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73 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Classic!
I studied finance in college and I think I could have just read this book instead of most of the finance classes I took.
First of all, "The Money Game" starts out with the thesis that the stock market and all other equity markets are just a game. It is not long-term investing that wins in this game for most. This would be heresy for most finance professors and...
Published on August 11, 2002 by repeatonceagain

versus
3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very interesting for traders/investors of 2012; unless you like war stories
I have never understood reviewers that bring up a classic that is supposed to have changed their whole perspective and then never give examples of the changes. This is such a book. Some people seem to love it, but we never really understand why. My guess is that you will not even understand after reading the book.

If you liked Livermore's Reminiscences of a...
Published on December 24, 2012 by Jackal


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73 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Classic!, August 11, 2002
By 
"repeatonceagain" (Dexter, MI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Money Game (Paperback)
I studied finance in college and I think I could have just read this book instead of most of the finance classes I took.
First of all, "The Money Game" starts out with the thesis that the stock market and all other equity markets are just a game. It is not long-term investing that wins in this game for most. This would be heresy for most finance professors and financial planners out there. One example from the book involves a family that passed IBM stock down from generation to generation, it was only sold to cover estate taxes. Many members in the family became very wealthy. However, they worked just hard as their cohorts with no money, and the buy and hold stretagy profited them almost nothing despite the fact that they were "wealthy." Another example is a man who died in the late 1800s with a portfolio worth over $1,000,000. By the time the inheretence was passed down, the portfolio was worth 0, as the companies had gone out of business.
"The Money Game" gives a great explanation of crital issues such as technical analysis, fundamental analysis, mass psychology, mutual funds and their managers, "performance" vs. more conservative funds, accounting practices, random walk theory, "valuation" of equities, and most importantly the money game itself.
Ever wonder how a company like Priceline.com could be worth more than the market capitalization of all the airline stocks put together? This book explains how something so out of whack can happen and gives many examples.
In this game, money is how you keep score. When someone is making lots of money, they are winning the game. When they are loosing money, they are loosing the game. But the game is there to be played, win, lose, or draw. For the players, it's just too tempting to stay in, it is vital, it is life for many.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catch up on those 60s cocktail parties with fund managers..., February 1, 2002
By 
This review is from: Money Game (Paperback)
This is a great book on many levels, for both investors and non-investors.
The setting is Wall Street in the late 1960s. Alcohol flows freely, and smoking is not taboo (don't forget about sex, these were the "Go-Go Years"). It is an almost exclusively male, smaller, whiter, and more white-shoe environment (most women in the book are referred to as "pretty young things"). Nevertheless, don't let the differences fool you; there are many things to be learned in this tale told from the inside.
New York has come into its own as a financial center in the 1960s, and the electricity in the air is communicated through the pages. London, which was more of a co-equal in the prior, twenties bull market, is now a shadow, with Wall Street houses decorating their dining rooms with (page 223) "...paneling [that has] been flown over from busted merchant banks in the City of London..." The foundations of the confident World Trade Center are being drawn up. Older Depression-era Wall Street hands are still dominant, but as the Vietnam War hovers in the background, cracks in the establishment are beginning to show as twenty and thirty something "gunslinger" investment managers show up on the scene.
Almost every major investment paradox or problem we face today is foreshadowed in miniature in this book. As a work of literature, it combines an engaging text with profound underlying meaning. The chapter "What Do the Numbers Mean?" on aggressive accounting was eerily prescient.
The constant presence of John Maynard Keynes and Sigmund Freud as background figures to the culture of the times left an odd taste in my mouth, but the author (George J.W. Goodman, writing under the pen name "Adam Smith") never missed a beat in deftly applying their insights to the world of finance. The book has a strong undercurrent of behavioral finance, but it's about much more than that. There's a lot of humor, but there is also tragedy, when he recounts the tale of burnt-out and broke ex-millionaire Harry (many names are changed in the book to protect anonymity):
(p. 93) "Time is getting shorter," Harry said. "I'll be forty soon. You have to do what you're going to do. All professionals use leverage. You have to, or you end up just another face in the crowd, someone who worked on the Street thirty years and saw a lot of markets and retired with a hundred and twenty thousand dollars. That's no reason to be on the Street."
(p. 96) "[Goodman comments on Harry's misfortune] We all know what a millionaire is, and when the adding machine says, "$1,000,000," there is a beaming figure facing it. But when the machine says 00.00 there should be no one at all because that identity has been extinguished, and the trouble is that sometimes when the adding-machine tape says 00.00 there is still a man there to read it."
Read this book, whether you are an investor, English major or engineer. You'll get a lot out of it.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moments of Clarity, Moments of Comedy, February 6, 2005
By 
This review is from: Money Game (Paperback)
'Adam Smith's' The Money Game presents the reader with some interesting musings on modern finance, as practiced in the late 1960s, and depressingly, today. The book's content actually came from a group of (in)famous essays submitted by the fictitious Mr. 'Smith' to a variety of financial publications during the Fabulous Go-Go Years which spanned from about the mid-1960s to early 1971.

