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Investing: The Last Liberal Art [Paperback]

Mr. Robert G. Hagstrom
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 22 2002
Investing: The Last Liberal Art offers a unique picture of the investment world within the larger world. It aligns and explains how investment management works in the context of a number of seemingly unrelated disciplines including Biology, Economics, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, and Literature. This approach or latticework mode is the next logical step in helping investors understand how markets work and how to become a better investor. It also allows individuals to take additional less simplistic paths to view investing.

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An extended think piece on the subtle and sometimes imperceptible factors influencing markets sets this book apart from run-of-the-mill publications... -- Book of the Week, The Sunday Times, 19 May 2002

Hagstrom weaves a connection to six disciplines that provide diverse but uniformly important insights in the investment process... -- Financial Analysts Journal, March/April 2002

I read this book in one sitting: I could not put it down. -- Peter L. Bernstein, author of Against the Gods

a brisk and engaging read, and it is a pleasure to be in the presence of Hagstrom's agile mind -- International Herald Tribune, 20 April, 2002

About the Author

Robert G. Hagstrom is Senior Vice President and Director of Legg Mason Focus Capital. He has authored The New York Times bestsellers The Warren Buffett Way and The Warren Buffett Portfolio, as well as The NASCAR Way. He lives in Wayne, PA.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I have given the book 5 stars because in the very long run and the big scheme of things, the notions put forth will make you a significantly better person and thinker and as such the idea deserves to be understood.
The idea of attaining "worldly wisdom" is a huge goal and one can only benefit immensely by trying to attain it--a lifetime project.
This book is not for the average investor however (though they will benefit). It's for those who are already advanced in the investment game and want to achieve the extra edge.
This is also a book for those who would like to be more well rounded in their thinking; it will also appeal to the intellectuals.
This is not really a book about investing, as much as it is a book on how to think better--perhaps it needs to be retitled once more and placed in the self help book category on how to think better and to be a better person.
For those arm chair investors who want a more practical application of worldly wisdom, read Janet Lowe's book on Bill Miller "The man who beats the S&P". It was Miller's "worldly wisdom" attitude that lead to Hal Varian and Brian Arthur who introduced Miller to the notion of increasing returns which allowed Miller to think in a different way than the average investor about...Amazon.com.
The rewards of worldly wisdom are significant!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worldly Investment Wisdom April 28 2002
This may be Hagstrom's best book yet. It's jam-packed with investment wisdom. The approach to investing described in this book is one that is based on a working knowledge of a variety of disciplines that was pioneered by Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's brilliant partner at Berkshire Hathaway. Years ago, Munger developed what he termed "a lattice of mental models" that he used to create a powerful way to achieve superior investment results. According to Munger, investment decisions are more likely to be correct when ideas from other disciplines lead to the same conclusions. That is the topmost payoff-broader understanding makes us better investors.
How does one achieve worldly investment wisdom? Hagstrom believes that it is an ongoing process of acquiring the significant concepts-the models-from many areas of knowledge and then learning to recognize patterns of similarity among them. The first is a matter of educating yourself; the second is a matter of learning to think and see differently. Hagstrom notes that acquiring the knowledge of many disciplines may seem a daunting task. Fortunately, you don't have to become an expert in every field. You merely have to learn the fundamental principles-what Munger calls the big ideas-and learn them so well that they are always with you.
Hagstrom's book is intended as a starting point for this self-education process. He examines a specific discipline-physics, biology, social sciences, psychology, philosophy, and literature-from the perspective of its contribution to a latticework of models. Hagstrom does a great job of explaining the role of complexity theory in understanding financial markets and the evolving global economy.
After you read Hagstrom's book, you will be on your way to achieving worldly investment wisdom.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware June 25 2002
I read a book entitled "latticework" by the same author and I ordered this title thinking it would be a continuation of the subject. Unfortunately it is the same book with the different title. I am a little ticked because it was not obvious when I submitted my order
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