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Irrational Exuberance Hardcover – March 15, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (March 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691050627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691050621
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #698,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

CNBC, day trading, the Motley Fool, Silicon Investor--not since the 1920s has there been such an intense fascination with the U.S. stock market. For an increasing number of Americans, logging on to Yahoo! Finance is a habit more precious than that morning cup of joe (as thousands of SBUX and YHOO shareholders know too well). Yet while the market continues to go higher, many of us can't get Alan Greenspan's famous line out of our heads. In Irrational Exuberance, Yale economics professor Robert J. Shiller examines this public fascination with stocks and sees a combination of factors that have driven stocks higher, including the rise of the Internet, 401(k) plans, increased coverage by the popular media of financial news, overly optimistic cheerleading by analysts and other pundits, the decline of inflation, and the rise of the mutual fund industry. He writes: "Perceived long-term risk is down.... Emotions and heightened attention to the market create a desire to get into the game. Such is irrational exuberance today in the United States."

By history's yardstick, Shiller believes this market is grossly overvalued, and the factors that have conspired to create and amplify this event--the baby-boom effect, the public infatuation with the Internet, and media interest--will most certainly abate. He fears that too many individuals and institutions have come to view stocks as their only investment vehicle, and that investors should consider looking beyond stocks as a way to diversify and hedge against the inevitable downturn. This is a serious and well-researched book that should read like a Stephen King novel to anyone who has staked his or her future on the market's continued success. --Harry C. Edwards

From Library Journal

Taking his book's title and thesis from Alan Greenspan's 1996 description of investors, Shiller (economics, Yale Univ.) studies the current booming U.S. stock market in historical terms. His research into past U.S. and international markets indicates that during every speculative bubble there was always widespread consensus that high valuations were justified by each market's special circumstances. Every large market correction seemed to result from popular consensus rather than specific events or news. Shiller says that past bull and bear markets, though often based initially on sound fundamental reasoning, fed upon themselves to go beyond what the facts justified. He challenges the efficient market theory, demonstrating that markets cannot be explained historically by the movement of company earnings or dividends. He concludes that the current U.S. stock market is a speculative bubble awaiting correction. While the book certainly belongs in all academic business collections, public libraries should also purchase it as a counterweight to the plethora of get-rich-quick investment guides.
-Lawrence R. Maxted, Gannon Univ., Erie, PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I found the book interesting and easy to read.
Ratatosk
We would all likely agree that Intel at 30 would look cheap these days whereas Intel at 200 would not look cheap, but what is the "true value" of Intel?
Professor Joseph L. McCauley
Good book and a must read for the serious investor.
FinancialDave

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

429 of 450 people found the following review helpful By Arnold Kling on March 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Robert Shiller argues that the stock market has experienced a bubble. He makes his case on the basis of a sober statistical judgement. However, in layman's terms, what he says boils down to, "If it walks like a duck, it is a duck." Demonstrating the absurdity of today's stock prices does not require clever statistical modeling.
This begs the question of why a bubble emerged in the late 1990's. Shiller discusses several cultural factors such as the ever-higher profile of the stock market in the media, including the Internet.
This begs the question of how it is possible for so many people wrongly to be optimistic about stocks. Shiller cites many findings in psychology, such as Asch Conformity, to explain how people can listen to others against their own best judgement.
This begs the question of whether it could be Shiller who is irrational. Shiller examines and refutes the arguments that pundits have made to rationalize exuberance.
There are three audiences for this book, all of whom will find it threatening.
1. Ordinary investors. You will not want to read this book, because it asks you to confront an issue that you would be more comfortable avoiding. However, once you do dive into it, you will be rewarded with sober facts and analysis that you can use to resist the siren calls of pundits, brokers, and friends to buy into the bubble.
I can assure you that Robert Shiller did not write this book to make his own fortune. The book jacket says nothing like "five strategies to survive the bubble," although he does mention some conservative investment alternatives. There certainly is no endorsement from Suze Orman or any of the other best-selling gurus that he swiftly skewers.
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75 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Harvey S. Karten on March 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robert J. Shiller's "Irrational Exuberance" is about the most bearish book you could ever read about the stock market. Filled with charts and graphs and footnotes of every description, the book--whose title comes from a quote by Alan Greenspan--attacks Wall Street ideas that have become so accepted that they are household sayings. The principal such idea is that securities have always been the best investments over the long run--beating out bonds, foreign currencies, rare stamps, gold and the like. Shiller points out quite a few examples of how market prices, principally the Dow, have remained pretty flat over some periods of 10, 20, 30 years when corrected for inflation. In some circumstances, you might have done better if you put your spare cash in the bank.
Of course the market has been a great place to stash your cash if you got in at the right time--in 1982, for example, at the very start of the longest-running bull market in history. But put your money there now at your own risk. Seventy-two percent of mutual fund managers believe that we're in a speculative bubble now, with the Dow, at 11,000, reaching for figures that far exceed the historic level which would put the rational figure at 6,000. Shiller would not be surprised if the Dow settled in at, say, 10,000--in the year 2020! And what's more, he'd not be astonished if the Dow sank to 6,000 in the near future.
I was convinced after reading Shiller. He has marshalled his facts in a carefully researched screed against following the sheep-like crowds and I have replaced the tens of millions I had invested in common stocks with far more secure, if less exciting, instruments.
Harvey S. Karten film_critic@compuserve.com
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By B.Sudhakar Shenoy on October 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read the second edition of this book since it is enlarged with the study of the housing market. The phenomenon of bubbles and negative bubbles or collapses is described extremely well by means of statistical data of markets for over a century and a half. The raw data is adjusted to inflation to give a realistic perspective of the trends and patterns. Bubbles seem to be occurring at regular intervals typically based on the "new era" story and everyone believes at least during the heady days that good times are here to stay. But as shown by proven evidence of the past, no bubble has sustained itself permanently and good reason prevails sooner or later. When this happens, the bloated bubble collapses and the hangover is terrible. The story so far is quite simple. But what makes this book so interesting is the depth of research and the manner in which the phenomenon is studied and explained.

The combination of mass psychology and market prices is at the core of this book. For bubbles to happen, information flow is the key. Media plays a significant role in disseminating information and bubbles seem to have originated in recorded history after the advent of the print media. In recent times electronic media particularly the television and the internet play a significant role in speeding up bubble formation and also the reversals. Media needs a storyline and this story needs to be continued to retain customers on a daily basis. Stock market is the ideal place that offers an opportunity to try one's luck if a casino is far away. Backed by on-line dedicated news channels and internet trading, well, it is not surprising that we have day traders in herds. In such situations fundamentals like industry analysis and P/E ratios take a backseat as explained by the author.
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