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Online Investing Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools Paperback – June 27, 2004
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About the Author
After spending 10 years as a project manager and tech writer for Electronic Data Systems, McDonnell Douglas, and others, Bonnie Biafore became a full-time financial-software writer in 1997. She's a columnist for both Quicken.com and Better Investing magazine and the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Personal Finance.
Top Customer Reviews
Chapter list: Screening Investments; Hacking Excel for Financial Analysis; Collecting Financial Data; Analyzing Company Fundamentals; Technical Analysis; Executing Trades; Investing in Mutual Funds; Managing Your Portfolio; Financial Planning; Index
I worked at Enron from 1998 through 2001, and spent plenty of time during that dot.com era following my stock portfolio. I watched my Enron stock value go from incredible value to a point where it cost more to sell the stock than it was worth. I won a few bets (face it, that's what they were) on a few dot.coms and lost many more. What could have been an incredible nest egg, isn't. This book would have been a lifesaver if I had read and paid attention to it a few years ago. Biafore shows you how you can analyze and invest wisely using a variety of tools available to everyone.
If you're an Excel user, you'll find it an invaluable tool for analysis. She'll show you how you can use it to create financial charts (#13), calculate compound annual rates of growth (#26), and use rational values to buy and sell wisely (#36). #39 - Spot Hanky Panky with Cash Flow Analysis (using Enron as an example) would have literally saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars had I known about it. Even if you don't care about the investing tips, the hack on downloading data via Excel web queries (#7) was something I didn't know how to do (or that you could even do it!). The book has a little something for everyone.
As with all Hacks titles, you probably won't be interested in every single item. Some may not be applicable to your situation or may be too complex for what you care to handle. But all it would take is one hack to work out and change your investing for this book to pay huge dividends. If you do your own investing, you owe it to yourself to get this book.
The bulk of her book consists of methods ("hacks") of getting financial data from the Internet. Mostly free access, note. But the book is far more than just a list of good financial websites. For that, you can go to magazines like Forbes, Fortune, Business Week and Kiplinger's, which regularly publish such lists. Remember that this is an O'Reilly book, and the publisher's readers are often programmers.
Thus, many methods involve downloading data into an Excel spreadsheet that has logic to analyse it using meaningful financial formulas or metrics. Of course, given such a spreadsheet, you can add further logic of your own, to winnow down a list of stocks. If you are already a programmer, then from that standpoint, there is nothing hard in the book. You may not perhaps be as conversant with some of the financial jargon. But part of the book's job is to educate you on that.
The thrust of the book is to let you, the investor, take a maximal and active advantage of the best financial resources on the Internet.
This book is written in the same format as the other "hacks" series by O'Reilly. This format is very easy to read, and the format makes it very easy to find answers. Rather then having to read the book from cover to cover, the reader can pick out topics they are dealing with, read the answer, and move on. Since many of the people interesting in a book of this nature will likely have little time, the book's format works to its advantage.
The book begins with some basic introduction to the stock market and tips for selecting appropriate stocks or mutual funds. The whole middle section of the book deals with data analysis. The author discusses how to understand a company's balance sheet (e.g. what that P/E ratio means), how to spot companies in financial trouble, how to pick a good stock, and even how to trade. There is also a good discussion on minimizing the effect of taxes on your little return on investment.
The author even goes further and gets into a discussion on financial planning. In addition to discussing debt reduction, the author also talks about IRA plans and different strategies for saving for your child's education expenses. I think my favorite part of this book was the discussion on different education savings plans.Read more ›
Overall, I was very happy with the book, and found it incredibly useful. Though I do have several investments (401K, some stock, mutual funds etc) I would hardly consider myself an authority on the subject. This book provided very detailed explanations and tips on various forms of investment, from CD's to Index funds, and everything in between. While the experienced investor might not glean much from reading this book, anyone just getting started will find it an excellent reference, and resource.
The format of the book is similar to the other books in the 100 * Hacks series published by O'Reilly. There are exactly 100 hacks, or topics, which are spread across 9 chapters. Each one is an individual entity and can be read and understood without reliance on any of the other hacks.
One minor annoyance I had with the book is that it is geared toward those of you who, for some reason or another, run Microsoft's Windows OS, or have access to Microsoft Excel. Luckily, of the Excel examples that I played with, Open Office's Calc program handled them with minimal tweaking.
I can easily recommend this book to anyone who wants to invest, but is unsure of what to invest in, or needs some tips on making the most of preexisting investments. Those of you who enjoy research and building your own stats and graphs will also find parts of this book rather intriguing, as it covers data acquisition and manipulation with Excel in great detail. It will make an excellent addition to my reference shelf, and I have a feeling it will be well thumbed through in a very short time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Since I agree with the other reviewers, I wont repeat what they have written.
I'd like to add, I have several of Biafore's books. All of them are very readable.
This book is a good dictionary for describing all various ways to invest in stocks. For my use it was limited due to the fact that ETFs are not mention anywhere in the book. Read morePublished on December 20, 2010 by Robert Breeden
This book is clearly written and user friendly. Biafore gives links to information sources, making it easy for the reader to get more information on each of the hacks. Read morePublished on July 13, 2008 by xraylionel
I've been trading for over twenty years, including a period as a floor trader on the Chicago Board of Trade. Read morePublished on July 26, 2007 by Curmudgeon
This is one of the most useful books on investing that I've seen.
The excellent chapter on fundamental analysis alone is worth the price of admission. Read more
Bonnie Biafore's excellent book is filled with great ideas and tips for the online investor. Though the title claims "100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools," the tips expand the... Read morePublished on August 17, 2004 by A. Dexheimer