What are you reading re Business & Money?

Let me know when you get to Taipei. You have a drink (and a cigar) waiting for you.[/quote]

I live in Taipei, bro. It would be fun to get together like old times. I’m out of town from the 24th through the 29th on vacation though so otherwise name the time and place. I’m dying for a good cigar. Maybe we can get Mother Theresa and the rest of the crew to show up too and try to make sense of these strange times we’re living through. I might even have some fun and try to charge Mother Theresa for my " expert investment advice."

Let me know when you get to Taipei. You have a drink (and a cigar) waiting for you.[/quote]

I live in Taipei, bro. It would be fun to get together like old times. I’m out of town from the 24th through the 29th on vacation though so otherwise name the time and place. I’m dying for a good cigar. Maybe we can get Mother Theresa and the rest of the crew to show up too and try to make sense of these strange times we’re living through. I might even have some fun and try to charge Mother Theresa for my " expert investment advice."[/quote]

Check your pm box.

More from Michael Lewis – from a lenghty Op-Ed piece in today’s NYT.

[quote]The End of the Financial World as We Know It

AMERICANS enter the New Year in a strange new role: financial lunatics. We’ve been viewed by the wider world with mistrust and suspicion on other matters, but on the subject of money even our harshest critics have been inclined to believe that we knew what we were doing. . .

This is one reason the collapse of our financial system has inspired not merely a national but a global crisis of confidence. Good God, the world seems to be saying, if they don’t know what they are doing with money, who does?

Incredibly, intelligent people the world over remain willing to lend us money and even listen to our advice; they appear not to have realized the full extent of our madness. . .

To that end consider the strange story of Harry Markopolos. . . the former investment officer . . . who, for nine years, tried to explain to the Securities and Exchange Commission that Bernard L. Madoff couldn’t be anything other than a fraud. Mr. Madoff’s investment performance, given his stated strategy, was not merely improbable but mathematically impossible. And so, Mr. Markopolos reasoned, Bernard Madoff must be doing something other than what he said he was doing. . .

And yet the S.E.C.’s cursory investigation of Mr. Madoff pronounced him free of fraud.

What’s interesting about the Madoff scandal, in retrospect, is how little interest anyone inside the financial system had in exposing it. . .

The Madoff scandal echoes a deeper absence inside our financial system, which has been undermined not merely by bad behavior but by the lack of checks and balances to discourage it. “Greed” doesn’t cut it as a satisfying explanation for the current financial crisis. Greed was necessary but insufficient; in any case, we are as likely to eliminate greed from our national character as we are lust and envy. The fixable problem isn’t the greed of the few but the misaligned interests of the many. . .

OUR financial catastrophe, like Bernard Madoff’s pyramid scheme, required all sorts of important, plugged-in people to sacrifice our collective long-term interests for short-term gain. The pressure to do this in today’s financial markets is immense. . .

Over the last 20 years American financial institutions have taken on more and more risk, with the blessing of regulators, with hardly a word from the rating agencies, which, incidentally, are paid by the issuers of the bonds they rate. . . .

the S.E.C. itself is plagued by similarly wacky incentives. Indeed, one of the great social benefits of the Madoff scandal may be to finally reveal the S.E.C. for what it has become. . . it seldom penalizes serious corporate and management malfeasance — out of some misguided notion that to do so would cause stock prices to fall, shareholders to suffer and confidence to be undermined. Preserving confidence, even when that confidence is false, has been near the top of the S.E.C.’s agenda. . . .

How does this happen? How can the person in charge of assessing Wall Street firms not have the tools to understand them? Is the S.E.C. that inept? Perhaps, but the problem inside the commission is far worse — because inept people can be replaced. The problem is systemic. The new director of risk assessment was no more likely to grasp the risk of Bernard Madoff than the old director of risk assessment because the new guy’s thoughts and beliefs were guided by the same incentives: the need to curry favor with the politically influential and the desire to keep sweet the Wall Street elite.

And here’s the most incredible thing of all: 18 months into the most spectacular man-made financial calamity in modern experience, nothing has been done to change that, or any of the other bad incentives that led us here in the first place. . . [/quote]
nytimes.com/2009/01/04/opini … rn.html?em

Although I feel extremely grateful for my present employment – it’s interesting, enjoyable, the people are nice, the pay is not too lousy (though it’s not what I’d like to be earning), my office is great, I’m constantly learning, interacting regularly with CEOs and other top management of our company and others, as well as with extremely high level lawyers worldwide, I don’t have a boss, etc. – but I still hope to continue climbing up the corporate ladder and I’d like to make the next step to a serious executive position.

So, I’m halfway through reading this.

Rites of Passage at $100,000 to $1 Million+: Your Insider’s Lifetime Guide to Executive Job-Changing and Faster Career Progress in the 21st Century

It got outstanding reviews from 75 people on Amazon.com. . .
amazon.com/Rites-Passage-100 … 579&sr=8-1

and I’d have to agree, the guy who wrote it is definitely an expert and the book is packed full of good advice. He worked as a top level executive headhunter for 30 years (apparently recruiting CEOs, Presidents, GMs, Chairmans, etc. for multimillion dollar positions) and shares his inside wisdom here on how to improve your resume, network, work with headhunters (or without them) and land a great position. I’m underlining lots of stuff and intend to follow up on it.

But, despite the book being packed full of good advice that makes me eager to keep reading and learning, it also drags on interminably and could/should have been edited down to half its size. Additionally, the author really grates on me. To me, he appears to be arrogant and snobby, looking down his nose at those who earn US$100K or less. Heck, looking down his nose at those who earn $200-300K or less. I recognize that he worked regularly with people earning $500K, $1M, $2M, etc. and I recognize that they are in a different position and probably should use somewhat different tactics than the peons earning just $100-200K (or less :laughing: ).

Still, as I said, despite the fact that it’s too long and somewhat irritating from time to time, it still seems to be one of hte top books for working up the corporate ladder and I would recommend it for anyone interested in the same. :thumbsup:

I trade, I stopped working sometime ago and derive all my income from trading. Two books that were instrumental in getting on the right road were;

  1. Stan Weinstein’s Secrets for Profiting in Bull and Bear Markets by (surprise) Stan Weinstein
  2. Trading for a Living by Alexander Edler.

I am a technically based trader and rely on charts. I don’t look at the chart trying to auger the future. I look at the charts to tell me how the market is acting today. I then make decissions based on what I see. If I’m right I stay in the position until the price action tells me to exit. If the stock behaves in an unexpected manner I exit instantly.

People often make statments such as “I don’t time the market, everyone knows that is impossible”. I would counter that even someone who claims to be a buy and hold investor is also a market timer. You are buying today and hoping that your investments are worth more years later. That is not always the case though. In 2000 the S&P 500 was at 1500 today it’s at 1150.

Gutsy and admirable. I have always admired people able to do exactly that.

Any of you characters read " Never Eat Lunch Alone"

No, but I’ll check it out on amazon.com

What are people reading online to try to keep up with the state of the world, the state of the global economy, where things may be headed, to help assess the wisdom of your portfolio, your allocation, your investments, etc.?

I read the NY Times daily and occasionally check out MarketWatch, the Economist, Wall St. Journal, Motley Fool, etc., but haven’t found quite what I’m looking for. In particular, I’m very disappointed with Motley Fool. That’s supposed to be geared towards investors, but it seems to be nothing but stock picks, and no articles about what’s likely to happen with interest rates and how that will affect bonds, and whether bonds are a bubble about to burst, and where should a prudent investor stick his cash nowadays, and what recommendations do they have on allocation given the global slump, etc. I don’t want to JUST know 10 hot dividend stocks. I want intelligent broader discussion.

I’m looking for a book in English about China/Taiwan business law…anyone seen anything?

i know China laws are written in pencil

Two points about what was written back in 2008 on this thread:

  1. Some people are confusing Mr Buffett et al. with technical traders. Buffett et al. are value investors who do fundamental analysis, not technical. Also, not all fundamental analysis is the same. Buffett likes to know the details of the businesses he buys intricately. Walter Schloss, on the other hand, doesn’t (he just tries to get them at a very deep discount to his valuations of them). Walter Schloss goes about things in a really interesting way also. He doesn’t work long hours (if I remember correctly, 9:30 - 4:30) and he just looks over various manuals and reports, old school style. No fancy formulae.

  2. Jive Turkey: You might want to read Warren Buffett’s article, The Superinvestors of Graham and Doddsville, which deals with the notion of people being unable to beat the market except through luck.


As to what I’m reading, I’m working my way through all of the posts at Greenbackd.com (and the related links, and then I’ll check out some of the other blogs). http://www.simoleonsense.com/ is also good.

I’d recommend Benjamin Graham’s stuff. Warren Buffett’s letters to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway are good stuff. Seth Klarman’s Margin of Safety is good also. I read a printout of it (it’s out of print and sells on eBay and Amazon for $1,000+), but I think my friend has it on .pdf (he printed it out and gave it to me) and I might have it on .pdf also.

MT: Oh yeah, you might want to check out guys like James Montier, also. He’s written books (which I haven’t read…yet), but there are also articles by him online.

Here are parts one and two of an interview with him:

Part 1 – http://www.simoleonsense.com/miguel-barbosa-interviews-james-montier-part-1-value-investing-tools-techniques-for-intelligent-investing/
Part 2 – http://www.simoleonsense.com/part-2-interview-with-james-montier-%E2%80%93-the-little-book-of-behavioral-investing-%E2%80%93-how-not-to-be-your-own-worst-enemy/

Conveniently, he even provides a list of reading recommendations here http://www.mebanefaber.com/2009/12/08/james-montiers-reading-list/:

The classics
Security Analysis by Ben Graham and David Dodd (The sixth edition)
Chapter 12 of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes
Theory of Investment Value by John Burr Williams
Manias, Panics and Crashes by Charles Kindelbeger
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefevre

Modern wonders
The Little Book That Beats the Market by Joel Greenblatt
The Little Book of Value Investing by Chris Browne
Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb
Contrarian Investment Strategies by David Dreman
Speculative Contagion by Frank Martin

Psychological musts
Robots Rebellion by Keith Stanovich
Strangers to Ourselves by Tim Wilson
How We Know What Isn’t So by Tom Gilovich
Stumbling upon Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis by Richard Heuer Jnr

Hidden gems
Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig
Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink
The Inefficient Stock Market by Robert Haugen
The Margin of Safety by Seth Klarman
Your Money and Your Brain by Jason Zweig

Investment 201
Fooling some of the People, All of the Time by David Einhorn
The Fundamental Index by Rob Arnott et al
The Investors Dilemma by Louis Lowenstein
Financial Shenanigans by Howard Schilit
Creative Cash Flow Reporting by Charles Mulford and Eugene Comiskey

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
Mistakes Were Made, But Not by Me by Carol Travis and Elliot Aronson
Mindset by Carol Dweck

Hidden gems
Better: A Surgeons Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande
Why Smart Executives Fail by Sydney Finkelstein

I’ve only read a few of those, but I intend to sink my teeth into some more (amongst a whole lot of other stuff I’m picking up from sites like Simoleon Sense and Greenbackd). Some do not make for light reading, I might add. At the beginning of this year, I read Benjamin Graham’s Security Analysis in under two weeks. I find following the links or digging through the bibliographies really interesting too. Even more than what, for instance, Nassim Nicholas Taleb writes (which is awesome in and of itself), he references a ton of stuff.

Another thing I have done/am doing is to compile a list of as many great (value) investors as I can, and then read up on them and find out who their influences were. Many cite the same people, which is probably a good indication of something.

Man, there’s so much stuff I want to sink my teeth into right now that I would probably need a few lifetimes to get through it all.

I’m reading Managerial Economics: Theory, Applications, and Cases by Allen, Doherty, Weigelt, and Mansfield, sixth edition. OK, it’s not an investment book, but tell me your firm’s marginal cost per product, and give me enough data to run a regression analysis and derive a demand curve, and I’ll tell you the profit-maximizing price and quantity so fast it will make your head spin. :slight_smile: