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Catherine FitzMaurice (Kilbrogan House, Bandon, Co Cork)

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Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom
Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom
by Van K. Tharp
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Sound advice, 17 Feb. 2014
Well worth a read. The book may have originally been written in 1998 but the lessons are timeless. Tharp outlines how trading is 100% psychology which is why a trader's behaviour is so critical. He includes interesting interviews with successful traders to back up his conclusions. He underlines the importance of self discipline and paying attention to critical 'internal control' factors such as risk and position sizing, exit strategies, the effect of compound interest, trading costs etc etc etc. Whilst much of this may appear like a common sense approach to trading, Tharp spends useful time in the book outlining important tasks such as setting objectives, finding a trading system that suits and of course trading ones own beliefs


Miele Multi Purpose Carpet/Wood Hard Floor Brush/Tool equivalent to - 7253830
Miele Multi Purpose Carpet/Wood Hard Floor Brush/Tool equivalent to - 7253830
Offered by Suds-Online
Price: £6.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job, 17 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My cat and dog motorised head gave up and as I have no dog now, I purchased this floor brush for my Miele. It does the job. Delivery was fast and efficient


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
by Mark Haddon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful murder mystery with a difference, 5 Dec. 2011
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a wonderful murder mystery narrated by a young child of fifteen by the name of Christopher who has Aspergers Syndrome. The story is exceptionally well told so the book is hard to put down. Even the style of writing reflects not only the age of the child but also his disabilities. His difficulties with social interaction are brilliantly portrayed as is his fascination for detail. He hates to be touched, is supremely honest and confesses that he cannot tell lies, loves mathematics and patterns and is fascinated with minute details hence his determination to find out what happened to the dog. This definitely deserved the Whitbread prize!


Hot Commodities: How Anyone Can Invest Profitably in the World's Best Market
Hot Commodities: How Anyone Can Invest Profitably in the World's Best Market
by Jim Rogers
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring and convincing book, 13 Nov. 2011
Jim Rogers demystifies the widely held belief that commodities are an extremely risky and volatile investment and puts forward valid arguments as to why they are such an important investment vehicle. Whilst cheap commodities were partly responsible for the equities boom in the 90s, a major turnaround has been underway for some time. The continued phenomenal growth in China and other Asian economies, the quest for an alternative to dependence on oil and the increasing scarcity of metals and even smelters are just some of the factors outlined that are contributing towards increased demand.

This book is well written, concise and a very easy read. Various investment options are explained in layman's terms.


Inside Job [DVD] [2011]
Inside Job [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Matt Damon
Price: £4.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating analysis of the 2008 financial meltdown, 27 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Inside Job [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
A gripping film for anybody interested in a clear, concise account of the financial meltdown of 2008. The film depends heavily on interviews with influential people at the time, such as Christine Lagarde, Dominque Strauss Kahn, George Soros and Taghuram Rajan of the IMF whose paper called "Has Financial Development made the world riskier" was ignored by Larry Summers. A lesser known lawyer, Gnaizda, also participates in many of the interviews as do many others. These interviews make the film all the more convincing.

Iceland features at the outset of the film, a beautiful country with a population of 300,000 and which had everything going for it with little sovereign debt outstanding and just three major banks namely Landesbank, Kaupthing and Glitnir. The greed of both the politicians and bankers was incredible. The banks operated way beyond the capacity of their central bank to bail them out and the politicians also gambled the country's assets yielding a chunk of valuable terrain to an American conglomerate, Alcoa whose ambitions to create a vast aluminium smelting business would destroy a beautiful unspoilt wilderness. Shockingly, distinguished economists such as Frederick Mishkin and Richard Portes were paid to write articles favouring the banks and the state of the country before the meltdown.

Sub prime mortgage backed CDOs were very much at the root of the meltdown and are well described. They were a popular investment with attractive yields and high credit ratings. Residential mortage backed securities were bundled together, some good loans and some no so good though offering a higher rate as compensation for their quality. The CDOs were complicated to price. Whilst the banks had computer models to value them, investors balked at the idea of their own analysis and having to read prospectuses that ran to 300 pages. Instead they blindly followed rating agencies such as Moodies, Fitch and S&P. The investors failed to recognize that the rating agencies themselves were driven to achieve significant profits. In 2007 a Fortune journalist, Allen Sloan, actually won a prize for his story about the House of Junk written in late 2007 about more than half a trillion mortage securities issued in 2006.

The Credit Default Swap (CDS) was a tool which enabled investors to bet on subprime RBMS and CDOs without owning anything, ie institutions were able to bet that the home borrowers would default. One the one hand, Goldman Sachs was selling the CD0s and on the other hand, they were actively betting against the product that they had sold via the CDS market. They were making millions in the process.

The film investigates Greenspan's life and describes all the financial liberalisations that occurred during his tenure. A financial system that was once highly regulated became massively de-regulated as a result of his actions.

Some memorable interviews include one with a psychotherapist specializing in greed and sexual disorders of bankers, hedge fund operators etc and another with a lady of the night who quoted dizzy numbers of highly paid bankers who availed of her group's services. The pursuit of wealth became a drug for the bankers and they wanted everything - fast cars, illicit sex, drugs, boats and all that Long Island and the Hamptons had to offer.

Conflicts of interest among politicians and bankers were rife. Obama pledged reforms yet so many of the senior people that he appointed were closely connected to the meltdown. In other words, the government and the financial world are still way too closely related. The list of those with conflicts is endless and to name a few, Ben Bernancke, William Dudley, Rahm Emanuel, Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, Gary Gensler, Mark Patterson, Louis Sachs, Laura Tyson, Martin Feldstein and Hank Paulson.

