Summer Reading Ideas

Summertime!  Investors can kick back on the beach and do some reading while sipping a favorite beverage.

Abnormal Returns is also on a (well-deserved) vacation, leaving many readers without the daily links they crave.  To fill the gap Tadas created a series of questions on interesting topics.

I really like ideas that create information you would not otherwise see.  The "Desert Island" quiz meets that objective.  I am posting the links — all worth checking out — and then adding my own answers.

In the first segment, you can see opinions from leading bloggers about the best investment book.  Most of the leaders were on my short list, but I aimed at individual investors.  Others had a different perspective.  I endorse all of the top choices, but I discovered a couple of new ideas.

In the second, the emphasis is on the best book since the crisis.  Once again, there are many good choices, including  many on the short list for my own answer.  Much of this reflects whether you have a "pop" perspective or a focus on investments.  My choice is eccentric — geared to my own audience.

The third asks bloggers who they would choose for a blind trust.  I begged off on this one, for reasons you can see in my answers below.  Having said this, I applaud the spirit of the panel vote.  The bloggers understand risk and reward.  The choices mentioned are all interesting.

The fourth installment asks what you would read if you could pick one blog.  For someone like me this is impossible.  I devour information from many sources.  I have scores of blogs on my news reader, and I read all of them.  Some get priority treatment.  I also follow suggested links from a variety of sources. Most importantly, when I am researching a topic (like Greece in recent days) I do a search on my own universe of blogs.  This often highlights information that I should read.

The choices for the favored blogs are all in my regular reading list, and I congratulate those featured.  We each try to find a "voice," discovering an audience where we can add value.  Some of the sources have built a very successful franchise by frequent posting of relevant information.  I read them, and so should you.

Here is the text for my answers:

1. What is your favorite finance/trading/investment book?

 [Jeff] I'm going to interpret this as my best recommendation for investors. The Essays of Warren Buffett:  Lessons for Corporate America includes Buffett's own words, carefully edited and presented by Lawrence A. Cunningham.  This is a book that can be read and appreciated at many different levels.  It has plenty of practical advice and wisdom for investors, presented in a readable and often entertaining fashion.

2. What finance/trading/investment book, published in the past five years (post-crisis), do you recommend?

[Jeff] Joel Greenblatt's The Little Book that (Still) Beats the Market is a great choice for investors.  It is both educational and practical.  It is short and easy to read, but difficult to follow in practice.  Why?  Most will not have the patience to stick with the system for the time required. 

3. If you had put your portfolio into a blind trust who (any investor/trader/institution) would you hire?

[Jeff] I cannot honestly answer without actually doing the work required to make such a decision.  Perhaps I can be helpful by saying how I would make the choice, looking for the following:

–Results over more than one business cycle –An unemotional, non-political approach– focused on the opportunities of the moment –A good method and the discipline to stick with it –Integrity and honesty –And most importantly –Concern for my specific needs, and awareness of changes.

There are not as many candidates as you might think, and they are probably not the biggest firms.  Some of my blogging colleagues would certainly be on the list of candidates.

4. If you could only read one blog, not Abnormal Returns, what would it be?

[Jeff] It is a good question, but I cannot do it with one choice from my many reads, so let me mention two.  For economic news I pick Calculated Risk.  Great coverage of economic data and important events.  Excellent charts.  Occasional opinions based upon data.  For trading I pick The Kirk Report.  Stock screens for good ideas.  Technical analysis that highlights alternative outcomes and emphasizes flexibility.

5. If you were not involved with the markets in some way what you would you be doing instead?

[Jeff] I would be a college prof — teaching public policy and advising government agencies.  I would probably be writing a blog, but one that analyzed policy alternatives. 

Investment Summary and Implications for Financial Journalism

There is no actionable investment advice from this article!

If you want to benefit from it, you actually need to think.  Sorry about that.

In sharp contrast, readers and viewers of financial news today were bombarded with stories about about how the Greek crisis would affect them.  The competition  for viewers and page views continues.  There were even stories about how Greece would affect your money market fund!  Sheesh!!

For the wise readers of "A Dash", I hope this helps you find some good reading ideas and some good blogs to read.


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