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The WSJ Guide to the 50 Economic Indicators That Really Matter: From Big Macs to "Zombie Banks," the Indicators Smart Investors Watch to Beat the Market (Wall Street Journal Guides) Paperback – May 3, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

If you're in the phase of your life and your career as an investor where you'd like to better understand the economic news ... I'd strongly recommend you pick up, peruse and frequently revisit this book. --Inman News

"A short, sweet, savvy introduction to economics, indicators, and investing." -- Nouriel Roubini, Chairman and Co-Founder, Roubini Global Economics. --From the front cover

"I can't believe Simon and Robert have revealed the secret tricks that I've been using for years to make money on the markets. All of the hedge funds will go out of business!" -- James Altucher.  --From the back cover

"[The authors] have accomplished a rare feat--they've written a book on economics that's readable, and actually enjoyable," Chris Nichols, of Yahoo! Finance writing for WG Williamsburg Greenpoint News + Arts.


"Someone should have written this years ago," Brett Arends, WSJ -- --Customer review

From the Back Cover

An entertaining, must-have guide to the indicators most investors aren't following—but should be!

To make the best possible investment decisions, savvy investors know that they should pay close attention to economic indicators. But while most are looking at conventional barometers like unemployment rates and housing starts, the smartest investors are following the often ignored, sometimes curious, but always interesting indicators that offer a true sense of where the economy is and where it's going. They provide the vital information needed to beat the market.

In The Wall Street Journal Guide to the 50 Economic Indicators That Really Matter, Simon Constable and Robert E. Wright offer investors powerful new tools to guide them through the markets. Whether it's the VIX index (which tracks the level of anxiety among investors) or the Vixen index (which tracks the number of attractive waitresses in your hometown), this essential guide includes in-depth analyses of 50 valuable economic indicators, as well as what to watch for, what to do when movement happens, and the risk level involved in taking action. This must-have guide entertains and enlightens while offering essential advice on navigating the global economic climate.

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Product Details

  • Series: Wall Street Journal Guides
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; Original edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062001388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062001382
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Hal Jordan VINE VOICE on May 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You know you are dealing with a book that's overstating its value just a tad when you see this in the introduction: "... we'll show you how the indicators we've chosen can help you see the turns in the economy before they happen. With that prescience you can make changes to your investments ahead of time and avoid the suffering you probably felt during the past couple of years." Now anyone who could actually predict the "turns in the economy" using these indicators -- or any others -- would be reclining on his yacht moored off the south of France, and would be unlikely to divulge his secrets in a mass market paperback. That said, this book is an entertaining read and can serve as a useful reference to anyone who follows the markets or the broader economy.

Simon Constable writes for the Wall Street Journal and hosts their afternoon "NewsHub" recap of the markets. Anyone who follows the NewHub will be familiar with his witty -- actually, kind of snarky -- commentary. He's sort of the Simon Cowell of the Wall Street crowd. His distinctive voice is evident in this book. His co-author, Robert Wright, has written extensively on business history and used to be associated with the Stern School at NYU and the Museum of Financial History in Manhattan's financial district, although he apparently now teaches at a college in South Dakota.

The book consists of 50 short chapters devoted to the indicators. Each chapter has a brief description of the indicator -- usually accompanied by a quote from an investment analysts on the indicator's importance -- a time series graph of the indicator, and a discussion of possible investment opportunities that might occur when the indicator is unusually high or low.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Adsteelie on May 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
I came to finance more than 4 years ago and had to teach myself the basic from the ground up. After reading this book, I wish I would have had it back then because my life would have been 10 times easier. You get the economics and finance basics explained in a concise easy-to-understand way. And as an added bonus you get the invest-able angle and where to go for more information. I now keep this book with me at all times as a quick reference guide when need be. Anyone who wants to understand finance must buy this book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sasha Valoir on May 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
Who'd'a thunk the Wall Street Journal could issue a book that truly simplifies an explanation of how the economy works and the underpinnings of investments? This odd little volume covers a lot of ground in an unconventional format: fifty essential points, each reduced to a digestible bite size; plus breakdowns of how the economy ("the real economy," as our Washington cynics now call it) helps or hurts your investments, all this in four pages at a time.

The tone is relaxed to casual, but a good deal of highly-educated thought must have gone into planning the text because it's canny, careful and accurate. "It takes the wonk out of what's long been arcane material," said my waggish pal.

It's actually a good way to get a handle on how the economy works and how it helps or hurts your investments.

Did I mention that it's funny? The comedy swoops from sophisticated to almost-risqué. If this is a new face of the fuddy-duddy Journal, the accession of the dreaded Rupert seems to be sprouting a happy new shoot.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andries A. Fourie on September 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
I am using the book in compiling a data series to try and predict movements on the US markets. Using the indicators provided in the WSJ guide has made my life much easier. The fact that the sources of the research is provided at the back of each chapter helps a lot in getting the data series for research purposes. Wish more writers of economic research would follow this layout. I have to add that Simon has been a great help too. Where I couldn't figure out where to get the data, he provided me with guidance. In the end this forms a means of getting a broad indication from different sectors of the economy where it is heading. Thanks Simon and Robert I think you have written an awesome book that is written in English that can be understood by anyone - that said by a person for whom English is a second language!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Wandering boy VINE VOICE on June 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The WSJ book publishing division has done it again with a simple to read, easy to understand book that anyone interested in world economics should read. It doesn't matter if you are an active investor or just want to better understand the underlying forces that shape markets, this book is a must.
Highly recommended reading for everyone, but especially anyone wishing a basic education in world markets and what makes them move.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Market Investor on May 16, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Looking to beat the market, or just stay ahead of the tide? Read this book and you'll be well-educated on the best indicators that help guide someone like me - an individual investor - to good investing. I gleemed a lot from this book and I am hoping to put it to practice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Veryl Kroon on August 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fast read that is concise and to the point. Each chapter/indicator is summarized at the end of the short read with "free" websites or where to monitor the indicator live into the future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Deal_Flow on September 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
Authors do an excellent job covering fifty key indicators in a concise manner. The graphs help put the historical movements into context, and the summaries provided at the end of the chapters allow the reader to home in quickly on the key points, including where and when to look for the data. Highly recommend for investors or anyone following the economy more broadly. This book will serve as a helpful reference going forward, and I expect to use it regularly.

Why not five stars? (1) No index; (2) It's sloppy: e.g., the word "data" should be plural, Procter & Gamble is misspelled, and some of the graphs/charts are either mislabeled or ambiguously labeled; and (3) Selection criteria unclear. Authors say they exclude big and well known indicators like CPI but then include several others that are just as well known. (Maybe they're just making room for the Vixen Index.)

Regardless, this one's a winner, and most of my issues will probably be addressed in a 2nd edition.
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The WSJ Guide to the 50 Economic Indicators That Really Matter: From Big Macs to "Zombie Banks," the Indicators Smart Investors Watch to Beat the Market (Wall Street Journal Guides)
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