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A Random Walk Down Wall Street; Including a Life-Cycle Guide to Personal Investing Paperback – January 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 499 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Revised edition (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393320405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393320404
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,655,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's unlikely that you'll spot many dog-eared copies of A Random Walk floating amongst the Wall Street set (although bookshelves at home may prove otherwise). After all, a "random walk"--in market terms--suggests that a "blindfolded monkey" would have as much luck selecting a portfolio as a pro. But Burton Malkiel's classic investment book is anything but random. Since stock prices cannot be predicted in the short term, argues Malkiel, individual investors are better off buying and holding onto index funds than meddling with securities or actively managing mutual funds. Not only will a broad range of index funds outperform a professionally managed portfolio in the long run, but investors can avoid expense charges and trading costs, which decrease returns.

First published in 1973, this seventh printing of a A Random Walk looks forward and does so broadly, examining a new range of investment choices facing the turn-of-the-century investor: money-market accounts, tax-exempt funds, Roth IRAs, and equity REITs, as well as the potential benefits and pitfalls of the emerging global economy. In his updated "life-cycle guide to investing," Malkiel offers age-related investment strategies that consider one's capacity for risk. (A 30-year-old who can depend on wages to offset investment losses has a different risk capacity from a 60-year-old.) In his assessment of rocketing Internet stocks, Malkiel defends his "random" position well, explaining how "the market eventually corrects any irrationality--albeit in its own slow, inexorable fashion. Anomalies can crop up, markets can get irrationally optimistic, and often they attract unwary investors. But eventually, true value is recognized by the market, and this is the main lesson investors must heed." Written for the financial layperson but bolstered by 30 years of research, A Random Walk will help individual investors take charge of their financial future. Recommended. --Rob McDonald --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Latest edition of Princeton professor Malkiel's bestselling investment guide.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Burton G. Malkiel is the Chemical Bank Chairman's Professor of Economics at Princeton University. His books include "From Wall Street to the Great Wall," "Naked Economics," "The Random Walk Guide to Investing," and the mega-bestseller "A Random Walk Down Wall Street."



Customer Reviews

Overall, this is a great book, a must read for every investor.
The Finance Buff
Therefore the best investment he recommends is investing in index funds or buying the index stocks.
Ahmed Bahey Alashram
The author presents the contents of this book in a very easy to understand manner.
Ahmad

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

205 of 212 people found the following review helpful By The Finance Buff on February 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a classic book, first published in 1973. The 9th edition just came out this year. Every investor, whether you believe in market efficiency or not, should read this book at least once. This book does a very good job reconciling between market efficiency and perceived inefficiencies such as bubbles at different times. The author believes in a weak form of efficient market theory. Simply put, the market may not be perfectly efficient at all times, but it's efficient enough to make it very difficult and costly trying to beat it. In the end, an investor is better off holding a market index fund that invests in everything under the sun. It's not worth the cost and effort trying to find the undervalued stocks or high-growth mutual funds.

The book begins with two basic stock valuation models -- Firm Foundations and Castles in the Air. It goes on with a review of bubbles and manias throughout history, from more ancient history -- tulip craze in the Netherlands, the South Sea bubble in England, the 1929 Great Crash in the U.S. -- to the stock market anomalies from the 1960s, 1970s, all the way to the late 1990s dot com bubble. The book then introduces two basic camps of stock valuation analysis: Technical Analysis and Fundamental Analysis. It shows how both Technical Analysis and Fundamental Analysis fail to identify outstanding investment opportunities more than what an efficient market already provides. Not that you can't make money with Technical Analysis and/or Fundamental Analysis, but you can't make more money than what you already can with investing in a market index fund.

The chapter on behavioral finance is new for the 9th edition. It reviews how investors often become their own worst enemy when it comes to investing.
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Trent Hamm on March 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
Burton Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street is well known to be one of the modern classics on stock investing. I was already aware of the premise behind the book - the stock market is pretty efficient and most everyone is wasting their time trying to find inefficiencies to exploit - but I was interested in finding out what information inside could really help me as an individual, both as an investor and as a person interested in improving my personal finances. Here's what I found.

Chapter 1: Firm Foundations and Castles in the Air
The book starts off by defining two basic investment ideologies, the firm foundation theory and the "castle in the air" theory. The firm foundation theory basically says that you should invest based on the actual real value of what you're investing in; for example, if you buy a stock of Coke, it should be based on what the value of the Coca-Cola Corporation is. The "castle in the air" theory basically says that you should invest in response to what the crowds are doing and that you can make more money by riding the waves of people who are either following trends or trying to invest based on a firm foundation. Which one is right? The truth is that they both are, but at different times.

Chapter 2: The Madness of Crowds
This chapter is quite entertaining: it discusses financial "crazes" throughout history, including my personal favorite craze of all, tulipomania. In all three examples (tulipomania, the South Sea bubble, and the Wall Street crash of 1929), a market grew like gangbusters until everything was overvalued, then the values rapidly returned to normal.
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71 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Carl of Netcong on January 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My review pertains to the newest 2010 edition of "A Random Walk Down Wall Street". I found it to be a well-updated classic. The author is very knowledgeable and makes a strong case for sensible investing choices using index funds and ETF's. Each chapter is peppered with experiences, jokes, and other interesting anecdotal tidbits. The old references that were fit for the 70's or 80's were purged or modified to make this book fit 2011. For the investor or anyone interested in building their own nest egg and then protecting it, this is a highly recommended book. I consider myself to be a rather experienced and seasoned investor but I learned a lot of new things reading this book. I have also read "The Little Book of Common Sense Investing" by John C. Bogle of Vanguard fame. I much prefer "A Random Walk Down Wall Street". Random is a much bigger book and will require more time to read, but it's much more thorough and less biased. If you have the time to read it, I would recommend A Random Walk over the Little Book.
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Format: Hardcover
A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing, 9th ed., by Burton G. Malkiel, is a classic and brilliant explanation of how investors make the same mistakes over and over again, and how you can avoid those mistakes. If you want to understand how the stock market works, and decide for yourself if you should be investing in index mutual funds or picking stocks, this book is a must-read.

This book is not short, but that's because it goes through the history of investing (starting in 1592! through the dot-com era), explains how professionals invest and modern portfolio theory, and how you can apply all that to your investment portfolio.

I read this book before I was an investment advisor, have re-read it since, and recommend it to my clients who want to understand how the stock market, and how investors, work.

Pros: Love the stories of early investment bubbles, like the tulip bulb bubble (yes, actual tulip bulbs) and how the dot-com bubble was just history repeating itself. Great explaination of modern portfolio theory, that a non-financial-geek can understand.

Cons: Still is pretty technical for some people, and no one could say the book is short or quick reading. Modern portfolio theory may not work in all asset classes (like international investments, though that may be changing).

What I have learned: I love sharing stories of all of the bubbles throughout history, when I'm at a cocktail party or networking event. Helps me explain to clients and press why the dot-com bubble happened, why indexing works (in some asset classes), and how someone should evaluate the fundamentals of a stock.
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