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What Works on Wall Street, Fourth Edition: The Classic Guide to the Best-Performing Investment Strategies of All Time Hardcover – November 14, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: What Works on Wall Street
  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 4 edition (November 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071625763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071625760
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.7 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James P. O’Shaughnessy is chairman and CEO of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management. He previously served as portfolio manager, director of systematic equity, and senior managing director for Bear Stearns. O’Shaughnessy is the author of the bestsellers What Works on Wall Street, How to Retire Rich, Invest Like the Best, and Predicting the Markets of Tomorrow: A Contrarian Investment Strategy for the Next Twenty Years.


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Customer Reviews

This book will complement your knowledge on investing.
ZL
It evaluates the performance of multiple investing strategies over very long time periods (using historical market data) and identifies both good and bad strategies.
Bobby G. Walker
There is an overwhelming amount of data in this book so most of it is fairly dry reading.
MacheteJason

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Rob Lowe on January 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of James O'Shaughnessy and I use a number of the strategies he outlined previously with good results.

I have returned my copy of the 4th edition. The previous editions had updated data for each strategy discussed, plus new strategies that were examined. Unfortunately, this edition does not. While I am interested in hearing his new findings, I expected, wanted and needed data updates for all the strategies previously reviewed, particularly those I use or am considering using. I was totally surprised and disappointed by this change.

I highly recommend his 3rd edition of this book.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jackal on October 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The book shows that certain kinds of stocks (small stocks, low p/e stocks, etc.) outperform decade after decade (60+ years!) without being much more risky. All investors should be familiar with these results. Your return would be 5-10 percentage points higher than average just by following some very simple rules. The first time I read this book it really shocked me. If it is so simple to get superior returns, why are almost all fund managers just getting average returns?

The book is full of statistics providing the details, but there is also useful information in the text. I would have preferred to move 2/3 of the statistics to an appendix because they do not add value. For some reason the author really likes to pile table after table to increase the page count. My guess is that the author thinks this gives the book more credibility. That is silly.

The author is not trained in statistics. However, the book is now in its fourth edition and he has responded to critique of previous editions. The author is familiar with standard deviation, Sharpe ratios, etc., so he is certainly not clueless. There are many ways this could have been a stronger book had the author known more about statistics. For instance when he is constructing composite indicators. There is for instance some data mining going on when he constructs the indicators.

A similar but much more academic approach is found in Expected Returns: An Investor's Guide to Harvesting Market Rewards (Wiley Finance). That is a better book and is much more detailed and sophisticated. To enjoy that book you should be able to read academic finance literature.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By MacheteJason TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
While this book was revolutionary in the 1990s, it was obsolete when first published because it got exploited by investors everywhere as soon as it was known. What Works on Wall Street is in its 4th edition but has not even been updated since the 3rd edition. It did work as far as finding a strategy that's effective when back-tested but it is hopelessly outdated now. Jim has not had a hugely successful track record running money overall. O'Shaughnessy has worked in the US and Canada with mixed results. After the tech wreck the mutual funds Jim managed were shut down (Cornerstone Growth and Cornerstone Value) and the returns were fairly disappointing. In 1999, O'Shaughnessy started Netfolio, The Personal Fund Company, to offer individual investors the ability to build their own diversified portfolio over the internet. The company was closed in 2001. Jim had some decent returns in Canada until the 2008 downturn (when his fund experienced a 50% haircut!) but his ideas suffer from style bias since growth investments simply get slaughtered when the market is falling, flat or range-bound (as it appears to be now). Ultimately, returns from growth investing have shown to be inferior to value investing when risk is factored into the equation. The O'Shaughnessy US Growth Fund has returned 1.76% annualized over the last 10 years (as of Jan 2014) and has underperformed its peers in Small & Mid-Cap Equity and even treasury bills (visit Morningstar for more info). Needless to say, the ideas presented in this book don't have much practical value if you want to make money in the stock market and are even less applicable since 2008 but they do work as a history lesson. There is an overwhelming amount of data in this book so most of it is fairly dry reading.

Check out The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham or Triumph of the Optimists instead. Admittedly, What Works on Wall Street has managed to stay in print.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ZL on March 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the most interesting book I read in the last few years. I buy a lot of books on investing. Thought there is lot of data, authors explain how to how to interpret it. Granted this is not a one-stop system. But ideas are easy to implement with a spreadsheet. I have some decent results so far in my returns implementing the ideas. The author has done a lot of research on different combination of factors that produces good returns and hence it is worth taking a look. This book will complement your knowledge on investing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Eric C. Sedensky VINE VOICE on February 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first read this book two editions ago. My impression then was that it was a sober and sensible book, and it was more than practical in its approach to investing in stocks. Of course, it was also quite detailed and broad. It turns out there's plenty that works on Wall Street.

This new edition retains much of the content and structure from two editions ago. Most of the chapter titles are the same, and although the order of their presentation is altered somewhat, their readability as a linear progression or as "one offs" on specific topics is still one of their best features. Gone are the meaningless jaggedy line graphs that illustrate certain points, often replaced by bar charts or tables of figures instead. Physically, WWOWS's fourth edition is about double the size of the revised edition, and for the most part, all pertinent figures illustrating a point are updated with more recent data samplings and examples. I did notice, however, that starting and ending points of samples of data tended to be somewhat arbitrary, possibly to demonstrate a topic or theory more clearly and dramatically. But still, the data that is supplied is ample and does clearly illustrate the topic being discussed. This makes the reading go smooth and the information easy to absorb. In other words, this work just keeps getting better and better.

In the volatile, unpredictable world of equities investing, it goes without saying that what works today might not work tomorrow, what worked yesterday might not work today, and what worked when the second edition of this book came out might be running out of steam at this point. The reader will therefore still have to think for himself or herself. But, for a general introduction to stock investing, stock analysis, investment and speculation strategies, with plenty of quant perspective, WWOWS remains the quintessential handbook. I can't think of a reason, therefore, not to give it a full five stars.
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