Manual of Ideas Google Talks

Long time readers will remember my Manual of Ideas book review. So I thought you might also be interested in the video below. It’s a Google Talk from Manual of Ideas author John Mihaljevic, on the secret to finding great investing ideas.

So if you’re a value-focused investor looking to learn something this slow Sunday morning, why not check out this educational video below:

And of course, if you’re still curious about finding value investment ideas then you might want to see if Manual of Ideas is the right investing book for you.

As a reminder, here are a few more Google Talk videos that equity investors might find interesting:

 

Confronting Capitalism Book Review

Confronting Capitalism Book Review

Is Confronting Capitalism the right book for you?

Confronting Capitalism by Philip Kotler proposes “Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System.”

So in this book review, I’ll tell you all about Confronting Capitalism, and what you should expect if you decide to read this book. I’ll tell you my favourite parts and any areas where there’s a little room for improvement. Plus you’ll discover why this book is easy to understand and a worthwhile read. Sound good?

But first things first…

I should thank the good people over at FSB Associates for sending me a copy of the book to review. I am always happy to find new finance books, and this is no exception. Now let me tell you a little more about Confronting Capitalism.

 

Summary of Confronting Capitalism:

This book, Confronting Capitalism, is exactly what the title suggests. The book is all about looking at the prevailing capitalist system and being honest about where it comes up short. Now to be clear, the author is by no means a communist or someone who overly apologetic for capitalism. But he is realistic that the existing situation isn’t perfect. It’s kind of refreshing.

Confronting Capitalism dedicates one chapter to each of the 14 major shortfalls of capitalism. Most of the issues in each chapter are probably things you’v heard of before, which makes the book quite easy to understand. Things like rising income inequality, environmental exploitation and the “financialization” of American industry are byproducts of our current capitalistic system. And they aren’t exactly positive end results either.

But Confronting Capitalism doesn’t stop at the problems. At the end of each chapter, the author proposes potential solutions, workarounds and strategies to improve our capitalist model. So suffice it to say, when you read Confronting Capitalism you get a high-level view of capitalisms short-comings, and an actionable roadmap to improvement.

Now that reminds me…

The Best Part About Confronting Capitalism:

After giving it some thought, I realized there’s one thing Confronting Capitalism does particularly well. In contrast to other books that criticize the current state of our economic system (The Great Deformation comes to mind), Confronting Capitalism goes a step further.

I really appreciated how the author of this book decided to include suggestions for improvement. That’s because it’s incredibly easy to criticize our existing situation. Anybody can play the blame game. But it takes another type of thinking to sit down and propose ideas to help us move forward (even if they aren’t all absolutely perfect).

I very much enjoyed how Confronting Capitalism starts at the present and looks for realistic ideas for improvement. And since the book is relatively short, the author is forced to be focused and concise when writing about his ideas to improve capitalism. And aside from the fact that you might disagree with some of the solutions proposed in the book, I think anyone can appreciate the constructive nature of drawing attention to these issues and trying to build on them.

Of course, there’s a flip side to this coin…

Is Confronting Capitalism too Simplistic?

Some readers might be skeptical of the idea that can capitalism can be improved upon. But I (perhaps, naively) believe it can. And I think books like this are an important part of the dialogue. The book is well-written, to the point and focused on a clear message. You can’t ignore the points it makes.

The only criticism I foresee from readers is that the book is a little bit simplistic. To be honest, I don’t mind this approach because curious readers can easily research issues they want to learn more about. And it makes Confronting Capitalism an effective primer on the issues at hand.  It’s easy to get started reading this book and once you start you’ll be compelled to finish. So for these reasons, I think the pros of simplicity outweigh the cons. Make sense?

Now let’s finish up this book review…

Confronting Capitalism – The Final Word:

Confronting Capitalism is an interesting and timely book that provides a great overview of the issues facing capitalism. For anyone looking to get up to speed with these issues, I recommend buying Confronting Capitalism on Amazon today.

If you’re still a little unsure, you can also watch the video book review below, to get even more information about Confronting Capitalism and whether or not it’s the right book for you.

