A competent guide for serious investors, not speculators looking to get rich quickly.


The Tactical Option Investor

Roberts’ debut provides an insider’s take on utilizing options to enhance portfolio returns while minimizing risk in bullish and bearish markets.

After a brief history of Wall Street’s “boiler room operations,” “pump and dump” and Ponzi schemes, insider trading and algorithmic trickery, Roberts, an options-trading veteran of more than 15 years, offers a stern caveat concerning fraud to both experienced and potential traders. Only through education can investors protect themselves, he writes, before laying out a solid lesson plan. There are no guaranteed ways to minimize all risks, but Roberts offer solutions to keep them low. The first: Manage your own portfolio or work with a registered investment adviser—not a broker. He suggests investing in low-cost, broad-based index or sector-based funds to avoid “company-specific risk entirely,” and he explains the benefits of using exchange trade funds before delving into the minutiae of options trading, “one of the few areas where the small investor has an advantage.” Options are contracts written on an underlying investment vehicle—for Roberts’s purposes, stock and ETF options. Most importantly, they can be used to manage stock portfolios and produce solid returns while lowering risk. While there are only two types of options contracts (calls and puts), Roberts demonstrates the numerous strategies one might employ in various market conditions, from the simplest to understand—“the long call”—to the more masterful-sounding: “the iron condor” and “the long straddle.” Roberts writes in short, declaratory sentences that are simple to follow, making market jargon easy to comprehend. Quick and concise, the book makes perfect plane reading for anyone interested in the intricacies of options-trading strategies. As a comprehensive guide to basic investment concepts, it serves as an excellent appetizer for younger investors, especially with an appendix—from Agilent Technologies to Zion’s BanCorp—that conveniently lists the underlying names and symbols of penny pilot stocks and ETFs.

A competent guide for serious investors, not speculators looking to get rich quickly.

Pub Date: May 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-1482683134

Page Count: 108

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Essential reading for citizens of the here and now. Other economists should marvel at how that plain language can be put to...

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A French academic serves up a long, rigorous critique, dense with historical data, of American-style predatory capitalism—and offers remedies that Karl Marx might applaud.

Economist Piketty considers capital, in the monetary sense, from the vantage of what he considers the capital of the world, namely Paris; at times, his discussions of how capital works, and especially public capital, befit Locke-ian France and not Hobbesian America, a source of some controversy in the wide discussion surrounding his book. At heart, though, his argument turns on well-founded economic principles, notably r > g, meaning that the “rate of return on capital significantly exceeds the growth rate of the economy,” in Piketty’s gloss. It logically follows that when such conditions prevail, then wealth will accumulate in a few hands faster than it can be broadly distributed. By the author’s reckoning, the United States is one of the leading nations in the “high inequality” camp, though it was not always so. In the colonial era, Piketty likens the inequality quotient in New England to be about that of Scandinavia today, with few abject poor and few mega-rich. The difference is that the rich now—who are mostly the “supermanagers” of business rather than the “superstars” of sports and entertainment—have surrounded themselves with political shields that keep them safe from the specter of paying more in taxes and adding to the fund of public wealth. The author’s data is unassailable. His policy recommendations are considerably more controversial, including his call for a global tax on wealth. From start to finish, the discussion is written in plainspoken prose that, though punctuated by formulas, also draws on a wide range of cultural references.

Essential reading for citizens of the here and now. Other economists should marvel at how that plain language can be put to work explaining the most complex of ideas, foremost among them the fact that economic inequality is at an all-time high—and is only bound to grow worse.

Pub Date: March 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-674-43000-6

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Belknap/Harvard Univ.

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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