Richard Vague really really cares about private-sector debt. And he thinks you should too. In A Brief History of Doom: Two Hundred Years of Financial Crises(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), Vague sees the rise and fall of private sector debt as the key factor explaining the cycle of economic crises experienced by developed and major developing economies over the past two centuries. The early stages of a lending cycle look and feel good. Everyone is happy, the lenders think they are smart, the borrowers feel they have everything under control. Then the lenders and borrowers take it to another level, and then another, and then it collapses, time and time again. Where are now? The good news is that debt/GDP levels aren’t too bad, but in certain sectors of the economy and certain countries, they are flashing red, brightly. Read the book to find which sectors and countries. Listen to the the New Books in Finance/New Books Network interview.