Confronting Capitalism – Video Book Review:

conference call investing narrative

Investing on Conference Call Narratives

As an investors, conference calls can be one of the best tools at your disposal. They’re that relatively rare opportunity where you get to hear straight from the mouths of management. And for me personally, conference calls (and their transcripts) have been essential part of my investment due diligence.

Let me tell you why.

Forget about speculative news headlines and unfounded rumours. Conference calls typically allow you to get the truth, straight from the source. It’s an incredibly easy way to get yourself up to speed on the key initiatives your portfolio companies are undertaking. And it allows you to judge for yourself whether or not analyst estimates are founded in fact or fiction.

In other words…

Conference calls offer you important insight on how the investment narrative. And, at least in my humble experience, there are a couple of reasons this story arc is worth paying attention to.  The reason is, when you understand the consensus narrative about how a company is doing, you can start to determine whether it is undervalued, over-valued, or just about right.

For example, in the Investment Checklist and The Art of Value Investing, the authors explain you ned to know what the street thinks (consensus narrative), so you can determine if your “variant perspective” is valid, or if it’s been discounted by the stock market already. Only then can you start to have some confidence in your value investing thesis.

So basically… if you want to do some second-level thinking about your stocks, then conference calls are a great way to help you ask the right questions. They can really help you see what the analyst community is expecting. And it’s how you can start to understand what’s “priced-in” to your stock at the current market cap that you can really start having investment insights.

It’s for those reasons, that I think conference calls are some of the best investing resources you can find. And best of all, they’re free!

So head on over to Seeking Alpha or ConferenceCallTranscripts.org to get up to speed on the latest conference calls for your favourite companies.

Happy earnings season!

Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? Book Review

Where Are The Customers' Yachts Book ReviewWhere Are the Customers’ Yachts?, by Fred Schwed Jr. provides “A Good Hard Look at Wall Street.”

Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? was first published in 1940, and has been re-published three times since. And by the way, if you aren’t impress by the 75-year track record, you might find this interesting:

On the bottom of page 6 of the 2014 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Report, Warren Buffett calls Where Are The Customers’ Yachts?, a “wonderful book.” And in this book review, I’ll tell you why.

But that’s not all…

When you’re done reading this post, you’ll also know what “Where Are The Customers’ Yachts?” is all about. And I’ll be sure to share my favourite parts, where the name of the book comes from and everything else you need to know in order to decide if Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? is the right book for you. Now let’s get into it…

Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? – The Title Explained:

Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? is an unusual title. And before we get into what the book is all about, it’s important you understand these first five words. In this book more than most, the title really sets the stage for the book. So here’s what it’s all about:

Where Are The Customers Yacths Book Summary

The title of Where Are The Customers Yacths explains it all…

Make sense? The idea behind the title is that, if everyone on Wall Street is so rich, why aren’t their customers rich too? You should always be skeptical of someone who’s making money when their customers don’t seem to be going anywhere. Now that the title is out of the way, let me tell you what this book is all about…

Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? Is a Skeptics’ Guide to Wall Street:

Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? is a fantastic book. And it’s even written by an ex-Wall Streeter. But this broker-turned-author isn’t exactly an ode to high finance. In fact…

Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? is a skeptical look at the investment industry, and the implications for the everyday individual. It raises critical questions and identifies myriad causes for concern. The book covers everything from financial forecasting, to mutual funds, to short selling and much much more. The author highlights all-too-common missteps and expensive mistakes that are lurking just around the corner.

But that’s not even my favourite part…

The Best Part of Where Are The Customers’ Yachts?:

To be honest, even though Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? is a great finance book for traders and investors, the best part of the book wasn’t even about investing. Instead…

The best part of Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? is the humour! Seriously: this book is hilarious! Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. Once I heard what the author had to say about fat cat investment bankers, I was dying to hear what he had to say about options, finance reform and retail investors.

The book reads incredibly well. It’s pretty short and the font is big. But the author’s words really make the pages wiz by. There are also some smile-worthy cartoons included in Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? that really hit home the key points. And let me just say…

The hilarity of this book really adds to it’s value as a finance book. The truth is, because the content is so engaging and entertaining, it really helps you remember it. So I’m not just saying you should buy this book if you’re looking for a laugh – just that it’s another added bonus and probably another reason this book has been so popular for so long.

