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Skating Where the Puck Was: The Correlation Game in a Flat World (Investing for Adults Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

William J Bernstein
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.49
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  • Length: 32 pages
  • Series: Investing for Adults (Book 2)
  • Prime members can borrow this book and read it on their devices with Kindle Owners Lending Library.
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Book Description

Skating Where the Puck Was: The Correlation Game in a Flat World is the second installment in the Investing for Adults series. This series is not for novices.

This booklet explores the notion that, as a general rule, no magic policy rich in highreturn/low-correlation alternative asset classes exists that will simultaneously preserve upside reward and protect against downside losses. And as long as I’m lowering your expectations, this booklet is most certainly not a blueprint for the “perfect portfolio.” You’re an adult, after all, so you know that the future efficient frontier lies well beyond
our ken; presumably you already know all about the mechanics, long-term benefits, as well as the uncertainties, of wide diversification and factor tilt using low-cost, efficient vehicles and the risk/reward spectrum between all-fixed-income and all-equity portfolios.

Rather, this booklet provides a way of navigating a global investment landscape that grows ever more linked by the month, and a way of thinking about diversification.

Product Details

  • File Size: 444 KB
  • Print Length: 32 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,021 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be early, far-sighted, and patient December 19, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The title derives from hockey great Wayne Gretzky's quote, "A great hockey player skates to where the puck is going to be."

Bernstein uses the hedge fund industry to illustrate the herd skating to where the puck was. Bernstein observes that the early hedge-fund adapters, such as Yale University's endowment, could exploit alpha and earn excess returns. Yet once the strategy became popular and a couple of trillion dollars was chasing it, the puck "moved." The institutional money that chased hedge funds ended up with costs much higher than the little bit of alpha that remained. To make matters worse, correlations increased, and most hedge funds zigged at the same time stocks did the same.

This is the second installment in Bernstein's brilliant series in investing for adults. It's not for novices or those that want to believe there is some magic way to earn high returns without risk. To be a successful adult investor, Bernstein makes a compelling case to be early, be far-sighted, and be patient.

I can't get enough of William Bernstein's insights!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief but powerful February 10, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This essay is very short (about like an in-depth magazine article) but I found it very insightful and occasionally brilliant. The key insight is that once an investment is both known and widely available without great inconvenience and transaction costs, it won't provide the returns that made it famous in the first place. I thought I already understood this, but not at the level that Bernstein explains it here. It's a great read for serious investors.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An adult discussion of asset allocation January 23, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Bernstein is one of the best writers on personal finance, a Bill James/ Nate Silver of finance. He can find the key principles and provide a proper perspective on investing-- not to maximize your net worth, but to avoid ending up eating dog food. Here he tackles asset allocation, which has been long identified as the key decision for optimizing return and minimizing risk. Here he reveals how many asset categories have become highly correlated, decreasing the benefits of most traditional diversification strategies. Some of the discussion gets technical, but you come away with a better understanding of what you can do about asset allocation today.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Can't believe he made this a book March 5, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love William Bernstein and agree with 99% of what he says (and it's how I invest personally). However this shouldn't be a book. This should easily just be a chapter in a book, so i feel taken.

Granted it was my own fault for not fully investigating this "essay" before purchasing it. But come on man, this is WAY overpriced for what it is.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gored whatever way you turn June 27, 2013
Again, I want to start by saying Bill Bernstein is, without a doubt, my favorite personal finance and/or investment author. So, generally speaking, of all of his investment related writing, this is the only piece I would even begin to consider scoring 3-star. So, I'm going to briefly state why I scored this one 3 star (instead of something higher) as I admit it has been 2-3 months since I read it:

My general issue with this book was that it basically said, in short, that all of the investment strategies, including the previously less-well-known "alternatives" have been exploited to the point that there is really no way to have a competitive advantage in portfolio construction. It was no negative, in fact, that the book cast doubt as to whether even typical portfolio construction, such as those often touted by the boglehead community, would be successful. If I'm remembering correctly, he practically went so far as to say, perhaps consider tossing in the towel on all of that, and start a private business, or something similar, meaning that success in "passive investing" only may indeed be a thing of the past.

If you ask me, I think that is way too pessimistic, especially if one were to study global stock valuations in relation to historical figures. In real application, I know I have personally averaged well over 12-13% the past 5-6 years or so in my globally diversified portfolio. Though I fully willing to take him at his word that "yale" models have done poorly recent years, I'm relatively sure mine is someone similar to those models and I have been double digits return every since 07'. So I'm at a loss as to where the inconsistencies lie between his figures on "Yale" model and my personal success with my portfolio.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Errors to avoid August 13, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a short discussion of the problems of correlation aspects in investing. It reviews the problems with viewing different sectors of the investing universe as uncorrelated. Bernstein shows that this is a temporary situation, because as soon as an uncorrelated asset is discovered money shift into the asset to such a large extent that the asset soon becomes correlated with the majority of the market. As with several of his other books, he looks, briefly, into the history of correlation, in this case hedge funds & commodity funds. Well worth reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite Bernstein January 17, 2013
By Bob
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't disagree with either of the 2 other intervals but the failure of commodity futures as diversification and the fall of the Yale type alternative investment approach n are well known t many of us. Bernstein explains that asset classes are more correlated than in the past. I read all of Bernstein's book and this one offered fewer insight than some of the others.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I relate to all of Dr Bernstein's writings. They are excellant.
Published 2 months ago by rex witherspoon
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Book
Superb book, eye opening. Bill Bernstein provides excellent insight, as usual.
Published 5 months ago by Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Every investor should read this book to increase understanding of...
Dr. Bernstein writes a clear explanation of the reasons to spread your investment portfolio amongst numerous asset classes. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Stephen Baig
4.0 out of 5 stars Repeats stuff you already know, but a quick read and a good reminder.
Skating to Where the Puck Was is part of William Bernstein's series called "Investing for Adults". Read more
Published 7 months ago by Piaw Na
4.0 out of 5 stars It's best to keep a low cost (index funds) middle of ...
A well reasoned discussion of diversification. It's best to keep a low cost (index funds) middle of the road diversified portfolio. Read more
Published 8 months ago by TDOMotFT
5.0 out of 5 stars worth pondering
Lots of advice everywhere. But here is the logic around doing something different. No mater what it is, if everyone is doing it, it can't be good.
Published 8 months ago by Warren
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series by an excellent author
Bill Bernstein's writing is accessible to most everyone. Even though this series is targetting those with some mathematical and investing background, the explanations make the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Troy Buckley
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't really offer any actionable info
Doesn't tell us how to predict where that darn puck is going, just that we will make more if we do. I don't think this is in anyway useful.
Published 12 months ago by jjnbos
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, Historic Insight
I found it beneficial to read the trilogy - Deep Risk, Skating where the Puck Was, and The Ages of the Investor. Read more
Published 15 months ago by garyt
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and timely
I like this guy's work. He's getting you to think about risk. I don't agree much with his end advice. But his thinking gets me thinking on how to better manage money. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
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More About the Author

William Bernstein, Ph.D., M.D., is a retired neurologist in Oregon. Known for his website on asset allocation and portfolio theory Efficient Frontier, Dr. Bernstein is also a co-principal in the money management firm Efficient Frontier Advisors, has authored several best-selling books on finance and history, and is often quoted in the national financial media.


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