equation. Spitznagel then compares and contrasts the two methods of economic thinking.
Spitznagel`s conclusion, is to invest in a round about fashion. Here is a straight forward example; avoid investing during euphoric periods.This sounds very simple. However, the human tendency is to get caught up in the euphoria. The round about approach, fights against our natural human instincts. The investor must understand the entire business cycle, in order to profit from human folly.
Spitznagel also dwells into other examples, to help understand the cyclical nature of the world. He lays out various military strategies. He sights lessons from Clausewitz and Sun Tzu. There is also a dendrology lesson, involving the life cycle of conifers. Spitznagel also explains how, forest fires play a role in the boreal forest ecosystem. The effect of forest fires, is also an analogy to the downturns in the business cycle.
Over all, this was a rather interesting read. There were times, when things got a little on the slow side. This is a great book, for anyone interested in understanding Austrian economics/investing.