The book outlines an intriguing strategy though its fundamental assumptions require careful scrutiny.

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DECODING THE HIDDEN MARKET RHYTHM

PART 2: METONIC CYCLES: A NON-LINEAR APPROACH TO IDENTIFY AND TRADE CYCLES THAT INFLUENCE FINANCIAL MARKETS

Von Thiensen’s (Decoding the Hidden Market RhythmPart 1, 2014, etc.) second installment in his series on stock market cycles looks to the stars for guidance.

Believing, as some do, that the “financial markets are driven by emotions,” the author contends that if one can assess which emotions traders are collectively experiencing, one can predict (at least to some extent) and profit from the vagaries of the market. This is where heavenly bodies come in. Von Thiensen says, “There is growing evidence that the interactions between the Sun, Moon, and Earth are a factor that affects our well-being” and, by extension, our emotions. If the savvy investor is able to anticipate how these cycles will steer the emotions of other investors, they can potentially make a lot of money. By punching numbers into the author’s software (which uses built-in algorithms), the user can decode trading cycles and earn a decent profit, says Von Thiensen. He provides examples of his program’s success in an analysis from 2008 that shows that out of 22 trades, 17 led to gains. After all, “since financial markets are driven solely by emotions, it seems logical that this repetitive solar/lunar pattern must also be reflected in developments on the stock market.” It does seem like a logical enough assumption, but is it true? What of all of the other technical traders employing their own sophisticated, emotionless algorithms? Portions of the book engage in technical language (e.g. “we will use the wave to build a non-linear superposition wave based on the theory introduced on recurring energy patterns”); however, the content is still steered by astrology. The book certainly provides guidance for adventurous investors who are willing to put the author’s software to the test. Those readers already firm in their strategies seem unlikely, however, to convert to a computer model that is based on “how energy will influence the mood of investors.” As trading methods become ever more technologically sophisticated, banking on the mood of investors may seem like a risky proposition.

The book outlines an intriguing strategy though its fundamental assumptions require careful scrutiny.  

Pub Date: May 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4995-6259-0

Page Count: 238

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2017

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

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

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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Not only the definitive life, but a tour de force by a master.

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EDISON

One of history’s most prolific inventors receives his due from one of the world’s greatest biographers.

Pulitzer and National Book Award winner Morris (This Living Hand and Other Essays, 2012, etc.), who died this year, agrees that Thomas Edison (1847-1931) almost certainly said, “genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration,” and few readers of this outstanding biography will doubt that he was the quintessential workaholic. Raised in a middle-class Michigan family, Edison displayed an obsessive entrepreneurial spirit from childhood. As an adolescent, he ran a thriving business selling food and newspapers on a local railroad. Learning Morse code, he spent the Civil War as a telegrapher, impressing colleagues with his speed and superiors with his ability to improve the equipment. In 1870, he opened his own shop to produce inventions to order. By 1876, he had money to build a large laboratory in New Jersey, possibly the world’s first industrial research facility. Never a loner, Edison hired talented people to assist him. The dazzling results included the first commercially successful light bulb for which, Morris reminds readers, he invented the entire system: dynamo, wires, transformers, connections, and switches. Critics proclaim that Edison’s innovations (motion pictures, fluoroscope, rechargeable batteries, mimeograph, etc.) were merely improvements on others’ work, but this is mostly a matter of sour grapes. Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone was a clunky, short-range device until it added Edison’s carbon microphone. And his phonograph flabbergasted everyone. Humans had been making images long before Daguerre, but no one had ever reproduced sound. Morris rivetingly describes the personalities, business details, and practical uses of Edison’s inventions as well as the massive technical details of years of research and trial and error for both his triumphs and his failures. For no obvious reason, the author writes in reverse chronological order, beginning in 1920, with each of the seven following chapters backtracking a decade. It may not satisfy all readers, but it works.

Not only the definitive life, but a tour de force by a master.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9311-0

Page Count: 800

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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