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Enjoyable and informative.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-05-20

I don't consume very many biographies, but I enjoyed this one. The author weaves together a narrative of Graham's life, with explanations of his principle writings on business and economics in way that is absorbing whether or not you are familiar with the value investing school he founded. There are plenty of contributions by value investing practitioners such as Warren Buffett which help to illustrate how the system may be applied in practice as well as in theory.

It's fortunate that this book was written when it was, as so many of Graham's friends, colleagues, acquaintance and family were very elderly when they were interviewed. And they give colour to the portrait of a man of undoubted intellect, but also of some complexity. His exemplary integrity in his business dealings was a curious contrast with his sometimes selfish disregard for the feelings of his wives and children. And the sober respectability of his work in business and academia, with his frequently turbulent, sometimes tragic, and rather scandalous private life.

The only slight criticisms that might be levied are the authors evident affection for his subject (which to be fair is hard to avoid when studying an individual in such depth), and the really rather tedious chapter listing various organizations that have applied Graham's principles.

The narrator is perfectly acceptable.

A huge amount of education in just 23 hours.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-05-20

This book does an excellent job of educating you on how economics is relevant to a vast array of issues beyond those to which it is conventionally thought to apply. If you get to the end of this splendidly comprehensive book, you'll have a much better understanding of everything from transport policy to the impact of geography on historical development. The author has a talent for drilling down to the core of the issues involved, and ruthlessly assassinates the fallacies and dogmas that plague media and political discussion of these issues. Everything is written in plain, accessible language, and is refreshingly free of pedantic minutia.

I really liked how the book consistently highlights that economics is about people not numbers. And that those who talk about it as if it is some dry or even sinister discipline separate from humans and how they live their lives: have completely failed to grasp that markets and prices are reflections of reality, not an artificial imposition upon it. Without understanding these realities, voters are vulnerable to manipulation by clever politicians and journalists whose only interest is their own welfare or dogma.

The narrator is also good. Measured and clear.

Short and punchy.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-04-20

I like books that get to the point and don't pad, and this slim volume delivers it's message pithily and briefly. Basically, do more of what's important and less of what isn't, because you don't need to be good at everything.

The author does well-enough as his own narrator.

Lots of jargon, little practical.

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-04-20

This book boils down to the advice - "Buy the stocks that will go up".

I'm being slightly facetious, but only slightly. The author endlessly extolls the virtues of buying highly experimental companies that are "innovation leaders" (Enron? Worldcom?) and ignoring old fashioned ideas like earnings and PE ratios. He spends a lot of time telling us we *should* have bought Microsoft in 1990 or Google in 2000, but is strikingly vague on how exactly we were supposed to know *at the time* what seperated them from the hundreds of tech comapnies that went bust. I certainly accept that traditional value-investing metrics have their limits, but I don't believe that crystal ball gazing is a productive activity in investing. And this book relies very heavily on the idea that the future can be consistently predicted.

The book is also groaning under the weight of soundbite phrases of the authors own invention. "Change quake" "Ever-net" "Techonomy" "S-curb transformation" "Game over dominator" and numerous others that all had me rolling my eyes.

The author narrates his own book, which is probably wise since I can't imagine anyone else speaking this stuff with such enthusiasm.

Very dense, but lacking focus.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-04-20

There's a *tremendous* amount of material in here about various factors to consider when buying equities. Almost every paragraph raises some new point to consider, and it's all fascinating in it's own way, but it leaves you (or at least me) feeling more bewildered than informed.

The primary reference points are the investing principles of Ben Graham, Warren Buffett and Joel Greenblatt: and the book assumes you already have quite a bit of established knowledge and vocabulary to work with. I found it quite refreshing to read a book that doesn't treat you as a rank beginner and recite the same cliches and anecodtes you've heard a dozen times before, but I would recommend making yourself familiar with the above referenced authors first.