At this point, I usually find something critical to say about the book I’m reviewing. But in this case, there really isn’t much to criticize. The book isn’t a financial analysis text book, that’s for sure. On the other hand, it’s a memorable and concise account of what you need to be aware of when you’re thinking about what to do with your savings.

So with that in mind, let’s wrap this up…

Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? – The Final Word:

Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? is an amazing book that has been published again and again as the years go by. Although the cover might get updated, and a new introduction or preface is added, the original timeless wisdom remains the same. And you don’t want to miss it. For those reasons, I definitely recommend you buy Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? on Amazon.

But no pressure. If you’re still a little unconvinced, check out the video book review below for even more information. Sound good?

Where Are The Customers’ Yachts? – Video Book Review:

100 to 1 In The Stock Market Book Review

100 to 1 in the Stock Market Book Review

Is 100 to 1 in the Stock Market Book Review the right book for you?

In the book, 100 to 1 in the Stock Market Book Review, by Thomas W. Phelps,” A Distinguished Security Analyst Tells How to Make More Of Your Investment Opportunity.”

So is 100 to 1 In The Stock Market the right investing book for you? Well, you’ll have to read this book review to see for yourself. But I can tell you, I certainly enjoyed it. And for your context…

100 to 1 In The Stock Market was originally published in 1972. It then went out of print, and used copies were selling on Amazon for upwards of $600. Apparently, the publisher took pity on us poor value investors and released a second edition of the book in 2014. This is the version I was able to pick up for a reasonable price and what I’ll review for you here today.

And by the way…

If you’re wondering how this book came on my radar, I read about it on ValueWalk.com, and was compelled enough to order it for myself. Now let me tell you why I stand by my decision to buy 100 to 1 In The Stock Market…

Why 100 to 1 In The Stock Market is Worth Reading:

100 to 1 in the Stock Market Book Review is a book about long term buy and hold investing. It’s about finding great companies, and holding them for the long term. In fact, this book actually reeks of Buffettology. But it was written almost 40 years earlier! At some points I couldn’t believe it.

The book looks back over the decades before 1970. 100 to 1 In The Stock Market identifies companies that went up 100 times in value (e.g. from 1, to 100). And then the author tries to identify trends and similarities to help you find companies in today’s market that are poised for growth and greatness (a la Phil Fisher).

100 to 1 in the Stock Market talks about everything from economic moats, to company valuation  and even to relative strength. It blends technical analysis, fundamental analysis and common sense in a way that’s almost intuitive. You see…

While the author of 100 to 1 In The Stock Market is a talented investor in his own right, he’s an even better teacher. Let me tell you a little more about that…

My Favourite Part of 100 to 1 In The Stock Market:

100 to 1 in the Stock Market Book Review is a wonderful book for a number of reasons. But the first thing that struck me was the conversational tone of the book. I just love the writing in this book. It’s really easy to read, and doesn’t assume too much investing knowledge. This makes it incredibly easy to understand and engaging to read. But it gets better.

I also really like the way the book is filled with personal anecdotes that make the investing lessons that much easier to remember. And since the book was first written over 40 years ago, the language is a little different. There are tons of quaint expressions and idioms that are sure to make you smile. Now…

I know you might not read finance books for humour. But a lot of investing books are bone dry, so it’s nice to see an author who doesn’t take himself too seriously. And I genuinely believe this helps you internalize the nuggets of wisdom that adorn this book’s 256 pages.

Where 100 to 1 In The Stock Market Comes Up Short:

I think critics of 100 to 1 In The Stock Market have a fair argument. The reason is, anybody can look backwards and find patterns or make assertions. And it’s easy to see why you should be skeptical of this regression analysis.

But in defence of 100 to 1 In The Stock Market, the author does is the first to admit that he isn’t the perfect stock picker. He’s mainly stating that IF you can find these companies and stick with them, you can make more money than you’ll know what to do with. And sure…

100 to 1 In The Stock Market provides some guidance of where to find these 100X investments, it’s by no means definitive. In fact, the author actually recommends anybody who needs help learning to analyze stocks,  get very familiar with Graham and Dodd’s Security Analysis. Can you think of better advice?

Now, I think I’ve given you a balanced view of 100 to 1 In The Stock Market, so let’s finish this book review up, shall we?

100 to 1 In The Stock Market – The Final Word:

100 to 1 In The Stock Market is a classic investing book that is back by popular demand. I’m not even joking! It’s a great gift for any buy and hold investor who’s interested in affirming and improving their investment approach and convictions. If that sounds like you, I recommend you buy 100 to 1 in the Stock Market Book Review on Amazon.com.

If you’re still on the fence about 100 to 1 In The Stock Market, check out the video book review below. You’ll see my up close and personal reaction to this reputable read.

100 to 1 In The Stock Market – Video Book Review:

(Another) Conversation with Mohnish Pabrai and Guy Spier

Long-time readers of StockIdeas.org know, I’m a big fan of both Mohnish Pabrai and Guy Spier. So I can’t help but share (another) Google Talks video that sits down with the two value investors to talk about business, investing and life:

A Conversation With Mohnish Pabrai and Guy Spier at Google:

The above video is a great resource for anyone looking to learn from these value investing legends. And if you liked this value investing video, check out my earlier Google Investing Talks.

You can also check out book reviews of The Dhandho Investor, by Mohnish Pabrai and The Education of a Value Investor by Guy Spier. They’re both great value investing books.

Happy learning!

Howard Marks Google Talks:

As discussed in our review of The Most Important Thing, Howard Marks is a value-investing voice that’s always worth listening to. So when I saw this Google Talk from Howard Marks, I couldn’t help but share it. Take a look, and see the most important things, all for yourself:

And if you enjoyed this Google Talk, check out the other ones I’ve shared lately, like: Pat Dorsey on wealth building and George Friedman on European Flashpoints.

Have a great Easter weekend!

All The Presidents’ Bankers Book Review

All The Presidents Bankers Book Review

Is All The Presidents Bankers’ the book for you?

All the Presidents’ Bankers, by Nomi Prins, is about The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power.

So in this book review, I’ll tell you what All the Presidents’ Bankers is all about, so you can decide if this is the right book for you. Now let’s get started, shall we?

By the way, if you’re not familiar with the author, Nomi Prins, she’s a former Wall Street banker herself. So if this former managing director at Goldman Sachs isn’t qualified to pull back the curtain and show you how things really work, then who is?

And to be honest, I bought this book on a whim, but actually ended up really enjoying it. Let me tell you why.

Why All The Presidents’ Bankers is Worth Reading:

All the Presidents’ Bankers is a fascinating look at the link between Wall Street and the White House, and how it has evolved over the last 100 years. The book is one part history, one part finance, one part politics and all parts critical. All The Presidents’ Bankers doesn’t hold back.

Instead, the book takes an up-close look at the surprising and powerful relationships between the biggest Wall Street bankers and America’s commander and chief. The book starts by looking at the events leading to the 1929 stock market crash. And from there…

All The Presidents’ Bankers shows how America’s most influential financiers, and consecutive Presidents of the United States, worked together to export their agenda, and power, around the world. She picks apart this complex and intertwined relationship to show how foreign and domestic policy decisions are really made.

All The Presidents’ Bankers also does a great job challenging the status quo. If you are longing for the “good old days,” and wondering how our society became so corrupt, confused and off-course, this might book will probably point you in the right direction. But that’s not even my favourite part.

The Best Part of All The Presidents’ Bankers:

The best part of All the Presidents’ Bankers, in my opinion, was the way the book was focused on people. For example, a lot of financial history books, like The Great Deformation (which is still a great book), is focused on policies, events and outcomes. In contrast, All The Presidents’ Bankers really follows the key people that have influenced these important events over the last 100 years.

The author does a fantastic job of figuring out who the main players are, and clearly illustrating their roles in cementing the stature of the ultra-elite. Nomi Prins also demonstrates that it wasn’t just one banker or one President that led the world to the way it is. Nope, on the other hand, it was decades of never-ending planning. And by the way…

All The Presidents’ Bankers makes it clear that it wasn’t just the bankers exploiting the White House, which you might think to be the case. Instead, this book highlights a much more nuanced relationship that is rife with quid pro quo.

