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Showing 1-10 of 20 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 27 reviews
on July 16, 2014
Great book. I had long suspected that news has limited impact on price action. How many times have we seen an asset spin out of control for no apparent reason and then like a bike that wobbled, correct itself and keep on riding. I work in financial sales and when these moves occur, everyone from here to kingdom come calls up to ask why the move occurred and mostly , I am at a loss and have to guess at the feeble cause. What Mark does is apply the laws and rigors of physics (Think earthquakes, tornados, electrical patterns) to price action. The thing that I found most usable and fascinating, is the idea that big moves have pre-shocks and post shocks so even if you trade mortgages.. if EUR/ Romanian Leu is wigging out and USD/Korean Won is spiraling.. and Soybeans are cratering--- there might be some connection and some meaning found across the landscape that tells you a storm is brewing everywhere. In these very low volatility times there is something to be said for watching the horizon carefully for those far away storms that could be in your backyard in a second rather than retrofitting some keynsian ideas that never quite explain the entire thing.
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on January 28, 2015
This book is bewilderingly shallow. As a professional trader with a physics degree, I have had the opportunity to read many books on finance (and a few on physics). Buchanan's is the only book that I wish I could somehow un-read. Contrary to the title, he spends most of his time trying to explain some of the stock market's behavioral idiosyncrasies. Unfortunately, he succeeds only when explaining the previously explained; many of his "big ideas," like dynamic disequilibrium, have been widely discussed for at least 40 years. Some of the minor points, like the observations on directional and volume relationships at major price-trend changes, were published as early as 1948 (i.e. Edwards & Magee). The discussion of "crowded trades" is considerably less insightful than, say, those in "Reminiscenses of a Stock Operator" from 1923.

Ultimately, "Forecast" is a collection of useless analogies and "personal" observations, grounded in a financial understanding so flimsy that you may question whether Buchanan has actually read the source material. When discussing Soros' work, in particular, the author sounds as though he is working from the Wiki. Does it matter to us that the work of Robert Lucas reminds Buchanan of Shrodinger's Cat? And will someone please tell him that "John" Tudor Jones' actual name is Paul Tudor Jones? To a trader, that's like saying Alfred Einstein.

Please, I implore you, save yourself. If you are considering this book, please try:

Behavioural Investing by James Montier
The Alchemy of Finance by George Soros
The New Paradigm of Financial Markets by George Soros
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Any of Fischer Black's published papers (they're free!)

Those are far more useful and enlightening.
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on January 3, 2014
For the past decade I just didn’t feel comfortable as the no regulation, just let the markets work libertarian philosophy took hold of both the Democrat and Republican parties.

Coming from a science background I just felt that Economics was essentially a “complex system” and like all the others in science (weather, earthquakes, computer networks, etc.) it should have lots of inherent instabilities which defined their natures (e.g. weather is notable for its storms, not its pleasant days). We wouldn’t have all pleasant days if we “just stopped regulating it”, but that seems to be the theory of current economics.

I’m glad to find someone who has made a great case for the nonsense being peddled by the economics establishment for the last couple of decades.

This is a sensible and VERY readable case for economics as yet another complex system and the need to understand the implications of that.
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on August 4, 2013
Mark Buchanan is a physicist turned economics writer. This book explains the ways in which macro economics has been hiding its head in the sand. The fundamental promise of current macro-economics is that the economy is explained by states of equilibrium. A standard example is prices. If the price of an item is too low, it will be more attractive to more people, who will buy more of it, which will reduce the supply and lead to an increase in price. After a while the price will adjust to a level at which it is neither too high or too low. Everything will be in balance.

That's fine, but what we really want to know about the economy is how it behaves when things are so out of balance that slight adjustments aren't enough to restore the equilibrium. Buchanan examines many such areas which macro-economics has ignored and which are important for understanding how the economy works. This is a very good book and one that people should read.

Why 4 stars instead of 5? I found the book a bit repetitive. The anti-equilibrium message is repeated too many times. In addition, there were cases where examples (or better examples) would have been helpful. So 4 stars means that it is a good book, but it could have been better.

For more details you may want to look at my chapter-by-chapter review on Google+:
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on May 14, 2014
A quick, profitable read. Buchanan puts into clear language the problems underlying pretty much all of mainstream economic discourse. Something is seriously wrong, but it's not captured by the crazy nonsense coming out of gold bugs or Austrians or other easily dismissed gadflys. If you've wondered about the theory first, data second method of Econ, this book does a fantastic job of explaining that you are correct to be ill at ease.
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on August 12, 2015
The book presents an interesting refutation of the idea that the stock market is in a good shape due to the wisdom of the crowds. It suggests a theory (based on the Power Law) that explains market failures and possible methods to prevents such failures.
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on November 27, 2013
The title of the book should of been "Whats wrong with Economics". Anybody that has followed economic forecast soon come to the realization that economics needs some help. The book basically states that economist use linear analysis when they should be using non linear. The book is an easy read and does not get one bogged down in a lot of mathematical equations.
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on May 28, 2016
One of the best reads on physics principles fit with complex dynamical systems like economic systems and stock markets. Very informative and a great read!
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on September 7, 2015
This is one of the best indictments of neoclassical economics I have read. It completely exposes the faulty assumptions and the poverty of its methods. Very highly recommended.
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on October 15, 2014
A very interesting tour of why studying markets in equilibrium is misguided. Sometimes it is easy to quibble with the author, but the overall sentiment is on the money. We need to be more humble with it comes to our cartoons of the market.
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