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You Can Be a Stock Market Genius: Uncover the Secret Hiding Places of Stock Market Profits Paperback – February 25, 1999

144 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The stock-market profits that investment pro Greenblatt is chasing are found in some areas not usually considered by the average investor: spin-offs, mergers, risk arbitrage, restructurings, rights offerings, bankruptcies, liquidations, and asset sales. Greenblatt acknowledges that pursuing them will require some time, effort, patience, and experience. But he argues that because these areas are not overstudied by the analysts, possible market inefficiencies can be exploited. He explains each area with case studies from his own experience. Librarians will love his answer to the question, "Where can you find these special investment opportunities?"?read, read, read?and he gives the best places to look, emphasizing that you can pirate good ideas but you still need to do your own homework. None of this should be beyond the experienced investor (Greenblatt himself says he doesn't "like to work too hard to understand an investment"), but it is probably beyond the neophyte.?Alexander Wenner, Indiana Univ. Lib., Bloomington
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


The Wall Street Journal Joel Greenblatt can indeed teach you about the market and how fortunes can be made there.

Andrew Tobias bestselling author of The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need I hope few investors will read this smart, sophisticated, fun book. I don't want competition profiting from its very real insights.

Alan C. "Ace" Greenburg Chairman of the Board, Bear Stearns Joel is my kind of guy -- very, very long on common sense. This book is great!

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1st Fireside Ed edition (February 25, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684840073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684840079
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joel Greenblatt is the founder and a managing partner of Gotham Capital, a private investment partnership that has achieved 40% annualized returns since its inception in 1985. He is a professor on the adjunct faculty of Columbia Business School, the former chairman of the board of a Fortune 500 company, the cofounder of the Value Investors Club website, and the author of You Can Be a Stock Market Genius. Greenblatt holds a BS and an MBA from the Wharton School.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

212 of 218 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 3, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Okay, so the title of the book leaves something to be desired, but that is the ONLY part of this book that falls short. Joel Greenblatt has written an excellent book on profiting from special situations. That's fortunate for the rest of us, since so far as I can tell, this is the ONLY book that provides an overview of event-driven investing. Note that I said "overview"--it's by no means definitive, nor does it claim to be. Certainly more rigorous treatments of risk arbitrage exist. However, this is the only book I'm aware of that is dedicated to explaining merger securities, spinoffs, recapitalizations, bankruptcy and yes, risk arbitrage.
The book's format is well thought out: each chapter explains the how and why of investing in one particular corporate event, and then utilizes case studies to ram the point home. The case studies are interesting, reading at times like a novel. The tone is lighthearted and endearing throughout, and the frequent jokes, although usually kitschy, hit the mark nonetheless. (One gem: "There are three types of people in the world--those who can count, and those who can't.")
This book is not for everyone, however. Beginners should first read Peter Lynch, Ben Graham, and Phillip Fisher before tackling this one. Greenblatt assumes a reasonable degree of comfort with financial statements and value investing strategies on the part of the reader. The use of LEAPS and options in special situations is covered, but should be avoided by all save for the most advanced investors (as per the author's advice). Also, professionals working in the field of event-driven investments would probably find little they did not already know. That being said, the book reads quickly, so a pro would be little disadvantaged for reading it.
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Format: Paperback
This book is for those who cannot resist the idea of wanting to outperform the market averages. For most people, that's dumb idea . . . and indexed mutual funds would be a better choice.

But if you are willing to roll up your sleeves, put on your green eyeshade and look at things differently, Mr. Greenblatt's approach is a very valid one.

If you read only one of Mr. Greenblatt's books about investing (the other one is The Little Book That Beats the Market), read this one. You'll make more money with this one.

You can be a Stock Market Genius has the simplest explanation for special situations investing involving unusual securities that I have seen for the lay person.

For most people, this book will be a lot to chew on. I suggest that you start by simply trying to understand and apply one idea in the book . . . such as finding under priced small spin-off stocks. After you get the handle on that one, go on to another approach that interests you.

I have worked for over three decades helping companies design these new securities that fascinate Mr. Greenblatt so much. From that experience, I'm constantly amazed at how stupidly most corporate finance departments and investment banks pursue these new structures. I suspect that the answer is that the heavy brainpower is saved for more profitable work like M&A.

As a result, you will almost always find a great investment opportunity if you look at unusual securities. I encourage you to begin by spending a half hour getting the background on any unusual transaction you read about.

You can also improve on this book by doing more precise measurements of securities values (if you have the background to do that), but for many severely undervalued securities Mr.
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77 of 82 people found the following review helpful By S. Schneider on May 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an amazingly generous roadmap to lesser-known corners of the securities market. When I first picked it up about 2 years ago, I was terribly disappointed because all the strategies Greenblatt describes require a fair amount of WORK and careful thought --and it was my impression that "Stock Market Genius" entailed effortless wizardry! But the work is contagious and engaging (like digging for buried treasure, as aptly described by Joel Greenblatt).
Despite the book's schleppy and seemingly unrealistic title, Greenblatt's descriptions are wonderfully realistic and honest. In particular, although I've looked for other resources on spinoff investment strategies, everything you really need to know is in this book. The author's style is flippant but endearing, and the reader will get more than his/her money's worth from the ideas described in this book.
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75 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Gaetan Lion on January 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
In this older book, Greenblatt reviews what diligent active investing is all about: uncovering economic value in Byzantine places where information is not analyzed so efficiently by the market. No one is going to generate excess returns trading Fortune 500 stocks in stable situations. But, as Greenblatt recommends, if you study special situations in arcane details you may have a better chance of extracting above market returns.

His advice is commendable, but it is not for the average investor. His approach assumes an astute knowledge of investment and corporate finance rarely found outside the institutional investment community. After all, how many friends do you know have made money using such a sophisticated and labor-intensive approach? I have personally tried a couple of decades ago armed with an MBA and years in corporate credit analysis and failed.

Another obstacle is that since the book was written investors have pored billions in hedge funds who chase the same types of market inefficiencies. Therefore, the market for all these special situations (risk arbitrage, restructuring, liquidations, etc...) has become more efficient.

If you are just a regular investor, sound investing boils down to evaluating one's risk tolerance, diversifying your assets accordingly, and investing them efficiently. If you want to know more about this I strongly recommend Burton Malkiels' "The Random Walk Guide to Investing."
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