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

William J Bernstein
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.49
Kindle Price: $3.29
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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
  • ASIN: B00AKJ7WZM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,886 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 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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9 of 9 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An adult discussion of asset allocation January 23, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon 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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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|Amazon 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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1 of 1 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|Amazon 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Errors to avoid August 13, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening March 21, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Short, concise, and illuminating. Once again Bill Bernstein summarizes investment ideas into.terms accessible by anyone. No math required. Highly recommended!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gored whatever way you turn June 27, 2013
Format:Paperback
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 2 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 3 months ago by DM
3.0 out of 5 stars Deep stuff
Not for the faint of heart. Not a Dave Ramsey sort of article. Very good for the enlightened that has a grasp of social issues and statistics.
Published 3 months ago by RopeMan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, timely, useful
I have read every book or booklet that Dr. Bernstein has written. This series of booklets is up to his normal standard of excellence. I highly recommend.
Published 3 months ago by Carol
5.0 out of 5 stars investing for life
I just took an online course on public pension plans through a Stanford MOOC which required us to look at multiple defined benefit pension schemes with assumed discount rates of... Read more
Published 3 months ago by oldani
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read about the problem of chasing returns
This is one of 3 e-books in a series by William Bernstein. I've read them all, and while this is my least favorite I rate it far above most other personal finance books... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tim
4.0 out of 5 stars Questions Without Answers
The book speaks about an issue that is very relevant to people who worry about asset allocation. Unfortunately, it doesn't really provide any solutions, and perhaps there really... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Noseybody
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent piece by William Bernstein
William Bernstein is absolutely one of the best experts on the subject of finance. Four Pillars of Investing and The Birth of Plenty are two of my favorite finance books. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Nate
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernstein holds your attention as usual
William Bernstein is a great financial writer. Even I can understand what he is saying. Five more words required? Why? Bernstein says it all.
Published 7 months ago by Leonard Sackett
4.0 out of 5 stars Skating Where the Puck Was
I've read several of Bill Bernstein's books prior. This did not disappoint. A fast read that makes a potentially dull subject interesting. Recommended.
Published 8 months ago by J Craig Bell
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More About the Author

William Bernstein, Ph.D., M.D., is a practicing neurologist in Oregon. Known for his quarterly journal of asset allocation and portfolio theory Efficient Frontier, Dr. Bernstein is also a principal in the money management firm Efficient Frontier Advisors, is a frequent guest columnist for Morningstar, and is often quoted in The Wall Street Journal.

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