In this book, we see the market revealed for what it truly is. All markets consist of people, and contrary to popular belief (and all common sense), not all people participate in financial markets to make money. Such insights make up the core theme of the book, and Mr. 'Smith' explores this theme in detail in the first part of the book. While it is true that many people do come to the market to make money and hopefully get (filthy) rich, and equally true that most people exit the market chastened, embarassed and with empty pockets, wallets and bank and equity accounts, most secretly approach the market as either a diversion from an otherwise staid and desultory life, a form of entertainment and excitement, or as some sort of perverse challenge. The truly successful in the marketplace, however, approach it as a game, like any other, and as such have acquired a philosophical outlook on the markets and life. As such, shades of Nasim Nicholab Taleb's remarkable financial book, Fooled by Randomness, resonate with particular force with this book. Thus, Mr. 'Smith' admonishes the reader to understand our reasons for participating in the market, and along the way, he divulges the real secret to getting rich in the stock market (besides either running the market or being some sort of middleman in the market). Mr. 'Smith' also admonishes potential players to look upon the market as a Game (with a capital 'g'), and this particular insight makes for the second major theme of the book. Here he relies on the words of Lord Keynes and the legendary founder of the Fidelity Group for support.

In Part Two of the book, he puts both ivory tower foolishness and market foolishness to the test, and as most intelligent readers might accurately guess, both fail spectacularly. Based on his treatment, we learn that the random walk theory and the Dow theory share opposite sides of the same coin. Adherents to one or the other champion them with equal fervor (and trash their counterparts with the zeal of religious fanatics), and while one says that prices can be predicted from the past moves, and the other says no such luck, both profess to be the one true path to riches. Part Two really gets to the heart of investing. Who has the best system? It turns out that nobody does, and that is the central message, along with the fallibility of numbers, trends and past data (and the slavish and potentially bankrupting reliance on computers and programmed trading). All 'systems' for money-making depend on the analysis of the past to determine the future, and though this works well in the controlled environment of the science lab, it fails spectacularly in the uncontrolled marketplace.

In Part Three, Mr. 'Smith' paints a disturbing picture of professional money managers. The reader gets to see the pros in action, and even though the pros have more money and information, they too often act as clueless as the Little Guy whose money they take and quite often berate. Part Four of the book allows us to partake in a little roasting of the financial doomsayers, ever-present then as they are now, and always seeing signs of the Apocalypse in every upward or downward movement in one or more economic indicators. Here, Mr. 'Smith' reminds us that goldbugs and other fear mongering speculators and opportunists will always be with us so long as there are marketplaces in which to trade.

Part Five winds up the book, and Mr. 'Smith' reminds the reader that in the end, the market and investing are best approached when looked upon as a Game. Whether it is the Go-Go Sixties or internet New Economy Nineties, the players and their passions, hopes, dreams and desires all remain the same. Change the names and the dates and you really couldn't say for sure if you were in one period or the other. The wise reader would do well to look inward first before making any outward financial moves going forward. Readers of this book who desire to learn more about the history and cyclical nature of business, industry, markets and money may want to read Devil Take The Hindmost by Edward Chancellor.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, December 3, 2000
By 
The book wizard (Boca Raton, FL United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Money Game (Paperback)
I've read hundreds of investing books; skimmed hundreds more; even written one myself. But dare it be said: This beautifully written work may well be the best book on the subject ever written. Not because it covers everything, or promises to make you rich. But because it offers timeless insights into how players, amateur and professional, really do play the game, and thereby gives you rich food for thought on how, or whether, you should play. Sure, you won't find anything on program trading, IRAs, 401k's, the great fund boom, or dot com stocks. However, that just goes to show that you needn't read today's papers to truly learn today's market. A bestseller in its day, there is still something for everyone here. Simply put, The Money Game is a classic, the first book on investing you should read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Equal parts humor and wisdom, April 8, 2002
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Money Game (Paperback)
Much to my surprise, I find myself in agreement with a prize winning economist. (Paul Samuelson has dubbed The Money Game a "modern classic," and it is).

A brief but insanely great read, Adam Smith made me laugh out loud at least half a dozen times with his dry sarcasm and sardonic wit. If Reminiscences of a Stock Operator is an all-time ultimate classic for traders, then The Money Game is one of the all-time ultimate classics for investors.

Written almost a decade before I was born, the book is just as relevant today as it was in the latter half of the sixties. The high flyers Smith writes about are so similar to those of the 1990's bubble, it is literally as if nothing but the symbols have changed (and perhaps the clothing styles). Sixties screamers like Brunswick and Solectron were bid up to hundreds of times earnings, then flamed out and fell through the floor with spectacular declines of 90% or more... just like the JNPR's and CMGI's and JDSU's of our more `enlightened' age. The Great Winfield, master tape reader of his day, is the perfect 1960's equivalent to the dotcom daytrader banging bids on Island or Selectnet. The technical analysts of the sixties, with their punch cards and their vacuum tube computers, are in perfect harmony with the high powered number crunchers and stochastics trackers of today.

