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Reading Minds and Markets: Minimizing Risk and Maximizing Returns in a Volatile Global Marketplace Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (June 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132354977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132354974
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #782,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The Wall Street Journal Bestseller - Hardcover Business

About the Author

Jack Ablin is an Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer for Harris Private Bank in Chicago. With more than 25 years of experience in the investment business, Mr. Ablin was a mortgage-backed securities trader, a fund manager as well as a Director of Investments. He served in the Finance Department in the School of Management at Boston University and was the President of the Boston Security Analysts Society. Jack makes his home in Chicago with his wife, LeeAnn, and daughters, Elise and Emily.

 

Suzanne McGee has spent more than two decades writing about business and finance, including 13 years at the Wall Street Journal in Toronto, New York, and London. She is currently a contributing editor at Barron’s and a regular contributor to Institutional Investor. Her work has appeared in the Financial Times, INC, Art + Auction, and the New York Post. She is a recipient of both a Gerald Loeb Award and SABEW’s Best in Business Award. Suzanne lives in Brooklyn, where she is now at work on a book about Wall Street.


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Customer Reviews

Ok, maybe that's so, but how does that help me?
David M. Dougherty
The book's ideas are too complex in parts, too vague or incomplete in parts, and overall there is too little substance to put to use.
bayareakirk
He discusses the AAII BEAR index, and then admits it is not useful for timing the market.
Paige Turner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By korova on July 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Before you go any further, ask yourself two key questions. First, how much time are you willing to devote to managing an investment portfolio? Second, how much money are you capable of managing yourself?

These two questions are important because Jack Ablin's "global macro" strategy is not for beginning investors nor is it for people who are not able to make running their portfolio one of their core activities. Implementing Ablin's strategy will require a substantial amount of planning and setup activity and, depending on how complex your models become, probably a significant time commitment once things are up and running.

In addition, you must be able to commit enough capital to the strategy to make all the work worthwhile. The global macro strategy would be an insane amount of effort for portfolios that are smaller than the minimum initial investment (typically somewhere between $250k and $500k) for a customized account run by a professional manager.

OK--if all that didn't make you too discouraged--let's say you're game to check out the strategy. You'll find Reading Minds and Markets to be a good primer on how many big money managers, such as private bankers and high-net worth advisors, make asset allocation decisions. Ablin describes, in fairly broad terms, the five macro factors he uses to select asset classes, countries, and economic sectors. There is some useful discussion about edge and why it's important to invest globally, but the main focus is on explaining the key data that drive his strategy and tactics. It is left to readers to move themselves beyond these first theoretical building blocks and actually build a robust and useful model. Ablin doesn't provide much guidance on choosing benchmarks, portfolio diversification, or risk management either.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By David R. Harper on August 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The best thing I can say about this book is that it is a quick read. It is tough to write a good investment book nowadays; the average retail investor is fairly well-informed. But this book adds nothing to an introduction to investing, and as an introduction it is a half baked mix of ancient cliches. They either (i) dialed it in, or (ii) they do invest this way, in which case, this is *exactly* why you shouldn't let some professionals manage your money (specifically, when they bring almost no discernible originality or insight to the table): they don't mean you harm, they haven't had an original idea in a long long time.

Specific deficiences include:

* He promises a new world of "global macro" then spends exactly two pages on international markets. There is no insight here into global or macro. (you'll want to admire the shiny globe on the cover because that's the last global thing you'll find here)
* The asset allocation offered is absolutely ancient: decision 1 is "stocks or bonds," decision 2 is "which kind of stocks (foreign is listed but no insights), decision 3 is which sector or style (style + sector), decision 4 is which funds. That's fine, but brings nothing new to this framework and nothing on alternatives (commodities) or options or ETF (okay a half page, not helpful). In other words, the asset allocation strategy here is both ancient and not really actionable. I dare you to actually construct a portfolio with this recipe.
* Here is the worst problem, in all seriousness: because this is offered as advice and because the advice is absolutely routine, this is a recipe for following the crowd. I wouldn't mind that if it were fundamental, value-based strategy that truly does minimize risk but the metrics include P/E.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Socha on July 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This was a good read. Sometimes when I pick up books by veterans of Wall Street they can become so mired in "Streetspeak" that the thing ends up reading like a textbook. That was not the case here. Ablin's book reads more like an interesting newspaper or novel. If you are intelligent and comfortable with the markets but you do not work on Wall Street, this book is going to work for you.

Ablin accurately identifies the major misconception among small investors that the way to invest is by stock picking. He spends a good deal of time showing the futility of the exercise for any little guy because he is up against highly sophisticated investors in NY and elsewhere. Instead he teaches why focusing on the big picture is best and how that is the path best taken by prudent do-it-yourself investors. One of the things I really liked was the author's intense effort to remind the reader that this is not a get rich quick book. He lays out how his strategy of identifying what he calls "metrics" is for finding long term trends for various asset classes in an attempt to ride multi-year type moves. If you want to know if you should buy IBM or McDonald's you have the wrong book but if you want to decide between the US market and foreign markets this is the guy. I think both weekend warriors and the pros would be well served to crack open this book.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Douglas B. Moran TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The explanations in the book are for absolute novices (details below), that is, people with no previous interest in investing. But I just don't see such a person having the time and money to implement the advocated strategy: The description of the number of metrics you need to understand, gather data for and monitor seems to be a full-time job, if not more. And having to invest in a range of stocks within industries, within market categories (large cap, small cap) and within markets themselves (domestic, OECD, developing, emerging) would seem to involve a portfolio of well over a million dollars. Aside: Another reviewer here--Korava (July 27, 2009)--makes similar observations, but estimates the minimum portfolio at $250-500K.

Might an individual investor try to implement a rough version of this strategy within a mutual fund family that allows no/low-cost transfers? Maybe. But the book assumes investments at the granularity of individual stocks and doesn't touch upon the issue of having multiple "baskets" of stocks whose compositions are controlled by someone else with different objectives. And there is still the significant knowledge and effort required of the investor. Similarly for ETFs.

Might this book be a good introduction for someone who has suddenly acquired a large portfolio, such as an inheritance, and needs to choose and then interact with a professional investment advisor? Probably not: There is no advice relevant to this aspect.

This book has the feel of an extended version of the sales presentation that the author would give to potential customers of his bank's investment services. It feels like it was dictated to McGee, who then had time to clean it up only the basics.
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