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Best Investment Books?, Suggest your favorite investment books
post Posted: Dec 15 2014, 07:07 AM
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The Manual of Ideas by John Mihaljevic

In 140 characters or less:

An excellent and detailed review of 9 of the most popular value investing styles. Why they work, and how to apply them.

Why you should read it:

While there are many investing books available to help beginners there are precious few that add value for those that have already mastered the basics. The Manual of Ideas steps in to the breech, providing a concise survey of the best value investing has to offer. It is written with the intermediate-advanced investor in mind.

The bulk of the book is 9 chapters, each reviewing a different value investing approach and asking the same questions of each. Why do they work? How can they be used and misused? How can we find these type of opportunities? How should we analyse these opportunities once they are found?

The value investing approaches covered:
  1. Deep Value: Ben Graham Style Bargains
  2. Sum-of-the-Parts Value: Investing in Companies with Excess or Hidden Assets
  3. Greenblatt's Magic Search for Good and Cheap stocks
  4. Jockey Stocks: Making Money alongside Great Managers
  5. Follow the Leaders: Finding Opportunity in Superinvestor Portfolios
  6. Small Stocks, Big Returns? The Opportunity in Underfollowed Small- and Micro-Caps
  7. Special Situations: Uncovering Opportunity ini Event-Driven Investments
  8. Equity Stubs: Investing (or Speculating?) in Leveraged Companies
  9. International Value Investments: Searching for Value beyond Home Country Borders
Despite being less than 300 pages, The Manual of Ideas took me a surprisingly long time to finish. The content wasn't particularly tough, but it was so jam-packed with value and thoughtful insights that I found myself re-reading paragraphs several times over.

Key lessons:

I endeavor to follow Farnam Street's (and Mortimer Adler's) guide 'How to Read a Book' and scribble down my key takeaways as I read a book. The Manual of Ideas makes this even easier by breaking down 10 key takeaways for each chapter. Rather than recreating that exhaustive list I will just point out a few key ideas that stuck out for me personally. There are literally hundreds more great insights that could have made this list.

#1: Cast yourself as the world's chief capital allocator

This was my biggest take away from the book. If you can stick to this, you avoid most of the pitfalls of the market, and are never holding a poor investment while in search of a greater fool

"While most investors do have a negligible impact on the overall market, the accompanying small fish mind-set does not lend itself to successful investing. Even when I invested a timy amount of money, I found it helpful to adopt the mind-set of chief capital allocator. I imagined my role as distributing the world's financial capital to activities that would generate the highest returns on capital."

"If I directed the allocation of the world's capital, I would not be able to rely on the market to bail me out of bad decisions. The greater fool theory of someone buying my shares at a higher price breaks down if the buck stops with me. Successful long-term investors believe their return will come from the investee company's return on equity rather than from sales of stock"

#2: Your process must be tailored to the value investment strategy you are pursuing.

This is both obvious and easily overlooked. All too often investors will talk themselves out of a deep value opportunity because the business is in turmoil. Or out of a fast growing company because it has a relatively higher valuation.

The core premise of The Manual of Ideas is that a distinct investment process, screening tools, and analytical framework must be used for each of the 9 investment approaches discussed. Mixing and matching tools between different frameworks is a recipe for disaster.

Case in point, a business with high returns on capital provides the investor no advantage if it pays out all of its earnings as dividends.

"The return on capital earned by the business is irrelevant when the payout ratio is 100%. As the payout ratio declines, the economics of the business becomes increasingly important."

#3: Capital light businesses are the most easily threatened

"When something other than capital employed drives the profits of a business, that something can change quite easily unless the business has a sustainable moat. Businesses with low capital intensity may be more likely to exhibit winner-take-all dynamics, as capital is not a barrier to scale. Consider how quickly Apply crushed well-established companies Nokia, Research in Motion, and even Sony."

#4: Investing might be a zero-sum game, but investors decide the average return

The idea that investing is a zero-sum game gets a lot of airtime. But this ignores the role that investors, as capital allocators, have on the average return.

"Many investors [have a] correct but incomplete view that public market investing is a zero-sum game. While not all investors can earn above-average returns, the average return is far from predetermined. If investors consistently made terrible decisions, for instance by investing only in money-losing Internet companies, there might be just as many relative underperformers and outperformers as there are today, but the market return would be considerably lower."

The last word:

On top of these key lessons there were literally hundreds of excellent insights in to the best way to pursue the 9 strategies. I am sure this will not be the last book that we see from John Mihaljevic and I look forward to the next.


"Every long-term security is nothing more than a claim on some expected future stream of cash that will be delivered into the hands of investors over time. For a given stream of expected future cash payments, the higher the price investors pay today for that stream of cash, the lower the long-term return they will achieve on their investment over time."
- Dr John Hussman

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post Posted: Sep 28 2014, 03:34 PM
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If anyone is interested, I'm offering Guppy's books and a few other introductions to various topics.
Better they find a new home than sit unused on my bookshelf. All in clean unscribbled condition.
  1. Catherine Davey "Contracts for Difference"
  2. Daryl Guppy "Chart Trading"
  3. Daryl Guppy "Bear Trading"
  4. Louise Bedford "The Secret of Candlestick Charting"
  5. Regina Meani "The Australian Investor's Guide to Charting"
  6. Ron Bennetts "The Australian Stockmarket - a guide for players, planners, and procrastinators"

    ... and ...
  7. Dr. Ravi Batra "The Great Depression of 1990" (written 1985)
Any reasonable offer considered; postage extra, Australia-wide approx. $7/single, $10-15 the lot
OR local pickup can be arranged. Please IM or email me.

I trade daily, but I am not a licensed adviser. Whether you find my ideas reasonable or not: The only person responsible for your actions is YOU.
I follow two rules: (1) There are no sacred truths. All assumptions must be critically examined. Arguments from authority are worthless. (2) Whatever is inconsistent with observed facts must be discarded or revised. We must understand the Market as it is and not confuse how it is with how we wish it to be. (inspired by Carl Sagan)
post Posted: Feb 16 2013, 11:35 PM
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Jim Rogers' latest book Street Smarts is a really great read. Lots of wisdom from a wonderful life.

post Posted: Feb 4 2013, 12:18 PM
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In Reply To: nipper's post @ Sep 24 2012, 09:59 PM

will try again

Books I Read in 2012, by Rudi Filapek-Vandyck, Editor FNArena

1.) Currency Trading for Dummies. Brian Dolan. Forex.com. 327 pages.

This book is in essence a self-help guide for aspiring traders, placed inside the context of global currency markets. Basic introductions about what makes FX crosses move up and down flow into themes such as "Developing a trading plan" and "Ten habits of successful currency traders". Author Dolan has two decades of market experience under his belt and the book presents itself as "your plain-English guide to currency trading". That's exactly what it is.

2.) Bulls, Bears & a Croupier who stopped gambling and made millions. Matthew Kidman. Wiley. 376 pages

Ever wondered how professional stock pickers view the share market? This book shares many an insight, including career mistakes Kidman made when on the job for Wilson Asset Management. Concrete examples make for a lively, recognisable context against the background of pre- and post-2007 experiences. Kidman writes a regular stockpickers column for Fairfax newspapers nowadays. One of the themes in his book is that individual investors can do better than the professionals given less restrictions, red tape and regulatory requirements. In my humble opinion, this is one of the better investment books around, if only because it talks "Australian stocks" against a very recognisable and knowledgeable background.

3.) Get Rich with Dividends: A proven system for earning double-digit returns. Marc Lichtenfeld. Agora. 200 pages.

I read a handful books on dividend strategies this past year and Marc Lichtenfeld's is probably the best and most practical one. Lichtenfeld is Associate Investment Director at the Oxford Club and leads a day-to-day investment fund that lives and dies by his dividend oriented investment strategies. This book largely confirms my own analyses and calculations from recent years. Nevertheless, it's good to have support from a professional at hand. Not for get-rich-quick trading oriented market participants, but if you are willing to let time do all the necessary work for your own financial benefit, Lichtenfeld's 10-11-12 system will prove a sure winner for you.

4.) The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World. Daniel Yergin. Penguin Press. Circa 800 pages.

I don't even know where to start to describe the wealth in knowledge this book offers. Whether it be oil, electric cars or natural gas, you will become a mini-expert by simply reading this truly magnificent effort. Pulitzer Prize winning Yergin (for previous book The Prize) has an incredible eye for detail and facts and has managed to embed the emergence of China and India in this modern encyclopaedia for all matters energy. Recommended reading for lovers of modern history as well as for anyone who's interested in energy, but in particular crude oil.

5.) The Little Book of Behavioral Investing: How not to be your own worst enemy. James Montier. John Wiley and sons.129 pages.

James Montier once upon a time sat next to Albert Edwards at Societe Generale and both predicted the S&P500 was heading for 666. That was shortly after the share market peak in late 2007. Nowadays, Montier is part of the team at Canada's GMO that studies financial bubbles. You probably would have noticed: there are quite a few bubbles around, here and there. This book, on behavioral biases in all of us, is a very entertaining read. It's about bad choices and bad habits and how they destroy your investment returns. And not just yours. A must read for anyone with only the slightest interest in investing. Must have good sense of humor.

"Every long-term security is nothing more than a claim on some expected future stream of cash that will be delivered into the hands of investors over time. For a given stream of expected future cash payments, the higher the price investors pay today for that stream of cash, the lower the long-term return they will achieve on their investment over time."
- Dr John Hussman

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post Posted: Sep 24 2012, 09:59 PM
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just finished Geoff Hiscock's new book, Earth Wars: The Battle for Global Resources, published by John Wiley & Sons, May 2012.

there is an extract in the Australian (Hiscock is a senior editor there:) http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/m...f-1226373625804 .
Decline of West not inevitable in resources battle

If you listen to the global miners, they have absolutely no doubt that China is and will remain the defining market for energy and resources, and they make their 10, 20 and 100-year business plans accordingly. Some of the miners liken China's position now to North America's in the late 19th century, when the great surge of development began that took the United States to global pre-eminence for 100 years or more.

The demand and development momentum, the miners argue, has irrevocably moved from West to East, and the world must get used to that. North American entrepreneur Robert Friedland, the founder of Ivanhoe Mines and one of the intriguing and controversial characters of modern-day mining, goes further. In his view, Africa will be the next frontier of greatest promise, after China, India, Indonesia and resource-rich countries like Kazakhstan and Mongolia have provided the impetus for many millions of new middle-class consumers to emerge.

But equally there are plenty of economic forecasters who see no inevitability about the rise of China and the decline of the West.

Being the mother of all markets or having access to the fantastic resource potential of a Congo, Mozambique, Zambia or Liberia is not the same as being an Earth Wars winner. There are matters of technology, logistics, markets, skills and funds to resolve, plus the ever-present risk of cultural conflict, social breakdown and natural catastrophe. Institutional, legal and financial reforms within China are moribund.
The chapters are full of fact on major mining projects, and has a good geopolitical overlay; it is a good read - although amazing how much has changed in the last few weeks - just reading this while the iron ore price was falling out of bed induced some sort of schadenfreude.

A vastly different book on similar themes, but all 'warm and fuzzy' with much less data, was The Growth Map: Economic Opportunity in the BRICs and Beyond by Jim O'Neill 2011.

"Every long-term security is nothing more than a claim on some expected future stream of cash that will be delivered into the hands of investors over time. For a given stream of expected future cash payments, the higher the price investors pay today for that stream of cash, the lower the long-term return they will achieve on their investment over time."
- Dr John Hussman

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post Posted: May 19 2012, 06:23 PM
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My currrent reading struggle is "Why Nations Fail" which is an investment / economics book of sorts for those who work from the "big pitcher" on down.

I've read a few efforts with similar goals to this one, including the work of Jared Diamond and more recently "Why the West Rules ... for now" by Ian Morris (who prescribes a "maps not chaps" theory of why some civilisations have done well and others not so much).

It has become apparent even to me that the authors of Why Nations Fail took a very narrow blinkered view of things, perhaps to make their arguments and conclusions appear stronger (?). For one, they ignored or dismissed the effects of access to energy - in that it was those civilisations that could harness the most energy that were able to develop the most. Also there seems little recognition in the book that changing weather and climate patterns were extremely influential on whether various civilisations could prosper or struggle.

Anyway Jared Diamond has put out a fairly detailed review of "Why Nations Fail". He gives it at best a qualifed thumbs-up.


If you are in any way interested in this subject Tyler Cowen, of the blogsite Marginal Revolution, has undertaken to air any response to the Diamond review from the authors of Why Nations Fail, Daren Acemoglu and James Robinson.


"The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent." John Maynard Keynes

"The crisis takes a much longer time coming than you think, and then it happens much faster than you would have thought." Rudiger Dornbush

"The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent." Stanley Kubrick

post Posted: Mar 29 2012, 06:13 PM
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In Reply To: Elliott's post @ Mar 22 2012, 05:28 AM

I am sure you'll learn plenty from the book Carsha.

I hope you get even more from the service which I'm sure you will. Any queries you have don't hesitate to contact him. He is more than happy to discuss and answer any questions you may have.

My posts are for discussion and educational value only. They are not to be construed as advice in any way.
post Posted: Mar 29 2012, 03:43 PM
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In Reply To: Elliott's post @ Mar 22 2012, 05:28 AM

Just received my copy of Unholy Grail
Looking forward to a good read when time allows.
Planning on reading the book then signing up to Nicks service
to watch how he puts the strategy into action.


post Posted: Mar 22 2012, 05:28 AM
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In Reply To: Carsha's post @ Mar 21 2012, 06:08 PM

Hi Carsha,

If you want a little more info on performance you can go here http://www.nickradge.com/index.php?option=...3&Itemid=20.

I am involved in his service and know Nick personally. He doesn't bullshit and everything is transparent and upfront.

It's also worth mentioning that I do not benefit in any way for reviewing his book. I reviewed it purely because I thought it hit the spot in regard to how to be profitable in the markets. And it's a very easy read with nothing left to interpretation which is important.

My posts are for discussion and educational value only. They are not to be construed as advice in any way.
post Posted: Mar 21 2012, 06:45 PM
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In Reply To: Carsha's post @ Mar 21 2012, 06:08 PM

Hi Carsha,
Nick is a straight shooter with a long history.Unsure how experienced you are as a trader however subscribing to Nick's site for 6months or more is money well spent if you wish to learn some aspects of T.A. It takes time to arrive at a method which suites ones trading/risk profile.Nick has figures to prove his methods however drawdowns are higher than I can personally tolerate.Basically,take your pick between higher drawdowns and higher profits and lower drawdowns and lower profits.This is on a trade by trade basis.
Risk management is more important than any of the above.There is heaps of good free stuff on this subject on this forum and elsewhere.


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