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Customer Review

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, inspiring, a new way to look for great stock picks!, October 11, 2011
This review is from: Laughing at Wall Street: How I Beat the Pros at Investing (by Reading Tabloids, Shopping at the Mall, and Connecting on Facebook) and How You Can, Too (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a Vine reviewer, I received an advanced pre-sales/uncorrected proof of this book to review, so some of my comments are directed to improving the book, but at the same time letting you know my overall impressions.

I rarely give 5-stars for books unless it simply blows me away and appeals to me in every sense. This book is 4-stars for its ingenuity, down-to-earth explanations/good use of analogies, and captivating narration.

The author narrates how he amassed ~$2M in three years, not by studying technical indicators or financial fundamentals or having an MBA or going to an Ivy League school, but by reading tabloids/watching tv, shopping, and making use of social networks online.

Essentially, he describes how he uses the concept of 'Information Arbitrage' to decide which stocks to research and potentially invest in.

The author's explanations are excellent and simple to understand. For example, he uses the analogy of pretending that your family is a publicly traded company and goes on to explain the side effects of known and unforseen events. When you are able to associate to something, it really helps to understand more technical concepts.

Also, he provides examples we can all relate to (like seeing Avatar in 3D at IMax or all those people in UGG boots) and how their respective stock prices soared and why. The book is inspiring because you and I were witness to the same things, yet we didn't see them as investment opportunities. In my own personal experience, many members of my family wanted a Keurig machine and coffee packets around Christmas-time and I had heard others talk about it. WELL, only much later did I find out how much Keurig stock had soared. If I had read this book last year, I would probably have profitted on Keurig, amongst many other "in-your-face" examples we see everyday.

The author uses a very thorough example of crazy Christmas shopping volume at Coach stores during the recent recession. While reading this, I pondered what the outcome would be in my head, yet I was proved wrong, however, it reinforced what the author is describing on validating your research and hypotheses in real-life scenarios - things that your standard Pro on Wall Street likely does not do. (ie. Does the average Wall Street Pro talk to Coach employees or shoppers before adding that stock to their mutual funds? Definitely not...This is one of many great validating points the author makes against current Wall Street Pro mentality.)

Overall, the concepts are quite convincing and definitely inspiring; I think back to recent events and I see how having the 'investor glasses' the book preaches about would have been quite profitable for me.....if I had only read the book earlier.

Minor areas for improvement:
1. Though this is an easy read and I only read it once, the timeline gets a little confusing. The back of the book talks about turning $20k into $2 million, but it talks about him being a 35-year old retiree with $130k in his old company 401K, the day he told his boss that he was going to quit. So did he only start with $20k or did he start with $130k ?

Furthermore, at the end of the book, he talks about how he did all this by only starting with $300 and tripling it in 7 days...well in the beginning of the book, he mentions starting with $300 and tripling it in only a few days, but later it talks about how he doubled his first stock pick to $1k total.

So now, did he start with $300 or $500 (doubling it to make $1k) or did he start with $20k or $130k?? << A very nit-picky observation, but it dilutes the credibility of what he is saying slightly.

2. Related to the above, most of us read the back cover of the book to see what the book offers. As a pet peeve of mine - if there is a bulleted list, then your book should cover it and not create any feeling of being misled. The carefully worded bullet item "How $1000 invested consecutively in Uggs, True Religion jeans, and Crocs over 5 years grew to $750k" Well the truth to that is, it has nothing to do with his book, nor is he saying *HE* achieved that, he is just saying..had you done would have $750k in 5 years. So if it not an achievement of his then it should NOT be one of four bullet items summarizing his book. That bullet item is re-described in the book in 1 sentence Anyone could say, in hindsight, yea, if I had bought Avis or Ford when they both dipped under $2 only 3 years ago, I would have 15x that today and if I then put that money into Apple, I would then have xx... (see what I mean?).

3. At the very end of the book is a chapter called "Success Stories" which is slightly misleading - yes, they are success stories, but not success stories as a result of this book. Typically when you read 'Success Stories' for example, it is usually a bunch of testimonials by people who listened to Dave Ramsey and are now debt free by following his actual concepts that he lectures. The last chapter is really examples of others that beat Wall Street Pros with their own form of 'investor glasses' not because of the Author's preaching that led to their success... It 'feels' like the book is portraying their success as an effect of the book.

4. And lastly, towards the end there are two chapters on buying/selling stock and options. I feel the book loses part of its identity when you reach those two chapters. Is this a book for beginners who have never dabbled in the market and don't even know what buying or selling stocks are? this a narrative of how an amateur investor like you and I beat Wall Street and describes how to have 'investor glasses' and presents a thorough explanation of 'information arbitrage' and how to apply it? This book needs to establish a clear audience by answering --- Who's going to pick this book up?

I think the type of person that picks this book up has already dabbled in the market and became frustrated and is overwhelmed by all of the books talking about candlesticks, technical indicators, fibonacci ratios, financial fundamentals, EPS, P/E, written by seasoned pros with MBAs from Harvard. The people that pick this book up are well beyond needing chapters that describe what buying a stock is and understanding option calls and puts (which I don't think can be adequately covered in 1 chapter) - they are looking for some fresh ideas and new ways of thinking that this book offers.

A healthy 4-star book with some interesting new insights and perspectives on how to pick, research, and verify great stock potential.
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