- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (22 December 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780471770893
- ISBN-13: 978-0471770893
- ASIN: 0471770892
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.2 x 21.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 331 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Where Are the Customers' Yachts? Or a Good Hard Look at Wall Street Paperback – 22 Dec 2005
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“..the book is a fun read and as relevant today as it ever was” (Investor's Chronicle, August 2015)
From the Back Cover
From the Foreword by Michael Lewis, Bestselling author of Liar's Poker
". . . one of the funniest books ever written about Wall Street."
Jane Bryant Quinn, The Washington Post
"How great to have a reissue of a hilarious classic that proves the more things change the more they stay the same. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent."
"It's amazing how well Schwed's book is holding up after fifty-five years. About the only thing that's changed on Wall Street is that computers have replaced pencils and graph paper. Otherwise, the basics are the same. The investor's need to believe somebody is matched by the financial advisor's need to make a nice living. If one of them has to be disappointed, it's bound to be the former."
John Rothchild, Author, A Fool and His Money, Financial Columnist, Time magazine
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The impressive part is that this book has stayed true for so many decades. Some things never change.
I am not a certified financial advisor, but my personal advice for the average investor wanting to get a return on their savings is to look into Bogle's thinking and put money in low cost index funds such as Vanguard. That is what I am doing.
The fact is, says Schwed, no one can predict the future with accuracy, but that is exactly what Wall Street analysts, investment counselors and ambitious stock brokers are claiming to do. It can't be done. The Wall Street game is nothing less than a crap shoot, with lots of losers and few winners, and the winners often end up losers. Who makes the big money on Wall Street? Investment bankers and brokers--from their exorbitant fees. They are the fat cats with the yachts parked out on Long Island, not the clients.
Schwed aims his harshest criticism at investment counselors. "(They) allocate the funds between themselves and their clients in the ancient classic manner, i.e., at the close of the day's business they take all the money and throw it up in the air. Everything that sticks to the ceiling belongs to the clients."
The authors makes a fine distinction between Wall Street speculators and investors. Speculators are the quick-buck artists hoping to make a killing; they don't. Investors are patient and looking for some place to put their money for the long term; they are the ones who actually make money. Put another way: "Speculation is an effort, probably unsuccessful, to turn a little money into a lot. Investment is an effort, which should be successful, to prevent a lot of money from becoming a little."
Schwed's book is funny, wise, a splash of cold reality. While filled with irony, it's not cynical. The author, who reportedly lost a bundle on Wall Street, remains a believer. "I have a sneaking fondness for that wretched old hag, the capitalistic system . . . we had better preserve our financial machinery even with much of the nonsense still adhering to it . . . The only successful method so far devised for getting millions out of the public, for enterprise both good and bad, is some system similar to the devious mechanism of Wall Street."
Bottom line: no one on Wall Street has the answers. It's a guessing game. Be smart: invest for the long term, and maintain a healthy dose of skepticism.
I was delighted to discover how old some of the Wall Street sayings are. It seems that nothing really changes in the human condition. One passage I found very entertaining is about a large group of Wall Street operators competing in a coin tossing game. As soon as you lose a toss, you are out of the game meaning that with each toss half of the players are gone. If you start with 500,000 players, after 15 tosses you have about 16 people left in the game. According to Schwed, these lucky people will soon take on airs of expert coin tossers even if they are winning based on pure luck. What I found amusing was that the author of a recent investment best seller uses this exact scenario to "prove" that most people who make money investing are just lucky. I wonder if this unnamed author read Schwed.
I found one commentary rather unnerving. Schwed say that you cannot buy "competence" on Wall Street. You can find a competent plumber and a competent lawyer or doctor but you cannot find a competent investment advisor. While I'm no fan of Wall Street operators, this statement seems over the top. They might be hard to find or maybe the competent ones don't need clients, but that there is a total lack of competence on Wall Street must be an exaggeration.
Read the book and be prepared to be entertained and instructed. There is a lot of solid Wall Street experience behind the humor.