While the book “ Two Centuries of Panic – A History of Corporate Collapses in Australia”, was first published in 1988, it is a timeless work that has been described as “Rich in sensation and scandal, it is the first history ever published of corporate collapses in Australia from the first bank closure in the 1820s through to the four great recessions of the 1840s, 1890s, 1920s, and 1970s to the downfall of the House of Golin”
As I was watching the YouTube video Changing World Order by Ray Dalio, I realized that the same concepts apply not only to the changing power of economies over the centuries, but corporate collapses are also very similar. I believe that those who enjoyed either Ray Dalio’s book or YouTube presentations will find Trevor Skyes’ book, Two Centuries of Panic fascinating.
For those of you do are younger, Trevor Sykes in his heyday was considered one of the best journalists in Australia. He was head and shoulders above all other journalists. I have one of the original versions, which I have read again. It still presented with all the sparkle and enjoyment from my first reading so many years ago. At the time of publication, in 1988, it was just a year after the great share market collapse of 1987. This was perfect timing for the release of such a book. It is also perfect timing for all of us to reflect on how fragile the share market can be in times of economic downturns.
There have been many more corporate collapses since this book was written. For today’s serious investors, I believe there are lessons to be learned from this book. We all need to be mindful and look for signs of corporate overindulgence and conspicuous spending of board members.
Trevor Skyes is most famous for his column called Pierpont. It was Australia’s long running business column which thousands of readers loved for over 45 years. It was certainly the first thing I read in the AFR. We are fortunate that we can still enjoy those columns in the publication “Vintage Pierpont” by Trevor Sykes.
Since Two Centuries of Panic was published in 1988, there continued to be more corporate collapses. If this is a topic of interest to you here are two books I would recommend:
- The Rise and Fall of Alan Bond (1991) by Paul Kelly
- Too Good to be True – inside the corrupt world of Christopher Skase(1996) by Lawrence van der Plaat.
Glenis Phillips SF Fin – Good Financial Reads