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Backstage Wall Street: An Insider's Guide to Knowing Who to Trust, Who to Run From, and How to Maximize Your Investments [Kindle Edition]

Joshua M. Brown
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Chances are you haven’t been making the best investing decisions.

“With a smirk, a lashing wit, and an appropriate irreverence, Joshua Brown gives voice to what all investment professionals are—or should be—secretly thinking.”
—MICHAEL SANTOLI, Barron’s columnist

“The pages of this book are filled with colorful exposés of misconduct in the way Wall Street presents and sells itself (and its financial products offerings!). . . . Run don’t walk to read Brown’s chronicles of deception [perpetrated by] those wonderful folks on Wall Street, who nearly bankrupted the world’s fi nancial system a few short years ago.”
—DOUGLAS A. KASS, Seabreeze Partners Management, Inc.

“Everything you’ve ever read about Wall Street is a total lie. Everyone is lying to you every day. Until you read this book.”
—JAMES ALTUCHER, Formula Capital and author of I Was Blind but Now I See

“Joshua wants Wall Street to be awesome. You can feel it every day on his amazing blog and in this great book. He is happy to shout when Wall Street drives him crazy. I guarantee you will enjoy this book that describes the action behind the business of Wall Street and his own experiences along the way.”
—HOWARD LINDZON, Lindzon Capital and founder of StockTwits

About the Book:

Wall Street is very good at one thing: convincing you to act against your own interests. And there’s no one out there better equipped with the knowledge and moxie to explain how it all works than Josh Brown. A man The New York Times referred to as “the Merchant of Snark” and Barron’s called “pot-stirring and provocative,” Brown worked for 10 years in the industry, a time during which he learned some hard truths about how clients are routinely treated—and how their money is sent on a one-way trip to Wall Street’s coffers.

Backstage Wall Street reveals the inner workings of the world’s biggest money machine and explains how a relatively small confederation of brilliant, sometimes ill-intentioned people fuel it, operate it, and repair it when necessary—none of which is for the good of the average investor.

Offering a look that only a long-term insider could provide (and that only a “reformed” insider would want to provide), Brown describes:

THE PEOPLE—Why retail brokers always profit—even if you don’t
THE PRODUCTS—How funds, ETFs, and other products are invented as failsafe profit generators—for the inventors alone
THE PITCH—The marketing schemes designed for one thing and one thing only: to separate you from your money

It’s that bad . . . but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Brown gives you the knowledge you need to make the right decisions at the right time.

Backstage Wall Street is about seeing reality for what it is and adjusting your actions accordingly. It’s about learning who and what to steer clear of at all times. And it’s about setting the stage for a bright financial future—your own way.

Editorial Reviews


"I have long referred to the author of Backstage Wall Street as "Downtown" Josh Brown because he is no "Uptown Guy." Rather, he is irreverent, unorthodox and iconoclastic.The pages of his new book are filled with colorful exposes of misconduct in the way Wall Street presents and sells itself (and it's financial products offerings!). Josh's anecdotes - like his description of the audience's reaction to Piper Jaffrey analyst Nicole Miller Regan's questions at a Jamba Juice's analyst day - are priceless. (With apologies to Billy Joel) if you have "never met a backstreet guy..".. run, don't walk to read the Downtown Man's chronicles of deception from those wonderful folks on Wall Street that nearly bankrupted the world's financial system a few short years ago." -- Doug Kass ""

From the Back Cover

Sure to be a revelation to even the savviest financial professional, Backstage Wall Street is a brutally honest look at the investment business from a veteran who’s seen it all. “Reformed” Wall Street insider Joshua M. Brown offers clear and proven advice on how to navigate all the snares set by the lords of Wall Street.

Product Details

  • File Size: 787 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007F8EZ9M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,690 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Book Review from the Aleph Blog March 20, 2012
I have long wanted to see a book that would teach ordinary investors how to avoid being cheated by those that create/sell financial products. If this book isn't it, the one that surpasses it will be astounding. If Wall Street is a show, this book gives you a peek behind the curtain.

This book is really four mini-books in one:

1) How the author became a broker, and the ethical difficulties that were forced on him in the process.

2) The difficulties faced by do-it-yourself investors, and the benefits of exchange-traded funds [ETFs].

3) On Brokerages, and all their conflicts of interest, culminating in the straight line pitch.

4) Investments to avoid, and advice from the wise.

That it is four in one is not a weakness but a strength. Wall Street has many ways to skin investors, and each section provides insights that different people will benefit from. It is a more comprehensive book in its short 240 pages as a result.

On Brokers

The first part of the book describes Wall Street as it was and is, with all of the players and their motives. Josh spares no one; the tone of the book is cynical, but not unduly so, noting all of the problems with a profane sense of humor. Some of the funniest bits of the book are recollections of conversations with greedy parties seeing an edge.

There is a certain level of despair for young brokers as they "cold call," knowing that if they don't succeed, they will be let go, but driven by the possibility of riches should they succeed. Those who are successful gain money, prestige, bragging rights, and some level of freedom from tight control.