I tend to be of the KISS school, and this book makes an undeniably complex subject, fantastically complex. There's no unifying, easily-summed up set of principles to guide when you actually sit down and try to decide what to buy. I've no doubt many finance nerds (of whom I am one) will enjoy the endless reams of data, but those looking for a concise and practical guide on how to buy stocks, might want to look elsewhere.

Narrator is fine.

Too many meaningless metaphors.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-03-20

Diversification has been described variously as "The only free lunch on Wall Street" and as "A hedge for ignorance". This book clearly takes the former view, and whilst I don't necessarily disagree, I'm afraid this book didn't impress me.

The introduction by Jim Crammer didn't help to establish a tone of serious, sober long-term planning, but the bigger problem is that so much of the verbage here just isn't all that relevent. The book spends a great deal of its length on long convoluted metaphores that leave one no clearer on what to do at the end. Suppose I accept that asset allocation *is* a bit like a house, and choosing a manager is a bit like the furniture - how exactly does that help me? And when it's not throwing useless methaphores at you, it's blinding you with pearls of wisdom like "Uncle Frank says - know what kind of person you are". Fine, but what exactly should be the allocation of bond vs equities vs metals Mr Darst? Of course Mr Darst might reply - "You have to figure it out for yourself based on the circumstances ya dummy". But I can't help feeling that message could have been delivered a very great deal more breifly, and without so much day-dreaming.

There are several good pieces of advice in here - firstly diversification is *not* just going long ten different equities in the same sector. Second, "you are less rational than you think you are": and "consider your time horizon". There - I've just saved you the price of the book.

Sean Pratt's narration will be familiar to anyone familiar with the "Little Books" series, and you'll have already decided if you like it or not. I find it perfectly acceptable.

Information overload.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-03-20

A good read to make you think long and hard about buying that "hot-tip" you just heard from a friend of a friend.

This is a book that assumes you're only interested in going long equitites for the long term, nevertheless, the sheer volume of advcie that is thrown at you in this book is somewhat overwhelming, and leaves you feeling that the idea of choosing your own stocks in a minefield - which at least made a refreshing change from all the books that try to tell people it's easy.

If you're familiar with this field, they'll be quite a lot here that you've probably heard before: but they'll also probably be something new and interesting to you. I found it rewarding even though long equities is not usually my style

I particularly like how it bangs home the message that the financial industry and the financial media are not princiaplly concerned with your propsperity. I don't think this can be said too often.

Narrator is fine. Although someone forgot to edit out a couple of short repetitions.

An acceptable value-investing primer.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-03-20

The whole "sideways markets" title is a bit of a gimmick. For a start this book came out nearly a decade ago and the main premise of it, that we were in for a decade of sideways markets, turned out to be false.

Fortunately, that doesn't matter much as this is a book about value investing, and finding equities to buy and hold. In that capacity, the book is a reasonable success, though you do have to be willing to absord a huge number of points without much int he way of structutre. If you're interested in this style of investing, I would suggest getting some other works to go along side it.

Narrator is fine.

Good, but don't expect impartiality.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-03-20

Part biography, part analysis of markets and part apologia: this is a *highly* opinionated book, and is a good read for just that reason. The author takes us through the recent past of the financial world, arguing against what he sees as misinformation about it in the media, and providing an entertainingly scathing commentary on the fallacies, delusions and deceptions investors will find pitched at them when they consider where to place their money.

No doubt there is plenty here to take issue with if you're so inclined, but I definitely found it worth my time.

Narrator is fine.

A better than average self-help book.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-03-20

As the author himself comments in the first chapter, it's hard to stretch the message "Just get on with it!" into an entire book. But Rob Moore manages to do just that, and to do so in a way that doesn't feel too much like like stretching. There' plenty of useful food for thought here, particularly around the question of being paralyzed by the pressure to make the "right" decision".

Moore does a good job as his own narrator, and his upbeat tone is infectious.

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