And when Smith discusses the complete and utter wackiness of corporate accounting methods, complete with a hundred and one ways to massage earnings statements six ways to Sunday while technically remaining within the law, you would swear he is foreshadowing the fall of Enron. And of course there is good old John Jerk, proud representative of the uninformed public... buying high, selling low, and generally getting taken behind the woodshed, just as he still is today.

The old hands are always saying that the game is the same. (Jesse Livermore said it 80 years ago... no doubt some ancient mariner passed such words on to him.) Young gunslingers and wet behind the ears traders nod and smile, because they know the old timers are wise--yet the youngsters are still naïve enough to harbor doubts in the back of their minds as to whether it is true. Is the game really and truly always the same? Couldn't it be different this time? Couldn't it?

The Money Game goes a long way in putting the question to rest. There is no way a book written in 1966 could sound perfectly suited to 2001, no way that bowling stocks and fiber-optic packet-switching stocks could give near identical performances under mania circumstances, unless the game is indefinitely, immutably the same.

And why shouldn't it be? We can put a man on the moon, but we certainly aren't any more humble or mature than we were yesterday. Our collective knowledge may increase, but greed and fear do as brisk a business as ever.

Bravo Adam Smith (or should I say George Goodman). I don't know if you are even still alive to read this praise, but your book is as fresh today as it was the day you wrote it.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to believe it was not written this year!, September 5, 2006
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Money Game (Paperback)
I gave this book 5 stars for a few reasons, it kept me entertained, it is funny, it is very true, it also relates perfectly to todays markets and market participants.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same" I don't know who originally said that, but it really does apply to the financial markets. The author paints a great picture of the markets during the 60s and you will have a hard time reconciling the fact that he is not talking about the present day.

Its a good book and I recommend it highly for any investor.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very definition of a classic., October 8, 2004
By 
Spanish student (Across the Pacific.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Money Game (Paperback)
It is difficult to express in words what a joy reading this little gem was. Very little escapes Smith's survey of the market, its nature, its winners, its losers and (importantly) its dreamers. Smith's keen observations combined with his wry wit make "The Money Game" a pure pleasure. No, it didn't make me millions (it's not designed to), but the understanding I gained about "the game" makes it hands down the best work on the stock market I've ever read.

To "useless book": come back to this book in a few years. What seems useless now will be gold by then.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The times change but the stockmarket game goes on, April 16, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Money Game (Paperback)
Written in the late sixties the book reflects its times in the boardrooms and trader pits of Wallstreet. Condesending toward women, hostile to ethnics and gays the book shows a somewhat rough hewn side of the men in the grey flannel suites. The game of generating money from speculation, mass physiology buttressed by modern economic techniques and monatorist policies could be taken from todays headlines. A very entertaining and informative book both from a historical and investing perspectiv
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classical Gold Book, August 30, 2003
By 
Roland Buresund (Stockholm, Sweden) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Money Game (Paperback)
A book written in the sixties, that just as well could have been written today (except for a few details). This is proof that most investment bankers and fund managers are complete morons, especially in the light that they haven't changed in over 40 years (same mistakes and bad attitudes year after year).
This should be mandatory reading for anyone considering a glamorous career involving trading or any type of Exchange. If you are not into these kinds of fun, avoid it, as it probably will be very boring without some knowledge of how these markets works.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly Eternally Relevant- more than just a Classic--, February 16, 2001
By 
"ragingstevek" (louisville, KY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Money Game (Paperback)
Sophisticated or not, YOU NEED this BOOK !!
A most creative piece of complete writing [ as real literature, an insider's nearly-journalistic report: if not how-to, perhaps how-not-to and here are you consequences; ]....
Hard to imagine that the depiction of computer investing applications of 25 years ago would be insightful and contemporarily funnier than one can imagine. After all, most of us have more computing power on our desk top than a high- powered university might have managed using an entire air-conditioned city block. And certainly the opportunity to do practically unimaginable things with it,
Who would believe that the 'new economy', 'new concepts', 'nifty-fifty' go-go era of the previous generation looks like deja vu- all-over- again, with respect to hightech electronics and the 'net.
If you're skeptical that anything THAT OLD could be applicable to our high powered nouveau 'we're- so- much- more- sophisticated', real-time capabilities, perhaps it's time for you to visit, or revisit...
* the gunslingers of the past, barely out of adolescence- invincible and bulletproof;
* the earliest portrayals of computerized trading, and finagling;
* 'the Great Winston' and the Kids: you think 1000 x earnings, and dreams versus reality is a new- millenium concept? * 16th century tulips..
It's inciteful, more sustainably clever and funny than the topic of wealth generation schemes should be possible... I read it [ then , reread it for fun ] a number of years ago.. went back to it again..
because when human nature is involved, nothing really changes- crowds and mobs really haven't changed; and we panic just as well today, only more efficiently and spectacularly in this day and age..
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Money Game
Money Game by Adam Smith (Paperback - August 12, 1976)
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