Tomorrow's Gold — Asia's age of discovery, 3rd Edition, by Marc Faber

Most investors don't want to work. They want to read an article, watch an interview on CNBC or Bloomberg, and maybe even read a book, but in most cases they are searching for a pick. Gold? Oil? Google? These books and interviews quickly fade because there's no value beyond a timely pick. Perhaps the investment analyst or guru provides information that will outperform for several years, but the investor will probably be searching for new advice within a few months. In Tomorrow's Gold, Asia's age of discovery, originally published in 2002, Marc Faber presents a few general investing themes such as geographically specific real estate, commodities and gold, but spends most of the time explaining why these will outperform.

Faber publishes the Gloom Boom & Doom Report and earned the nickname Dr. Doom long before the current crisis, for his bearish forecasts. The book spends a lot of time on gloom, booms, and doom too. Faber covers topics as wide-ranging as Kodratieff waves, hyperinflation, the life cycle of emerging markets, commodities, the gold standard, economic history, and the rise and fall of cities. All of the discussion occurs in a historical context and provides a sound basis from which the investor can analyze future situations.

At one point in the book he provides an example of how much $1 would be worth today if an investor in Carthage had seen their investment compound at 3% for 2,000 plus years—a mere 142 billion trillion dollars! The point, befitting a man with the nickname Dr. Doom, is that preserving wealth has been very difficult through the centuries. Today's centers of world progress may be tomorrow's sand dune, small rural village, or impoverished urban slum.

Where the book is very timely is that some of the topics covered deal directly with current events. Faber may favor a longer-term investment horizon, but his writing focuses on the crises: bubbles, hyperinflation, deflation, currency devaluation, panic and chaos. Where he covers the bigger trends of emerging markets, he offers the advice that many foreign investors have been taken to cleaners by the natives in emerging markets, often turning to the U.S. as an example.

Tomorrow's Gold won't necessarily provide investing advice you can put to work tomorrow, but it is timeless information that will be useful again and again. Faber offers the reader a new perspective on worn out investment cliches and turns some on their head—and he does so with a wealth of historical examples and a bibliography to match. Readers with an interest in economic history will enjoy this book most of all, as will those who take a "big picture" approach to their investments.

An interview from 2003 with Marc Faber on the topic of Tomorrow's Gold, courtesy of Financial Sense.

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