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Where Are the Customers' Yachts?: or A Good…

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?: or A Good Hard Look at Wall Street

by Fred Schwed

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This book is a humorous review of the Stock Market. It was written about 10 years after the 1929 stock market crash by an author who had been working on Wall Street at the time. His definitions of speculation (“an effort, probably unsuccessful, to turn a little money into a lot”) and investment (“an effort, which should it be successful, to prevent a lot of money from becoming a little”) seem to sum up his views on the function or futility of buying and selling stocks. Most of the book serves to convince the reader of the validity of his definition of speculation. He does not provide details for how to achieve the goal investing as he defines the term. However, his biography indicates that he continued to work in the financial industry even after his experience of 1929, so it appears that, at the least, he believed successful investing was feasible.
In spite being written more than 50 years ago, the book is probably still relevant. First, because his definition of “speculation” remains accurate in describing a lot of stock trading. And secondly, because the lack of a reliable approach to successful “investing” is still the case. And the book is both informative and witty. ( )
  dougb56586 | Jun 1, 2014 |
It wasn't quite as provocative, insightful or hilarious as i had been hoping. But nevertheless it was interesting to see that things haven't really changed since the book was written in 1940. I particularly liked his comments on the value of short-selling in chapter V and his comments on regulatory reform in chapter IX. My most favourite quote is:
"Speculation is an effort, probably unsuccessful, to turn a little money into a lot. Investment is an effort, which should be successful, to prevent a lot of money becoming a little." ( )
1 vote jvgravy | May 13, 2011 |
A fun book that offers no solutions nor concrete advice, but does it's darndest to illustrate the problems on 1930's Wall Street, most of which are as poignant today as they were then. Schwed is consistently entertaining, self-deprecating and fair minded towards those oft villified wall street bankers and brokers. A key point Schwed makes that's worth remembering (especially these days) is that mistakes are made more often out of well-intentioned idiocy than crookery, but that each are equally damaging. While Schwed spends most of his time explaining and lamenting the situation instead of proferring answers, he manages to get away with it due to the humorous treatment he gives investing and finances in general. ( )
1 vote drewfull | Jul 26, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0471770892, Paperback)

"Once I picked it up I did not put it down until I finished. . . . What Schwed has done is capture fully-in deceptively clean language-the lunacy at the heart of the investment business."
-- From the Foreword by Michael Lewis, Bestselling author of Liar's Poker

". . . one of the funniest books ever written about Wall Street."
-- Jane Bryant Quinn, The Washington Post

"How great to have a reissue of a hilarious classic that proves the more things change the more they stay the same. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent."
-- Michael Bloomberg

"It's amazing how well Schwed's book is holding up after fifty-five years. About the only thing that's changed on Wall Street is that computers have replaced pencils and graph paper. Otherwise, the basics are the same. The investor's need to believe somebody is matched by the financial advisor's need to make a nice living. If one of them has to be disappointed, it's bound to be the former."
-- John Rothchild, Author, A Fool and His Money, Financial Columnist, Time magazine

Humorous and entertaining, this book exposes the folly and hypocrisy of Wall Street. The title refers to a story about a visitor to New York who admired the yachts of the bankers and brokers. Naively, he asked where all the customers' yachts were? Of course, none of the customers could afford yachts, even though they dutifully followed the advice of their bankers and brokers. Full of wise contrarian advice and offering a true look at the world of investing, in which brokers get rich while their customers go broke, this book continues to open the eyes of investors to the reality of Wall Street.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:02 -0400)

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