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A Random Walk Down Wall Street: A Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing Hardcover – 26 Feb 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 414 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 9th Revised edition edition (26 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393062457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393062458
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 0.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 440,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"[This] timeless classic... offers a vast array of advice on how investors can tilt the odds in their favour." The Observer "...deservedly a perennial bestseller." The Economist"

About the Author

BURTON G. MALKIEL is the Chemical Bank Chairman's Professor of Economics at Princeton University.

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By mohan on 24 Sept. 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is an investment classic. The first edition was published in 1973 and has been revised every few years. This 2007 edition is the 8th revision and includes a new chapter on Behavioural Finance.

The author says: "The message of the original edition was a very simple one: Investors would be far better off buying and holding an index fund than attempting to buy and sell individual securities or actively managed mutual funds. Now, over thirty-five years later, I believe even more strongly in the original thesis." And he gives data to evidence this.

The book describes the thinking behind technical and fundamental analysis, including simple expositions of complex subjects like Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) and The Capital-Asset Pricing Model (CAPM). Whether you agree with the author or not, it would be well worth knowing why the author considers that it is very difficult to profit from either technical or fundamental analysis. For those who nevertheless cannot resist the temptation to pick their own stocks, he gives four rules though these are easier said than followed.

It is also a very entertaining read, e.g. he describes the various periods of speculative madness that have occurred - starting with the tulip craze and the south sea bubble to the more recent growth-stock/new-issue craze, the conglomerate boom, the concept stocks bubble, the nifty fifty "one decision" boom, the Japanese land and stock bubble through to the internet bubble.

The author also highlights other useful considerations, e.g. in the penultimate chapter "A life-cycle guide to investing", he highlights the importance of "distinguishing between your attitude toward and your capacity for risk".
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Format: Paperback
Malkiel drives home one point: the typical investment manager is no better than a chimpanzee picking stocks at random. That might sound glib but then Malkiel produces impressive stats showing successful managers very rapidly losing their midas touch. That shut me up. The book gives the lowdown on well-known manias (South Sea, Tulipmania), some not so well-known crashes in the fifties and sixties and then Malkiel very impressively explains in simple language some of the sophisticated finance theory taught in MBAs and MSc Finance courses e.g. random walk, efficient market hypothesis, modern portfolio theory, technical and fundamental analysis etc. The first two-thirds of the book are a joy to read and instructive for everyone. The last third of the book is devoted to investment advice and what lets this down (only) for the international reader is that the advice is tailored for an American audience so (virtually) little use to readers who don't have access to that kind of investment market. But perhaps no fear, Malkiel's greatest idea is that every portfolio should be built around index funds where you do not need to pay exorbitant fees to managers who on average year after year generate sub-index returns. Sounds very sound.
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Format: Paperback
For years I'd heard of this "classic" but had been misled by the title into thinking it was just an academic snipe at the dodgy practices of Wall St. In reality, it is nothing less than a thorough, practical, evidence-based guide to investing for a lifetime.

After reading the Kindle extract, I decided to take it on holiday, and found it brilliantly well-written, thoroughly researched, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny (Prof Malkiel has a very dry wit).

I can think of no better guide to every aspect of investing: what works, what doesn't, the evidence either way - and what the best course really is. It's no plot-spoiler to say Prof M comes out strongly in favour of so-called index investing, but despite being a former advisor to the leading provider (Vanguard), he gives alternatives a fair showing.

If you want to know how to calculate what you need to invest for a reasonable probability of income for like (there are NO certainties of course), and how to allocate your investments etc, this is the place to start. I will be using it to draw up some guidance for my kids. I only wish I'd known what to do earlier....Thanks Prof M !
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