I am quite disappointed with this book. What I was looking for was a book geared toward people with no knowledge of the bond market, to give me a solid understanding of all the ins and outs of the basics, creating a solid foundation from which I could progress to more advanced books if I felt necessary. What I got instead was a book that spent very little time on the basics, moving quickly instead to focusing on investing in bonds. Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying this book is difficult for a beginner.
Let me first say that I am not interested in investing in/trading bonds. What I want is to have a good understanding of the bond market. I want to know precisely why certain things affect prices. I want to be able to read a piece of news and understand what effect that may have on various bonds. I don't mean some sort of mantra "If interest rates rise...", I mean I want a deep understanding in order to analyse scenarios and form my own conclusions for any variety of events that happen in the world. Therefore I am specifically interested in it from an institutional and sovereign perspective.
I felt this book was very shallow on the basics. It often made statements without explaining why it was so. It seemed in a rush to get to talking about investing, sacrificing a solid and detailed explanation of fundamentals in the process. Even from an investing perspective, I felt it was very simplistic. It reminded me of those books I used to read which gave a shallow explanation of a market and then some largely useless strategies for trading it. I skimmed about half the book as I found much of it completely irrelevant. I'm not interested in investing in funds from a "user" perspective; I don't want to hear warnings about investing in emerging markets; I don't care about what websites give end of day prices; I want to learn about BONDS from the ground up, information which I can use in analysis. This book was largely useless in that respect.
I'd give it 3.5 stars; it's not all that bad if you're in the target audience or just want someone to tell you what to do without thinking much for yourself, but caveat emptor: make sure you know what you're getting. I'm going to read Fabozzi's Handbook of Fixed Income Securities and Stigum's Money Market, from what I've seen these books have what I need and are better for the "newbie" who wants to gain a proper understanding of these securities.
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