9780393345407_p0_v4_s260x420Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles, by Ruchir Sharma is about the nations that are making the competitive leap to becoming new world players. This is not so much of a surprise actually, that some developing countries are “getting it,” and they are beginning to pull themselves up “by the bootstraps”. The surprise is that so many countries are now doing it, and that there will soon be a new perspective on what a developing nation is, does and can manage in the world economy going forward. Sharma is quite knowledgeable on this topic. The view finder is definitely through the eyes of a capable investor, but the reader will follow along anxiously to see who does what, why it’s happened and form a critical opinion regarding which breakout nations have in effect “broken out.” The information in the book is so valuable, it goes beyond trivia, and it tells how these formerly last picked countries are now first chosen global players for investing and other reasons.

The author is an emerging market investor set on continuing the exponential growth of his investment portfolio in emerging markets around the world. The central question: where will the nation’s money go, and how will it be made over time? Over a trillion dollars is moving in and out of these developing markets today, and the number rises daily – like a mushroomed compound interest that grows inward on itself until its self-implosion is imminent. But this is not a bad thing. In his first-hand account, the author carefully explains developing nations and how they have face-lifted themselves to become a new category of nations.

The book includes a map of the emerging markets and other information in the appendix and real photos of the trappings of life in burgeoning economic regions globally. The systematic review of developing markets globally shows how countries such as China, Mexico, Turkey, Russia and the Philippines are breaking out and away from a perceived observation of rebirth and becoming nations intent on more than survival – they are ready to begin creating real prosperity for their populations.

I have never had anything in common with a global investor, and didn’t think I’d get as much out of this book as I did. In the end, I did begin to dream more about the way I’d spend a few million (if I ever won a scratch off lottery ticket, of course); this book made me want to invest in global markets, and that, I realize, is the point of the discussion. The fact is I have more knowledge after reading this book and it makes me think of global economies, where investors are finding how previously oppressed regions of the world are coming to the global bargaining table and are literally buying new tables before they sit down to negotiations with other powerhouse countries and administrations.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves political world history, world economy lessons, and international business buffs. I would also not be surprised if a few smart teacher-types assign this book as required reading for an Economics class and it becomes a staple on that list for years to come.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by W.W. Norton & Company. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.