So, is All The Presidents’ Bankers for everyone? Well, not exactly…

Why You Might Not Want to Read All The Presidents’ Bankers:

Truthfully, I quite liked All The Presidents’ Bankers. It brought a lot of context and understanding to other things I’d read, such as Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. But that said, I don’t think is the kind of reading that everybody loves.

If you really accept the ideas discussed in All The Presidents’ Bankers, then you might find yourself at odds with the mainstream media. Some of the conclusions the book reaches might make you scratch your head and question if that’s the way the world really works. Some of your more straight-edged friends might even call you a conspiracy theorist, if you were to talk to them too much about the subject matter. Seriously!

With that in mind though, All The Presidents’ Bankers does a great job focusing on the facts and the people behind them. The book is about 500 pages, including about 70 pages of reference notes (in tiny font). So as long as you aren’t intimidated by a longer than average book and thinking outside the box, All The Presidents’ Bankers could be the book for you.

Now, let’s bring this book review to a close…

All The Presidents’ Bankers – The Final Word:

All The Presidents’ Bankers is a fascinating book. It does a great job explaining the hidden alliances that drive American power. For this behind-the-scenes look at what makes the United States, and western finance in general, power the world I recommend you buy All the Presidents’ Bankers on Amazon.

If you’re still a little unsure, you might also want to watch the video book review of All The Presidents’ Bankers, below. This will give you even more insight into whether or not this great book is the right one for you.

All The Presidents’ Bankers – Video Book Review:

The Colder War Book Review

colderwar-book review

Are you ready for the colder war?

The Colder War, by Marin Katusa, is about “How the Global Energy Trade Slipped from America’s Grasp.”

And in this book review, I’ll give you a summary of what The Colder War is all about. I’ll also share what I liked and didn’t like about the book, so you can determine if this is the right read for you. Sound good?

And in case you’e wondering, I picked up The Colder War after reading about it on ValueWalk.com. It’s not exactly an investing book. Instead, it’s more about the geopolitics of energy. But the implications for investors are clear. So, let’s get into this book review in earnest.

Why The Colder War is Worth Reading:

The Colder War takes a fascinating look at the global energy landscape, how it’s rapidly changing, and what that implies for the world’s nation sates. At the centre of the book is Vladimir Putin.

Putin is cast as an ambitious and successful individual obsessed with returning Russia to it’s former glory. And the crux of his plans involves cornering the world’s energy resources, markets and infrastructure. The Colder War does a compelling case of laying out how this is going down.

More specifically, the book starts by giving a brief history of Putin’s calculated moves to get to where he is today. The book then provides an overview of Russia’s strategic interest in the world’s most pressing geopolitical issues. From there…

The Colder War provides a careful look at how Putin is developing Russia’s energy infrastructure, and strategically securing access and distribution agreements with emerging markets across the globe. The Colder War shows how Russia is positioning itself to maximize influence on the world’s energy mix.

By the end of the book, the author’s implications for the United States, and the mighty dollar are clear. Whether you believe his conclusions are not will be up to you. But the Colder War provides an interesting point of view you might not have heard before. And I think when it comes down to it, that was my favourite part of this book.

My Favourite Part of The Colder War:

I think the aspect of The Colder War that I liked most was the unique point of view. The book is written by a European, so the perspective is quite a bit different than what you typically see in the American mainstream news.

Now, that’s not to say this other perspective is better, it’s just different. And as an investor, it’s important to think independently and critically about the facts. The Colder War is a good reminder that other narratives exist than the most common one. So it could pay to keep your eyes open.

Now that said, even though I really liked The Colder War, it wasn’t perfect.

Where The Colder War Comes Up Short:

The Colder War was really interesting to read. And for a book on geopolitics, it was easy to understand and fast moving. But there are two sides to every coin.

And I think by covering so much ground in a relatively short number of pages, the author is forced to make some assumptions and gloss over areas that might deserve a little more discussion. But I guess you have to take the good with the bad.

