A solid and well-written overview of how to invest effectively.

TRANSPARENT INVESTING

HOW TO PLAY THE STOCK MARKET WITHOUT GETTING PLAYED

A longtime financial executive explains investing to novices.

In this debut business book, Geddes examines the basic principles of investing, how human psychology is often at odds with sound practices, and how individuals can choose to manage their own assets or hire a financial professional. And even though he has made his career managing the investments of others, the author tells readers that in most cases, they can get the best returns by doing it themselves and pursuing a passive strategy that requires little more than annual maintenance. The volume encourages readers to put their money in index funds rather than trying to pick high-performing stocks or attempting to profit from the rises and falls of the markets, arguing—with supporting evidence—that it is the method that provides the most reliable returns. Geddes recommends concentrating on improving returns by minimizing fees and taxes, showing that these are the ways investors are most able to improve their outcomes. The work also offers guidance for readers who would prefer to hire a professional, with advice on assessing potential advisers and working effectively with them. The author is a strong writer who does an excellent job of stripping away the bluster and complexity that often surround financial advice to focus instead on the fundamentals. The book’s grounding in psychology gives Geddes a theme to return to as he reminds readers throughout the text that although it may feel appropriate to buy and sell in response to changes in the market, resisting the urge will deliver the best long-term results. The balance between details and minutiae is well managed, with plenty of actionable information presented in a comprehensible format. Readers who are already aware of the basics of investing will find the volume an effective refresher and a useful reminder of the value of passive strategies while those without substantial knowledge of the subject will be able to use the work as an effective and engaging introduction.

A solid and well-written overview of how to invest effectively.

Pub Date: Jan. 25, 2022

ISBN: 979-8985006414

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2022

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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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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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