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Skating Where the Puck Was: The Correlation Game in a Flat World (Investing for Adults Book 2) by [Bernstein, William J]
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Skating Where the Puck Was: The Correlation Game in a Flat World (Investing for Adults Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Bernstein (North Bend, OR) runs a website--www.efficientfrontier.com--known for its quarterly journal of asset allocation and portfolio theory, Efficient Frontier.

Product Details

  • File Size: 444 KB
  • Print Length: 32 pages
  • Publication Date: December 6, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AKJ7WZM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,671 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
The title derives from hockey great Wayne Gretzky's quote, "A great hockey player skates to where the puck is going to be."

Bernstein uses the hedge fund industry to illustrate the herd skating to where the puck was. Bernstein observes that the early hedge-fund adapters, such as Yale University's endowment, could exploit alpha and earn excess returns. Yet once the strategy became popular and a couple of trillion dollars was chasing it, the puck "moved." The institutional money that chased hedge funds ended up with costs much higher than the little bit of alpha that remained. To make matters worse, correlations increased, and most hedge funds zigged at the same time stocks did the same.

This is the second installment in Bernstein's brilliant series in investing for adults. It's not for novices or those that want to believe there is some magic way to earn high returns without risk. To be a successful adult investor, Bernstein makes a compelling case to be early, be far-sighted, and be patient.

I can't get enough of William Bernstein's insights!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bernstein is one of the best writers on personal finance, a Bill James/ Nate Silver of finance. He can find the key principles and provide a proper perspective on investing-- not to maximize your net worth, but to avoid ending up eating dog food. Here he tackles asset allocation, which has been long identified as the key decision for optimizing return and minimizing risk. Here he reveals how many asset categories have become highly correlated, decreasing the benefits of most traditional diversification strategies. Some of the discussion gets technical, but you come away with a better understanding of what you can do about asset allocation today.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This essay is very short (about like an in-depth magazine article) but I found it very insightful and occasionally brilliant. The key insight is that once an investment is both known and widely available without great inconvenience and transaction costs, it won't provide the returns that made it famous in the first place. I thought I already understood this, but not at the level that Bernstein explains it here. It's a great read for serious investors.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love William Bernstein and agree with 99% of what he says (and it's how I invest personally). However this shouldn't be a book. This should easily just be a chapter in a book, so i feel taken.

Granted it was my own fault for not fully investigating this "essay" before purchasing it. But come on man, this is WAY overpriced for what it is.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't disagree with either of the 2 other intervals but the failure of commodity futures as diversification and the fall of the Yale type alternative investment approach n are well known t many of us. Bernstein explains that asset classes are more correlated than in the past. I read all of Bernstein's book and this one offered fewer insight than some of the others.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of 3 e-books in a series by William Bernstein. I've read them all, and while this is my least favorite I rate it far above most other personal finance books available.

This one talks about the tendency and danger of buying into an investment as it peaks. The analogy to hockey is that if the athelete skates towards where the puck, when he gets there it will certainly be gone. Bernsteins advice on avoiding this is not so much to anticipate where the puck (market) will be when you get there, it's to adopt a strategy that takes a much longer view. I'm an Asset Allocation for the long haul investor, so this was pretty familiar material to me. That's probably why I rate it below his other books. But if you're still skating where the puck was, this is a must read!

I have a website, and a small section of it on Personal Finance. I recommend Bernstein's writing to my visitors, including this book and its two siblings. I consider the series a must-read for even the moderately serious investor.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a short discussion of the problems of correlation aspects in investing. It reviews the problems with viewing different sectors of the investing universe as uncorrelated. Bernstein shows that this is a temporary situation, because as soon as an uncorrelated asset is discovered money shift into the asset to such a large extent that the asset soon becomes correlated with the majority of the market. As with several of his other books, he looks, briefly, into the history of correlation, in this case hedge funds & commodity funds. Well worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
Again, I want to start by saying Bill Bernstein is, without a doubt, my favorite personal finance and/or investment author. So, generally speaking, of all of his investment related writing, this is the only piece I would even begin to consider scoring 3-star. So, I'm going to briefly state why I scored this one 3 star (instead of something higher) as I admit it has been 2-3 months since I read it:

My general issue with this book was that it basically said, in short, that all of the investment strategies, including the previously less-well-known "alternatives" have been exploited to the point that there is really no way to have a competitive advantage in portfolio construction. It was no negative, in fact, that the book cast doubt as to whether even typical portfolio construction, such as those often touted by the boglehead community, would be successful. If I'm remembering correctly, he practically went so far as to say, perhaps consider tossing in the towel on all of that, and start a private business, or something similar, meaning that success in "passive investing" only may indeed be a thing of the past.

If you ask me, I think that is way too pessimistic, especially if one were to study global stock valuations in relation to historical figures. In real application, I know I have personally averaged well over 12-13% the past 5-6 years or so in my globally diversified portfolio. Though I fully willing to take him at his word that "yale" models have done poorly recent years, I'm relatively sure mine is someone similar to those models and I have been double digits return every since 07'. So I'm at a loss as to where the inconsistencies lie between his figures on "Yale" model and my personal success with my portfolio.
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