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on September 16, 2014
This is an awesome book.
It is funny and it feel contemporary.
Schwed has an amazing way with words and a deep insight on the market.
The only thing that feels off is that there are some references that were contemporary with the writing of the book that feel a little off. FOr example, there is a reference to Hitler that makes it seem that the crimes of Nazism had not been fully brought to life.
Other than that it is funny and easy to read.
THe customers still don't have any yachts, but we can't blame Schwed -- he admits that knowing the problem is not the same as knowing the answers.
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on January 28, 2015
So, you want to make money on Wall Street? Good idea, only be wary of investment counselors, stock brokers, or anyone purporting to have all the answers, such as authors of books on investing. Fortunately for us, Fred Schwed is not among them. His is a cautionary tale. He's worked on the Street and knows of its many pitfalls. Yes, his book was originally published in 1955, but as Jason Zweig (Money Magazine) points out in the introduction to the 2006 edition, nothing has changed. "The names and faces and machinery of Wall Street have changed completely from Schwed's day," writes Zweig, "but the game remains the same."

The fact is, says Schwed, no one can predict the future with accuracy, but that is exactly what Wall Street analysts, investment counselors and ambitious stock brokers are claiming to do. It can't be done. The Wall Street game is nothing less than a crap shoot, with lots of losers and few winners, and the winners often end up losers. Who makes the big money on Wall Street? Investment bankers and brokers--from their exorbitant fees. They are the fat cats with the yachts parked out on Long Island, not the clients.

Schwed aims his harshest criticism at investment counselors. "(They) allocate the funds between themselves and their clients in the ancient classic manner, i.e., at the close of the day's business they take all the money and throw it up in the air. Everything that sticks to the ceiling belongs to the clients."

The authors makes a fine distinction between Wall Street speculators and investors. Speculators are the quick-buck artists hoping to make a killing; they don't. Investors are patient and looking for some place to put their money for the long term; they are the ones who actually make money. Put another way: "Speculation is an effort, probably unsuccessful, to turn a little money into a lot. Investment is an effort, which should be successful, to prevent a lot of money from becoming a little."

Schwed's book is funny, wise, a splash of cold reality. While filled with irony, it's not cynical. The author, who reportedly lost a bundle on Wall Street, remains a believer. "I have a sneaking fondness for that wretched old hag, the capitalistic system . . . we had better preserve our financial machinery even with much of the nonsense still adhering to it . . . The only successful method so far devised for getting millions out of the public, for enterprise both good and bad, is some system similar to the devious mechanism of Wall Street."

Bottom line: no one on Wall Street has the answers. It's a guessing game. Be smart: invest for the long term, and maintain a healthy dose of skepticism.
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on January 21, 2016
A timeless classic. Interesting story outside of book. I donated to Palm Beach Library (Florida) in mint condition.
After their review/consideration, it was felt the book DID NOT deserve a place in the system database for several branches.
Two months later the local newspaper interviewed Warren Buffett and asked what books he would recommend to the general pubic.
He mentioned two, one was 'Yachts'
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on August 22, 2016
First half of the book consists of a rather long series of forwards, followed by mostly dated information (and no trading advice that wouldn't be in modern writings as necesities, i.e. a basic overview of investor pshychology).

But the the second half of the book is entertaining and well worth the wait to get there. Schwed loosens up even more and starts simply giving his opinion on things, and his advice is still relevant a half a centry later. It's a 'classic, for just that reason.
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on September 26, 2013
This book is hands down the best book on investing ever written. If only I had headed the book's advice sooner I would have saved tens of thousands of dollars.
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on March 20, 2017
A primer. Buy this book before any stock purchase.
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on March 30, 2017
Good read and made me laugh!!
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on September 8, 2015
Dated, but various parts are funny. It views investing in an amusing light. Despite some simplified definitions, it helps to have some knowledge of the stock market. Those with no interest in investing will be bored.
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on December 9, 2002
Put down that ugly brokerage statement from the busted, dot-gone Bear market. Skip that news report of the latest bankruptcy filing and spend a couple of whimsical hours with author Fred Schwed, Jr. WHERE ARE THE CUSTOMERS' YACHTS? is a rejoinder to Wall Street's inflated self-confidence that begins with that classic question. Schwed's conversational style makes this a quick read. His style is 'wry', 'dead-pan', 'droll' - a bit of Andy Rooney, maybe a bit of 18th Century novelist Lawrence Sterne. Schwed looks back to the 1920's (published 1940, republished 1955) as "one of the great universal delusions of history" a period of "supreme miscalculation". It was a kind of grand "nonsense" we can relate to in our own post-internet bubble period. Schwed is more humorist than moralist. Misdoings on Wall Street are "overrated" often a mix of "bad luck and bad brains". Advisors are "romantics" who genuinely believe that the market's movements can be predicted. Often they become victims of their own "confused sincerity". Technical analysts are "pathetic", persuading themselves of predictive patterns in stock charts and statistical data. In the end market activity may repeat itself, but often "ponderously, with an infinite number of variations." Schwed takes the side of short sellers, an unpopular bunch who weigh against the general herd to profit when the market declines. He notes that such professional cynicism is never tolerated in an un-free society. Years before the Wall Street Journal began 'testing' the efficient market theory (EMT) selecting stocks with darts, Schwed relates the apocryphal story of a bank trust officer's relative success selecting stocks from his pen's random ink spots. In a timeless passage, Schwed summarizes his investment program: "When there is a stock-market boom, and everyone is scrambling for common stocks, take all your common stocks and sell them. Take the proceeds and buy conservative bonds...just wait for the depression...sell out the bonds...and buy back the stocks....Continue to repeat this operation as long as you live, and you'll have the pleasure of dying rich." Who can argue with a contrarian strategy that would have worked wonderfully in recent years.
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on March 22, 2000
Read this book before you invest a dime! The passage of sixty years hasn't changed the relevance of this book. The author's experiences as a stock broker lead him to speak of the things that everyone on Wall Street knows, but doesn't care to speak of. Such as that even the most exalted stock market analyst doesn't know which stocks will go up and which will go down.
He's really funny, too. I read this book all in one day, it zips right along.
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