Monthly Archives: March 2015

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:

The Most Important Thing (Book Review)

The Most Important Thing Book Review

Discover if The Most Important Thing is the right book for you…

The Most Important Thing, by Howard Marks, provides Uncommon Sense for Thoughtful Investors.

As you might know, Howard Marks is an incredibly experienced investor, and co-founder of Oaktree Capital. To make the book even better, the newest version is annotated by other value investing hotshots, like Joel Greenblatt and Seth Klarman.

So if you’re keeping score…

When you read The Most Important Thing, you get insight, advice and guidance form some of the most proven minds in value investing. To make matters better, the book is easy to read and offers insightful advice that can serve you for your investing lifetime.

So keep reading this book review to see why I’m so glad my friend recommended this book to me.

Why The Most Important Thing is Worth Reading:

The Most Important Thing is, quite literally, a compilation of the most important things in value investing. The book is basically a series of annotated client memos that Howard Marks has written over the years. Each of the 20 chapters addresses one of the “most important things” in investing.

The great thing about this approach to the book, is that each chapter is relatively self-contained. This makes it easy to read on your commute, or quickly pick up and put down on the go. Plus…

Whenever an experienced investor like Howard Marks decides to share his most important thinking, after 40 years of working in the industry, it’s always worth listening. For this reason alone I recommend The Most Important Thing. But beyond that…

The discussions about risk, managing the psychology of investing, and focusing on a margin of safety are worth paying attention to. I can see myself re-reading this book every year or so, just to keep the lessons top of mind.

But that’s not even the best part.

My Favourite Aspect of The Most Important Thing:

In my opinion, the best part of The Most Important Thing, was the way the book focused on the investor thought process. You see, this book doesn’t give a prescriptive formula to help you avoid risk, or find investing bargains. But it does tell you how to think about all of these critical issues.

The reason I like this approach, is because it empowers you to adopt important and proven investing outlooks to your unique approach to the markets. The Most Important Thing actually encourages you to take the objective advice and apply it to your own experience and outlook.

And remember, when you read The Most Important Thing, you don’t just get the opinion of one amazing value investor, you get the insights of four other amazing value managers who offer critical reflections on Marks’ thoughts. Keeping this expert guidance top of mind, and optimizing it to work with your investing approach is sure to be a tailwind for your portfolios.

Now usually…

At this point in the book review, I’d try to find something negative about the book (or at least an area of improvement). But in this case, I don’t have much to say. The book reads well, it offers great advice and it’s something you can keep on your book shelf as reference material for decades to come.

My only caution would be to reiterate the book is about how to think about investing and those key issues that influence performance. That means it’s not a prescriptive methodology you can follow. But for me, this bigger picture influence is even more valuable than a formula somebody else came up with.

Now, let’s wrap this up, shall we?

The Most Important Thing – The Final Word:

The Most Important Thing by Howard Marks is a great value investing book. It really does offer uncommon sense. It’s logical guidance that you don’t hear often enough. For this reason alone, I recommend you take a look on Amazon and buy The Most Important Thing.

If you’re still on the fence, or want a little more information, why not check out the video book review for a little more perspective?

The Most Important Thing – Video Book Review:

The Great Deformation Book Review

The Great Deformation Book Review

Is The Great Deformation the right book for you?

The Great Deformation, by David A Stockman, is an in-depth look at “The Corruption of Capitalism in America.

Seriously! It’s not exactly an optimistic outlook on the state of our financial system. But it’s a fascinating read, and in this book review of The Great Deformation, I’ll be happy to share with you what you should expect when reading this book.

So why did I read The Great Deformation in the first place? Actually, one of my ZeroHedge-reading friends lent it to me. He insisted it would open my eyes to the cronyism and corruption that reigns supreme in the “land of the free.”

And boy, was it ever illuminating. Now let me tell you a little more about this New York Times best seller.

Why The Great Deformation is Worth Reading:

The Great Deformation is a really eye-opening book, because it challenges the narrative of financial history in a very compelling way. It takes a critical look at the 2008 financial crisis (or, as Stockman calls it, the Blackberry panic). He shows why the reaction was unjustified and reveals the allegedly nefarious motives of the main players. It’s a really revealing analysis of policy decisions that influence us all, whether you agree with his conclusions or not.

So here’s how the book progresses:

First, the book starts by reviewing the 2008 financial crisis,  criticizing the actions of society’s most-powerful plutocrats and policymakers.

Next, Stockman  takes a step back to look at how US government and business policies have evolved over the last 75 years. He clearly and compellingly shows that it’s no accident we are where we are today. And his prognosis for the future isn’t exactly rosy either.

Plus, David Stockman has the experience to back up his claims. His extensive work at power positions within both government and in the private sector make him uniquely positioned to offer insight on the evolution of America’s financial and monetary policies. It’s an unpopular viewpoint, but one that’s worth learning about, if only to hear a narrative you won’t find in the mainstream media.

So what was my favourite part about The Great Deformation?

What I Liked Most about The Great Deformation:

To me, the really amazing aspect of The Great Deformation is the way that Stockman doesn’t hold back. He leaves no stone unturned and no punches barred. The book is about 800 pages, but rather than a marathon, it reads like a sprint.

The pace at which Stockman makes proclamations and predictions is truly astounding. Despite being a veritable tome of information, The Great Deformation reads quickly. It’s an engaging series of stories that will leave you scratching your head, at the very least.

Stockman’s passion for the financial and political policies shaping our current and future situation is truly unbridled. It’s impressive to see someone lay out such a detailed description of our past and current circumstances, and what they presumably imply for the future.

So although I quite liked The Great Deformation, there’s still one area that I think could be improved upon.

Where The Great Deformation Came Up Short:

As I said, The Great Deformation does a wonderful job identifying and enumerating the myriad issues that plague our society. Stockman is incredibly critical of the policies and decision-making that have led us to our current situation.

But here’s the thing…

While pointing fingers and laying blame can be appropriate and interesting, it’s not exactly inspiring. Stockman offers a couple of potential solutions to the issues at hand, but by-and-large, he is focused on pointing out what’s wrong. To me, the book would have made more of an impact if Stockman offered some more suggestions on how to ameliorate the current situation, rather than just criticize it.

On the other hand, it seems Stockman believes The Great Deformation is still underway and there’s very little to be done to improve things, without a wholesale changing of the old guard and the principles we take for granted in our capitalistic society. I guess a problem well-defined is one that’s half-solved. So my regards to the author for taking it that far. I appreciate there aren’t easy solutions.

Now, let’s wrap up this book review of The Great Deformation.

The Great Deformation – The Final Word:

The Great Deformation is an eye-opening and incredibly informative book about the systemic problems that plague our financial system. The author does an impressive job highlighting the implications for businesses and individuals alike. And the mountain of statistics, anecdotes and information is enough to convince even the most ardent optimists that all is not what it seems.

If you’re curious to learn a little more about The Great Deformation, I encourage you to watch the video book review below. You can also click through to buy the The Great Deformation on Amazon. So what are you waiting for, why not read The Great Deformation for yourself?

The Great Deformation – Video Book Review: