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The Little Book of Sideways Markets: How to Make Money in Markets that Go Nowhere Hardcover – December 7, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470932937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470932933
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“This is a book you can understand and have fun with no matter what level of experience you have.  Even advanced investors have to refresh themselves in the basics once in awhile. Read it . . “ (Financial Tides and Seeking Alpha)

“This book isn’t about market timing. It’s about winning in a flat market — the sort of knowledge that can make you a lot of money. In his book, Katsenelson reminds us that investing returns come in three ways: more earnings, more dividends, or a higher price-to-earnings ratio. I’m a dividend guy, so Katsenelson had me when he declared that ‘the importance of dividends quadruples in sideways markets, where they historically represent more than 90% of total return.’ Amen, brother! There are a lot of ‘little books’ out there, but The Little Book of Sideways Markets offers excellent advice, reads easily, and will help you sidestep a potentially frustrating market.”(Motley Fool)

“Offers guidance on the discipline of selecting stocks, as well as wisdom on the challenges of knowing when to sell.  Does a masterful job of taking a highly technical subject and explaining it in easily understood terms.  His explanation of discounted cash flow analysis to determine the right price for buying an asset is the best, and the most entertaining.” (NAPFA Advisor)

“Thoroughly enjoyable . . for the thoughtful and often entertaining way in which it is delivered. . . Katsenelson takes his reader step by step into the mind of the value investor by relating, in a fictional addendum to Fiddler on the Roof, the story of Tevye’s purchase of Golde, the cow. He also describes his own big-time gambling evening (he was willing to lose a maximum of $40) and that of a half-drunken, rowdy fellow blackjack player to stress the importance of process. He then moves on to the fundamental principles of active value investing.  What differentiates this book from so many others on value investing is that it describes, sometimes through the use of case studies, the thinking of a value investor. Not just his models or his metrics but his assessments. Katsenelson is an empiricist who weighs facts, looks for contraindications, and makes decisions. He makes value investing come alive.  This may be a little book, but it’s packed with insights for both novices and experienced investors. And it is a delight to read.” (Seeking Alpha)


From the Inside Flap

With the stock market turning into a roller-coaster ride of all-time highs and stomach-churning lows, where does that leave your portfolio? Pretty much back where you started in 2000. Which may be fine for visitors to Six Flags, but for your retirement, savings, and investments, you'd like to actually get somewhere.

In The Little Book of Sideways Markets, respected value investor and author Vitaliy Katsenelson shows you how to survive a stagnant market that's neither bull nor bear but instead what he calls a cowardly lion—it displays occasional bursts of bravado but is ultimately overcome by fear.

Katsenelson, known for the commonsense principles he has written frequently about in the Financial Times, Bloomberg Businessweek and elsewhere, decodes the theories and cuts to the chase with practical and timely strategies for how you can survive and thrive during a sideways market—a state of affairs, by the way, we should expect for the next decade. He'll show you:

  • Why your investments will stall in neutral and what to do about it
  • Why, despite its place as the Rodney Dangerfield of investing, you should treat mean reversion with respect
  • Why Tevye was a rich man—and what you can learn from his purchase of Golde, the cow
  • How the dire state of economic affairs in China and Japan will impact your investments, and what to do about it
  • The three crucial concepts of value investing—Quality, Growth, and Valuation
  • How focus on process, boring as it may sound, leads to success
  • Why you should become a born-again value investor
  • How to break bad habits and find, buy and sell stocks in a sideways market

Making progress in a sideways market is difficult, but the lively and entertaining Little Book of Sideways Markets will help you triumph even when the market is stalled.

More About the Author

VITALIY N. KATSENELSON, CFA, is Chief Investment Officer at Investment Management Associates. Whilehis primary focus is on discovering under-valued companies for his clients, he is also known for his uncommon common sense, which he has regularly expressed in articles in the Financial Times, Barron's, Bloomberg Businessweek, the Christian Science Monitor, Institutional Investor, and the New York Post, among other outlets. He speaks frequently to investment groups around the world, and was most recently profiled in Barron's in September 2009. Previously, he was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Colorado Graduate School of Business, and he is also the author of Active Value Investing.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 31 customer reviews
Definitely a good book for an investor - beginner or otherwise.
R Varadharajan
While this may be a "Little Book", I found it big on ideas yet a very easy read.
Alan J. Brochstein
Buying and holding great companies at reason valuations worked, in the past.
Golden Lion

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Erik T. Nelson on December 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Vitaliy Katsenelson's new book can, in my mind, be broken up into three parts. He begins with his argument that we are in a sideways market. He follows that up with a bit of a tutorial on value investing, and finishes with a few miscellaneous observations.

His sideways market thesis is that following a secular bull market, such as we had in the 90s, we are doomed to spend a number of years in a sideways market. It wiggles around, but ends up roughly where it started. He does some calculating, not to predict the precise length of the sideways market, but to give the reader an idea of the factors involved. (If his assumptions are correct, the current sideways market has another 11, or maybe14 years to go. I don't have a lot of faith in the precise numbers he uses, but neither does he, so that's no criticism.) The central reason for making the sideways market argument isn't to pinpoint the length of the market move, but to convince the reader that, in such a market, it's tough to make money just by being in the broad market, or by being a buy-and-hold investor. We can however, make money by opportunistically buying individual stocks when they are cheap, and selling them when they are fully valued. Don't time the market, but do time individual stocks.

The middle of the book (chapters 4-12) is a tutorial on value investing. I don't think it contains anything that well-read investors won't have come across elsewhere, but it is put together nicely, and pays attention to a few ideas that are often ignored or underplayed in the value investing literature.
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Brenda Jubin on December 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Vitaliy N. Katsenelson's The Little Book of Sideways Markets: How to Make Money in Markets That Go Nowhere (Wiley, 2011) is thoroughly enjoyable, not so much for the message as for the thoughtful and often entertaining way in which it is delivered. It is part of the "Little Book Big Profits" series that began with Joel Greenblatt's The Little Book That Beats the Market in 2005 (recently updated) and now includes fifteen titles.

Katsenelson's hypothesis is that we will likely be in a sideways market, personified by the cowardly lion, "whose bursts of occasional bravery lead to stock appreciation but are ultimately overrun by fear that leads to a descent," until about 2020. (p. 3) His reasoning is that we are experiencing earnings growth but continuing P/E compression: the gains we get from earnings growth are wiped out by a decline in P/E ratios. Even though there can be a lot of cyclical volatility, over the long haul stock prices will stagnate. Until the 12-month trailing P/E falls "significantly below the historical average of 15" (by mid-2010 stocks were trading at more than 19 times 2010 earnings) the sideways market will continue. (p. 27)

If this hypothesis is borne out, buy and hold (never a great idea in any environment) absolutely must be replaced with buy and sell. "A disciplined sell process injects a healthy dose of Darwinism ... into the portfolio, weeding out the weakest stocks--the ones that have deteriorated fundamentals or diminished margin of safety--in favor of stronger ones." (p. 164) That is, once the reasons you bought the stock (valuation, quality, and growth) have disappeared, sell and move on.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By JEFF PIERCE on December 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I had the pleasure of listening to Vitaliy Katsenelson speak about his investing ideology at Agora Financial this summer in Vancouver, who when introduced was described as the "quintessential value based stock picker." Vitaliy took the stage and clarified himself as a "value investor who likes to communicate." I concur after reading his newest book, The Little Book of Sideways Markets: How to Make Money in Markets That Go Nowhere (Wiley, 2011). Vitaliy does a great job at telling simple stories that teach complicated lessons within the financial markets, while embedding value investing wisdom within those stories, so that we may capitalize when the markets are caught in a range, which he calculates to be 50% of the time.

From a trader's perspective "Sideways Markets" also provides real world advice for active traders that I can utilize within my trading plan tomorrow, while filling in any gaps that technicians may lack in the fundamental analysis department. As an active trader my biggest concern when reading an investing book is what can I take away from this book and use right now. Whether Vitaliy wants to admit he has a little active trader in him or not, it's quite apparent when you analyze the markets in hopes of gaining an edge from future direction, while adjusting your strategy along the way...that is described as trading. It's really just a question of time frame at this point.

My two favorite lessons for short-term traders in this book are brilliant in their simplicity. Vitaly tells a story about a farmer named Tevye and his cow Golde, that anybody can understand, illustrating the concepts of value investing, margin of safety, and the pitfalls of speculation.
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