Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Leading Indicators

The Leading Indicators

A Novel

Gregg Easterbrook

Thomas Dunne Books




Tom Perrotta meets David Brooks in The Leading Indicators--a powerful modern parable about one American family's fall from grace during the recession

Margo and Tom Helot have the perfect life. He works in finance; she's an enterprising stay-at-home mom. They inhabit a fully redecorated home complete with expensive his-and-hers cars in the drive and situated in the peaceful, leafy suburb of a major American city. Day after day delivery trucks arrive bearing packages from the kinds of places all Americans wish they received packages: Williams-Sonoma, Bergdorf Goodman, Villeroy & Boch. The family is rounded out by two delightful children with good grades, well on their way to top colleges.

Then it all comes crashing down around them: Tom's boss reveals that due to "regrettable oversights," their high-flying company actually was a fraud. Forced into the job market just as the Dow plummets and unemployment starts to spike, Tom is buffeted from one failing company to the next. The Helots lose their house, then their apartment. As the powerful at the very top roll in government subsidized bonuses, while everyone else falters, Tom and Margo find themselves adrift in "an American economy that now produces shattered lives with the same fervor it once produced Oldsmobiles." Ultimately, they must face a terrible choice to save their family's future. This compelling and insightful novel from seasoned social commentator Gregg Easterbrook strikes at the heart of the American moment.


Chapter 1

October 2006
Dow Jones Index: 11,200.
Unemployment: 4.8 percent.
U.S. motor vehicle production: 11.2 million.
Even when they are what you expect, things still come as a surprise. The delivery...


Praise for The Leading Indicators

“This is the first great novel of the Great Recession.” —Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group

“A new kind of ‘non-fiction novel' that brilliantly personifies the challenges of this moment in our national life.” —Jonathan Alter, New York Times bestselling author of The Promise

“With a conversational tone and ironic humor, Easterbrook, who also writes nonfiction books about the economy, weaves a cautionary essay between the lines of this topical tale of love and sacrifice that will have readers nodding their heads in recognition.” —Booklist

“A pleasure to read and a welcome counter to the pessimism that surrounds us.” —The Wall Street Journal on Sonic Boom

Sonic Boom is the business book you must read.” —Eric Schmidt, Chairman/CEO of Google Inc.

“Better than any other, this book explains why the future of our world is still a globalized future, one in which the increasing speed of change will directly affect us all. If you read Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat, you must read Sonic Boom, because this book is the next step.” —Tyler Cowen, Holbert C. Harris Professor of Economics at George Mason University and co-founder,

Sonic Boom is the thinking person's Future Shock.” —Carl Schramm, President, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

“I strongly recommend this book to everyone who wants deep insights into the future without either excessive optimism or pessimism.” —Gary Becker, University of Chicago economist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and Presidential Medal of Freedom, on Sonic Boom

“Moving.” —The New York Times Book Review on The Here and Now

“Exceptionally moving.” —The Los Angeles Times on The Here and Now

“Thought provoking... The novel's moral message might seem heavy-handed if its observations didn't ring so true.” —Wall Street Journal on The Here and Now

“Well, what a sermon! But that's what Easterbrook has written, a thought-provoking sermon [which] deserves an evangelical 'enthusiastic', tent-meeting review.” —Carolyn See on The Here and Now, Washington Post

“[Easterbrook's] engagement with social and spiritual causes comes through clearly in this satisfying tale of disillusionment and redemption.” —San Francisco Chronicle on The Here and Now

In the Press

Easterbrook's (<em>Sonic Boom<em>, 2009, etc.) latest social commentary as literary fiction filters leverage buyouts, derivatives marketing and multimillion-dollar CEO bonuses through the lens of one wave-riding family. - Kirkus Reviews

About the author

Gregg Easterbrook

GREGG EASTERBROOK is the author of a number of books, including The Progress Paradox, Tuesday Morning Quarterback, The Here and Now, and Sonic Boom. He is a contributing editor of The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic and The Washington Monthly, and a columnist for He has been a distinguished fellow of the Fulbright Foundation, a visiting fellow of the Brookings Institution, a bartender, a bus driver and a used-car salesman.

Gregg Easterbrook

From the Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books

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