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The Nature of Risk (Fraser Publishing Library) (Contrary Opinion Library) Paperback – November 19, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

After serving as Assistant Director of the NYSE Floor Department, Justin Mamis founded and edited The Professional Tape Reader in 1972, selling it in 1977 to its current editor with thoughts of retirement. Instead he spent several years as an "upstairs" Member-Trader for Phelan, Silver, an NYSE specialist firm and subsequently settled into his roles as market advisory letter writer, forecaster, and philosopher on behalf of Wertheim & Co., and then Gordon Capital. He then became Senior Vice President and Chief Market Technician at Hancock, where he wrote his weekly Mamis Letter. Quotes from the Mamis Letter appear frequently in Barron's and The Wall Street Journal and his often heretical and usually grumpy comments can be heard from time to time on CNBC. Among his credentials he has been voted for several consecutive years to the Institutional Investor "All-Star Team" in the categories of Market Timing and Market Technician. Justin continues to write his market letter and do forecasting and philosophizing.
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Product Details

  • Series: Contrary Opinion Library
  • Paperback: 241 pages
  • Publisher: Fraser Publishing Co.; 2nd edition (November 19, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870341324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870341328
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #740,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

The Nature of Risk is a seminal work for anyone who understands that self-knowledge is key for success in the financial markets, particularly at market extremes. Rather than babble about risk in general, Mamis takes this engine apart and examines its parts, among which are information risk and price risk. He explains that as one's tolerance for information risk increases (the need to know why the stock is doing whatever it's doing), one's price risk diminishes (one is better able to jump in and take advantage of whatever opportunities for picking up cheaper shares present themselves). On the other hand, if one has no tolerance for information risk and must know everything about a stock's movement, his price risk will be that much greater because the price will likely, by then, have risen to an over-extended level. Therefore, having identified these components of risk (time risk is another), one must then balance them out in order to approach the markets rationally and unemotionally.
An extremely important work, particularly for the investor who is plagued by doubt, confusion, and anxiety.
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It's been four years since I first reviewed this book (see the next to the last, below), and I still consider it to be absolutely essential for anyone considering any sort of involvement in the financial markets. In fact, it's probably essential for anyone who is considering anything at all that entails more than minimum risk.
The amateurs miss the point. This is not about the best stochastic settings or how to massage the bid and the ask. This is about facing up to the very real risks inherent in the financial markets, including the very real risk of financial ruin. Amateurs don't see the risk; therefore, they don't bother to grapple with it. Instead, they would rather blow up and disappear. If one wants to last, he must come to terms with the nature of risk, his own tolerance for risk, an understanding of how to manage risk. Without that, he's doomed.
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By A Customer on December 3, 1999
I read the first edition of Nature Of Risk many years ago while in college developing a thesis about markets, the media, and mass behavior. This book helped me to sharpen my thinking on those topics, but it also was a sheer delight to read and reflect upon. It gently guides readers to consider their own risk-acceptance (and denial) behaviors in the face of everyday events and circumstances (one of which just happens to be the financial markets). Nature Of Risk is *not* a book that will help you to "win in the markets." But it is a pleasure to read. There are very few writers - especially financial writers - of Mamis' caliber, precision, and throughfulness.
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Mr. Mamis steps beyond facts and figures used to analyze the stock market. He examines the psychology and consequences of waiting, learning, and gathering information about potential investment and life choices.
An informed decision would seem to be a sound one. It may very well be, yet in the context of the market, as information risk diminishes (more knowledge is gained about a particular investment), the price risk will increase (assuming positive news results in a rising stock price). Once an investment is deemed to be solid and secure, the existing information will already be reflected in the price of the equity and the potential for appreciation becomes much more limited (price risk increases). The art of balancing information risk and price risk is a central theme of the book, which is discussed, in intricate detail. Also discussed are methods of determining when price risk is likely to be at an absolute minimum -- all news surrounding a company is bad, and no matter how much more bad news comes out the price does not decline further. An interesting "head and shoulders" method of timing the market is presented as well.
Whether it's embarking on a new career, investing for a quick hit, or retirement, taking a new job, signing an agreement or contract, making a new purchase, or getting married, all of life's decisions involve the same basic tradeoff between information risk and anticipated benefits (price risk). The author discusses not only the stock market and investing, but presents mental models from various situations, which most anyone has experienced, and can relate to in some form.
If you are interested in learning about the psychology of the market, or simply exploring and seeking to better understand your own decision making process better, buy this book. It is truly a book about risk, and not one of the over-hyped books blathering on about the stock market
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Verified Purchase
Firstly, I have a lot of respect for Mamis, so this is NOT to run him or his writing style down.
In-fact, I have given his other books, When to Buy and How to Sell the Five Star ratings as they are very useful and well written.
However, after reading those, this book seems to repeat some of the points made in them and seems a little defensive about Technical Analysis. Avoid this one but positively buy the other two.
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I was reluctant to buy this book based on the first reviews I read. However, I have been daytrading for four years now, and frequently go against the crowd. Perhaps it is this contrarian view that keeps me in this business. I manage a proprietary firm in Denver (Bright Trading) and recommend this to ALL the new traders as well as veterans of the craft. It is fresh, insightful and really gets to the meat of what makes one trader successful while another fails. A great companion to this book is Mark Douglas' book Trading In The Zone.
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