Just keep in mind, life on the geopolitical stage is about probabilities playing out. And there are always lurking or hidden variables that we don’t account for. These unknown unknowns can drastically alter expected outcomes. While I really liked reading The Colder War, I think it comes up a little short in this area.

So now that you’ve learned a little bit more about the pros and cons of The Colder War, let’s finish up this book review.

The Colder War – The Final Word:

The Colder War is an interesting read that shares a point of view you might not have previously considered. For this reason alone, it’s worth taking a close look. Click through to Amazon.com and read more about The Colder War for yourself.

If you’re still not 100% sure this book is for you, take a look at the video book review below. It’s sure to give you a little more information about The Colder War by Marin Katusa.

The Colder War – Video Book Review:

The Disciplined Trader Book Review

The Disciplined Trader Book Review

Are you a disciplined trader?

The Disciplined Trader, by Mark Douglas, is all about developing winning trading attitudes.

The Disciplined Trader is Mark Douglas’s first book. And like his second book, Trading in the Zone, this is all about trading psychology. It’s about the rarely-discussed subject of how your mind interfaces with the market. Fascinating stuff, right?

Mark Douglas is a believer that 80% of your trading performance is psychological, rather than methodological. In other words, it’s not what trading indicators you use, but it’s how you develop the mental skills to act on your analysis. And as far as I know…

Nobody talks about this aspect of trading as effectively as Mark Douglas, he’s spent the last 20+ years figuring out what works, and explaining it in clear terms. So let me tell you what you’re in for with The Disciplined Trader.

Why It’s Worth Reading The Disciplined Trader:

The Disciplined Trader can probably help you improve your psychological reaction to the markets. If you’ve traded with real money on the line before, you know this is no small feat. Learning to improve the way you react when the stakes are high, is what this book is all about. In fact…

I found the material in this book to be so stimulating, that I actually read it cover-to-cover, three times in a row! Once I finished it the first time, I started reading from the start again immediately. That’s because there is so much information and knowledge in this book that I literally couldn’t soak it all up the first time!

If that’s not saying a lot, I don’t know what is.

The other think I liked about The Disciplined Trader is that I read it is Mark Douglas’s first book, written 10 years before Trading in the Zone. So you can really see his thinking taking shape. And you can feel his experiences of losing money in the market are still quite fresh. I think the author does a very effective job making the book relatable. But that’s not even the best part.

My Favourite Part of The Disciplined Trader:

If you really want to know, I think the best part of The Disciplined Trader is the thinking methodology the book is based on. Without giving it away, Douglas does an excellent job challenging some of the most fundamental assumptions you have about the way the world works.

He clearly demonstrates how the stock market is an environment like no other. And our experiences in the world-at-large do not effectively equip us to interact with the intricacies of the market.

But not only does The Disciplined Trader show you how the market is special, it shows you what thinking skills you need to come out on top. It teaches the necessary criteria required for consistent trading success, and if that isn’t every traders dream, then I don’t know what is.

But in case you think I’m getting biased, I want you to know the book isn’t perfect.

Where The Disciplined Trader Comes up a Little Short:

I might be splitting hairs here. But I found the writing in this book to be a little bit choppy. Particularly, the first couple of chapters had some long sentences that were a little bit tough to follow at times.

However, I think as the book progressed the flow improved. And this might be a function of Douglas easing into being a writer (as he was previously a professional trader and trading coach). Nonetheless…

If my biggest complaint about this book is some run-on sentences, then I think that’s saying a lot. This is one of the best trading psychology books on the market (pun intended). Now, let’s finish of this book review.

The Disciplined Trader – The Final Word:

The Disciplined Trader is an incredibly educational book. I have yet to find another expert that tackles the subject of market psychology with the same insight and expertise as Mark Douglas. And this book is another great example of this (along with Trading in the Zone). For these reasons, I highly recommend you buy The Disciplined Trader on Amazon.

If you’re still undecided, I encourage you to check out the video book review. This will give you even more insight into what you can expect from reading Trading in the Zone.

The Disciplined Trader – Video Book Review: