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Showing posts from February, 2010

Book Review: Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis

I just finished reading Liar's Poker by Lewis, an account of the early career of a Saloman brothers bond salesman. The book captures the culture and work ethos of a famous Wall Street investment bank and exposes the motives of people who run the business. The fact that the whole business was managed with only short term goals in mind and the customer's interest came last (after personal, followed by Saloman's) is etched into the reader's mind. Also, the hypocrisy perpetuated regularly by the management exposes the emotions of how fear and greed works in the market.

Liar's Poker raises fundamental questions in the mind of the discerning reader. Are the interests of the customer ever foremost in the mind of the the broker or is the broker out to make a killing for himself and his firm? Are the tie-dangling MBAs hired by these brokers who walk and talk like financial wizards have any knowledge of the markets or are they just parroting what they have picked up second-h…

Multi-disciplinary learning for Investing

Education is something we are supposed to get in school (and college). However, the more "educated" investors meet, the more I come to suspect this. It's like what 'Rancho' in the film 3 idiots says, circus tigers are called well-trained, not well educated. I guess, the education system, the world over focuses on producing a plethora of well-trained people. The genesis for that, I suppose, dates back to creating workers for industrial factories.
What is really needed in life and in investing is multi-disciplinary learning. Learning and correlating various subjects and finding their real-life uses. Subjects that really help an investor is basic mathematics, algebra, probability, logic, philosophy, history and very importantly psychology. Unfortunatley, colleges that turn out MBAs teach very little of this. Arcane academic theories are as useful to an investor as a wooden stick to a tiger hunter in a dense forest - it's just not useful enough.
As Charlie Munger s…

Book Review - Knockout Entrepreneur by George Foreman and Ken Abraham

Knockout Entrepreneur by George Foreman and Ken Abraham was a decent read. It tries to relate Foreman's experiences as a heavyweight boxing champion and as an entrepreneur after his boxing career was over. It is always interesting to read about someone who is a high achiever in his chosen field (like Foreman in boxing) and then goes out to achieve success in another unrelated field. It proves that success is based on certain attributes like hard work, perseverance and the ability to think and act for oneself. This is as true in the boxing ring as in real or business life.
The book is simplistic in it's approach and readers who are looking for some guides on how to star a business will be disappointed. This is more of a story of how Foreman made it big in business rather than a how-to guide. The book contains mostly common-sense approaches to starting a business which is available in nearly all this type of books. People who know George Foreman and have some liking of boxing wo…