This is an instructive film and one of the best that I have watched this year.


Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read - Good material for a book club as it provokes debate, 9 Oct. 2011
Outliers: The Story of Success does give some food for thought. Malcolm Gladwell outlines the secrets of the successes of many individuals who we know well but these examples cannot be easily emulated. Many of the achievements depend on crucial coinciding factors in the particular person's circumstances in addition to their actual abilities. Gladwell has used a wide variety of case studies (for the most part not connected to each other) as a means of analysing successes and failures concluding that a brilliant mind doesn't necessarily lead to a highly successful career. Instead, factors such as how much effort is invested, which era a person was born in and even which month, which type of society a person grew up in, what opportunities presented themselves etc are all important contributing factors.

The author gives interesting examples of how language can affect mathematical answers, how language and culture can impact flight safety as well as more obvious examples such as how advantages that stem from being born to wealthier classes can have a positive impact.

Outliers is an easy read. I don't think that it will really change the way you think about life but it will certainly make you think of similarities in the world around you. I would recommend this book as good material for a book club - a quick read and plenty of points to debate.


The Verneys: Love, War and Madness in Seventeenth-Century England
The Verneys: Love, War and Madness in Seventeenth-Century England
by Adrian Tinniswood
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful social history, 11 Sept. 2011
What makes The Verneys: Love, War and Madness in Seventeenth-Century England such a compelling read is its fascinating portrayal of the social history of generations of the Verney family in the 17th century. It is a true story based on a surviving treasure trove of thousands of family letters. Adrian Tinniswood has cleverly chosen not to write a conventional history book with a myriad of references but rather a biographical social history novel. The book provides a remarkable insight into the life and social behaviour of this well to do family in the 17th century and defies some of the popular beliefs regarding the social etiquette of the time.

Adultery and divorce were though of as a prerogative of men and bonds of real affection were tied up with the pursuit of wealth and dynastic alliances. The Verney men conformed to these norms. Most pursued arranged marriages, some worked out and some didn't. They often engaged in open extra-marital affairs which are well described throughout.

The Verney ladies are a surprise to the reader as they often defied the status quo. Molly, the heiress, eloped, Pen married her sister's unbefitting boyfriend, another married a roman catholic which was possibly the greatest scandal of all at the time, another spent a brief time in jail, Mall became pregnant by a servant and married him.

In summary, the Verneys is an exhaustive tale or perhaps drama of generations of the family incorporating detailed accounts of adventure, travel, madness, exile and politics and of course family intrigues, deaths, marriages etc. My only small criticism would be that whilst compelling, in parts it is a trifle too long drawn out.


The Chorus [DVD] [2004]
The Chorus [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Gérard Jugnot
Price: £5.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional tale, 27 Dec. 2010
This review is from: The Chorus [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
A wonderfully moving, well told story about a music teacher who finds a job at a correctional boarding school for disadvantaged children. In a regime of harsh discipline, the teacher manages to bring joy to the boys through music. Fabulous cinematography, wonderful music and superb acting - a must see!!


Round Ireland With A Fridge [DVD]
Round Ireland With A Fridge [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tony Hawks
Offered by Themusicmaestro
Price: £18.97

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So disappointing - Give it a miss, 27 Dec. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I enjoyed the book of this ridiculous yet highly amusing adventure. Rarely did the hilarities and wit come through in the film. Instead it became a pointless, absurd, unfunny trip around the country with the fridge in tow. The radio presenters were ridiculed, many of the characters were over-acted and there were few if any highlights.


The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means
The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means
by George Soros
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Theory of Reflexivity and its application to financial markets, 8 Dec. 2008
I have great admiration for Soros and his financial expertise but getting to grips with this book was a challenge and I remain unconvinced that the application of reflexivity is a necessary tool for analysing how future financial markets will evolve. Soros himself admits that he doesn't know how much philosophy has helped his financial success and that discussing reflexivity is difficult because he has to use a language that doesn't recognize its existence. Nevertheless, this short book, which is in part an autobiographical account, neatly summarizes the challenges faced by the financial markets going forward and is a worthwhile read.

For the most part the book is a thesis on the theory of reflexivity centred around the connection between perception and reality or rather the interplay between the cognitive (theoretical) and manipulative (practical) functions.

According to Soros the current paradigm is centred on the idea that financial markets are self correcting and tend towards equilibrium. However he believes that new instruments were based on the flaw that the markets will tend towards equilibrium but instead many of these instruments have changed the functioning of the financial markets. A new paradigm is therefore required that takes a more cautious approach to leverage. Market participants cannot base their decisions just on knowledge because they have to deal with the future as well as the past and expectations are not knowledge.

Soros gives us a useful historical account of past financial crises and a few examples of how the application of reflexivity would have enabled investors to react differently. For example, in the 1960s some companies with relatively high stock prices went on acquisition sprees as their per share growth expanded along with their price earnings multiples. Investors paid little heed to how growth was achieved and were caught in a bubble which subsequently burst. Had the theory of reflexivity been applied, it would have taught investors that equity leveraging does not necessarily generate earnings growth.

In the case of the 80s banking crisis, there was a failure to recognize reflexivity in the form of a connection between the creditworthiness of the borrowers and the willingnesss of the creditors to lend.

The book concludes that the current crisis was caused by credit expansion, the globilisation of the financial markets, the removal of financial regulation and the ensuing acceleration of financial innovation. Looking into the future, Soros predicts that the US may no longer be the centre of the global financial system and that there will be a flight from the dollar. He also thinks that the crisis may not last long because of the huge growth in China, India and the Middle East.

If you are interested in how the finance and philosophy interact, read this book. Otherwise be warned, there are some chapters that are heavy going so you might want to skip through them.


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