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Taming the Beast: Wall Street's Imperfect Answers to Making Money Hardcover – June 28, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470602155
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470602157
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,160,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Value investing, hedging, growth investing, passive indexing, active indexing, fixed assets, REITs, MPT, momentum, chartism, behaviorism . . . the second half of the twentieth century spawned a multitude of investing approaches, each with its legion of true believers who passionately defend it as the last word in mastering the market. And with good reason: each approach has worked extremely well for its adherents—except when it didn't.

If the 2008 financial crisis taught us anything, it's that when it comes to taming the beast of Wall Street, all solutions are imperfect solutions. Every approach has its fundamental strengths and weaknesses. And the most successful investors are those who author Larry Light calls "ambidextrous"—investors who pay no allegiance to one particular orthodoxy but who possess the wherewithal and agility to take advantage of the best aspects of each.

Part compelling narrative history, part nuts-and-bolts investing guide, Taming the Beast puts you on the road to becoming just such an ambidextrous investor by getting you up to speed on all the major investing approaches. Each chapter zeroes in on one approach, telling the story of its origins and evolution. Light carefully examines an approach from every angle, assessing its various strengths and weaknesses and explaining how and when it makes sense to use it. And he offers valuable pointers on how to combine aspects of several approaches to forge an investment strategy that will work for you.

Throughout, Larry enlivens the coverage with fascinating profiles and fun facts about such investment luminaries as Ben Graham, Thomas Price, Bill Gross, Jeremy Siegel, Lewie Ranieri, Michael Milken, and dozens more. For instance, did you know that Alfred Winslow, father of the hedge fund, was a Soviet spy before converting to capitalism; or that John Templeton, founder of Templeton Growth Fund, the first foreign asset fund, was once busted for vagrancy for sleeping in a Bulgarian park; or that Lewie Ranieri, the brash, blue-collar genius behind the mortgage-backed securities craze, now runs a program dedicated to rescuing distressed homeowners from foreclosure?

While the investing philosophies described can be complex at times, the takeaways from Taming the Beast are fairly straightforward: successful investors always are intimately involved with their investments; they are always up on events, in and beyond the financial markets; they are flexible, disciplined, and canny enough to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em; and, finally, they are keenly aware of both the sweet promises and bitter shortcomings at the heart of every ingenious method mere mortals have ever devised for taming the beast of Wall Street.

From the Back Cover

PRAISE FOR TAMING THE BEAST

"Larry Light has been reporting on and writing about Wall Street and its players for many years, and that experience is clearly evident in this well written, highly readable book. Larry takes the reader through the various investment strategies that fueled the big bull—and bear—markets of the past several decades, analyzes their strengths and weaknesses, and provides more than enough information to allow investors big and small to make intelligent choices about how best to manage their own portfolios in these turbulent times."—A. GARY SHILLING, President, A. Gary Shiling & Co., Inc.

"Larry Light's Taming the Beast is one of the best books yet that helps explain the growth and history of the financial markets over the past thirty years. The book deserves space on one's bookshelf as it offers an excellent history lesson for both the experienced and novice investor."—JEFFREY RUBIN, Director of Research, Birinyi Associates, Inc.

"Larry Light's Taming the Beast is a first-rate contemporary read on making money in a variety of markets in the post-crash era."—DAVD N. DREMAN, Chairman and Managing Director, Dreman Value Management, LLC


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Cleland on July 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a non-expert, I found TAMING THE BEAST easy to follow--which is more than I can say for most books on this subject. The organization is logical, and the stories and examples make the points clear. Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mike on July 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Larry Light brings his usual readable style to elucidate the complex matters of investing. He doesn't presume that he knows the one right way to invest or make us genuflect at the altar of his brilliance. Larry shows us a variety of ways to make money from investments and how it can be lost. His years as an editor at Forbes and the WSJ give him a depth of understanding that he kindly passes on to us. He helps us tame the beast.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sagecoveredhills on October 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am not a professional when it comes to the investing, but I have read a number of books over the past few years explaining investment strategies especially for institutions as I sit on two boards that manage portfolios. Light does a wonderful job explaining the various investment strategies, while providing strengths, weaknesses and limitations for each. Each chapter looks at a different approach. Light begins each chapter with a brief biography of a leading proponent or a founder of the strategy and then goes into detail (in a non-technical manner) as to how such tactics are designed to work. In the twelve chapters, he goes from value and growth investing, to discussing indexes, bonds, real estate, international, alternatives, asset allocation, short selling, hedge funds and behaviorism. Although Light never suggests that one is strategy is always better than another, he does tend to favor the idea of value investing (while acknowledging that at certain times in a market cycle, growth stocks out-perform value). He seems to be enamored with Benjamin Graham, who developed a process of evaluating investments in the depths of the great depression. Warren Buffett is perhaps Graham's best known disciple.

Taming the Beast is written in a manner that is easily read, a plus in a genre that is often overly complicated. Light shows that there is no magic or science in making money through investments. It's more of an art that requires the investor to be aware of what's happening, but also to be leery of emotional pulls and irrational actions. No theory can cover the vast options available today for investors.
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