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Ride the Wave: Take Control in the Acceleration Age

by Sherry Cooper

In the past decade or so, the formula for publishing business books has been refined to this: take one well-known personality, offer a route to financial health, and market aggressively.
All too often, though, books like this one tend to yield little more than generalities and commonplaces. A survey of historical and recent trends in the marketplace – the Internet, dot-com companies, globalization – Ride the Wave examines the forces affecting today’s global economy, but does so in a rather cursory and unfocused way.
Cooper glosses over recent trends in the stock market, international business, and digital technology, but speaks rapturously about such developments as the Internet and wireless handheld computers. She is light on specifics, and provides little helpful advice other than suggesting that readers be prepared for rapid change, and take responsibility for their finances.
After a thumbnail history of the challenges faced by past generations, from the Depression to Generation X, Cooper concludes we’ve reached the Acceleration Age. “Change takes its toll,” she writes, “psychologically and emotionally.” But there’s not much here to help you decide where to park your money given the “acceleration” of the coming years.
The problem is mainly that the book is a rehash of tired concepts from the 1980s and ’90s. They’re valid concepts, but they’ve been flogged to death. Take the idea that corporate loyalty is dead: it didn’t die this year, it died with the recession of 1982.
One suspects that Cooper, chief economist for BMO Nesbitt Burns, could have produced a worthy “new economy” primer for today’s market, thus accomplishing her goal of helping the reader “refrain from knee-jerk reactions.” As it stands, though, savvy investors and Bay Street professionals won’t find anything in Ride the Wave that they don’t already know. And even lay readers will have heard most of this before.