I have my own experience with this.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gets better as it goes along April 9, 2012
I'm sorry, but I didn't know who Josh Brown was before I was given a copy of this book to review, so I wasn't familiar with what he was all about. That is to say, I'd never read his popular blog (still haven't, even) and didn't know what to expect from this book. As I started reading and well towards the middle of the book, I kept telling myself this could only be a two star book. This guy's just telling a bunch stories from the trenches of Wall Street while not imparting any real, valuable information. He's certainly not providing anything to become a better investor. What gives? And it was about at the halfway point that he comes out and tells us: this isn't a book about investing.

When that was made clear, I was able to read the book objectively without wondering what it was going to do for me, and that made it a whole lot better. I began to appreciate Brown's insight into some of the inner workings of the "investment game" (my words) and how other people make money off of my money. I began to understand a lot of esoteric concepts related to fairly common things, such as IRA's, ETF's, 12b-1 fees, and so forth. Brown's experience and candor may not help you invest better, but what he has to say may still make you a better investor. How? By making you ask some questions - possibly of your broker, definitely of yourself - that will help you to have better investment judgment. It was certainly eye-opening seeing the world of stocks from a salesman/broker/sweat shop point of view, and the reading was, though not engrossing, at least enjoyable.

My two complaints about this book are minor. The first is that because Brown is a blogger, his writing for this book sounds a lot like a blog. That is, it is a bit disjointed and lacks a good flow and structure from chapter to chapter.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rudimentary Reformation March 21, 2012
Having been involved in investment education and research for nearly 20 years, I think Josh has a timely, transparent message of hope. Seriously, the book is a little like Boiler Room meets Jerry Maguire and we can only hope for a pandemic moment of Outbreak.

Continuing on the cinematic theme, I've only read a few books in my lifetime in one sitting. One was Alien. Another was Babson's Brad Perry's tome "Winning The Investment Marathon" and Jurassic Park was a pretty enthralling read also. I can now add Backstage Wall Street to the list. I'm not sure which one was the most frightening, when I finished Alien I didn't want to turn out the lights.

Backstage is equally unsettling and Josh lays a foundation and history as he describes the "evolution" of Wall Street and the grinding of sausage. I actually think Josh Brown is part of a potential re-awakening of investing as it once was (or was at least intended to be) ... a people's capitalism with a potential outcome that would make Sigourney Weaver proud.

A rudimentary return to principled capital markets ... a New Reformation is clearly in order. If you've been investing for some time but harbor reservations about the way things are, this might be Chapter One of a new day. If you find investing terrifying when it comes to your 401(k), you might find some relief that there are some advocates and champions for the way things ought to be.

Is there hope? I think so. And I think Dustin Hoffman probably plays Josh in the movie, not Vin Diesel. For the sake of Rene Russo and millions of afflicted investors and citizens out there, reform at will.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great
Excellent book. Quick read. An informative and insiteful look at the backstage of wallstreet. Author takes a humorous point of view while educating consumers.
Published 1 month ago by Leon Almeida
4.0 out of 5 stars Tells it like it is. The book's a little self-serving but hell, if you...
I was a proprietary NASDAQ trader during the time that it was good to be a proprietary NASDAQ trader, 1995-2001. Read more
Published 1 month ago by RG C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Literally An Expose Of The Investment World
I bought this book because I was told it talked about the Jordon Belfort way to sell "investments",

You get that and a whole lot more. Read more
Published 2 months ago by claude whitacre
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
It was a nice "peek behind the curtain" of how Wall Street actually is. Great intro to Wall Street without getting too technical. Josh 's sense of humor makes it a fast read.
Published 2 months ago by JK
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Behind-the-scenes Look at Wall Street Culture
This is not a "How to Invest" book, it's more of a tale of the gritty side of wall street, but it's good at that and pretty consistently amusing. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jim Wayner
3.0 out of 5 stars somewhat interesting but could've been more
it was interesting at some points, but its intended crowd is the average day to day investor not someone who's an industry professional, so i can see this as useful for that... Read more
Published 7 months ago by yreuven
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT READ
Joshua Brown, or as we all know and love him, The Reformed Broker, does an amazing job breaking down an industry that maybe not so clear to the lay person. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Honest Griz
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Insight Into the Investment Business
Josh Brown does a great job with this book. He provides a first hand look at the workings of the brokerage business. He writes as someone who worked many years as a broker. Read more
Published 8 months ago by D. Wallace
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty accurate
A pretty accurate review of the things that most people who have been in the financial advisor game know after 20 years in the business. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Retired
5.0 out of 5 stars This man is an original.
I want to tell you a bit about this dude, Josh Brown. I'm in the financial services business for 24 years and there aren't many like him. He's honest, straightforward. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Richard M. Rosso
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More About the Author

Joshua M. Brown is a the author of 'Backstage Wall Street' from McGraw-Hill (2012) and co-author of the forthcoming book 'Clash of the Financial Pundits' (2014).

Brown is the creator of The Reformed Broker, one of the most widely-followed financial blogs in the world. He has been named the top financial person to follow on Twitter by the Wall Street Journal, Barron's and TIME Magazine. He is also a daily on-air contributor to CNBC.

Most days, Josh can be found advising high net worth clients on their asset management and retirement portfolios at his New York City-based registered investment advisory firm, Ritholtz Wealth Management, where he is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer.

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