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Random Walk Down Wall Street, A [Paperback]

Burton G Malkiel
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 20 2011
Especially in the wake of the financial meltdown, readers will welcome Burton G. Malkiel's reassuring, authoritative, gimmick-free and perennially best-selling guide to investing. Long established as the first book to purchase before starting a portfolio, A Random Walk Down Wall Street features new material on the Great Recession and the global credit crisis as well as an increased focus on the long-term potential of emerging markets. Malkiel also evaluates the full range of investment opportunities in today's volatile markets, from stocks, bonds and money markets to real estate investment trusts and insurance, home ownership, and tangible assets such as gold and collectibles. These comprehensive insights, along with the book's classic life-cycle guide to investing, chart a course for anyone seeking a calm route through the turbulent waters of the financial markets.

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Random Walk Down Wall Street, A + The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing + One Up On Wall Street: How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money In The Market
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It's unlikely that you'll spot many dog-eared copies of A Random Walk floating amongst the Wall Street set (although bookshelves at home may prove otherwise). After all, a "random walk"--in market terms--suggests that a "blindfolded monkey" would have as much luck selecting a portfolio as a pro. But Burton Malkiel's classic investment book is anything but random. Since stock prices cannot be predicted in the short term, argues Malkiel, individual investors are better off buying and holding onto index funds than meddling with securities or actively managing mutual funds. Not only will a broad range of index funds outperform a professionally managed portfolio in the long run, but investors can avoid expense charges and trading costs, which decrease returns.

First published in 1973, this seventh printing of a A Random Walk looks forward and does so broadly, examining a new range of investment choices facing the turn-of-the-century investor: money-market accounts, tax-exempt funds, Roth IRAs, and equity REITs, as well as the potential benefits and pitfalls of the emerging global economy. In his updated "life-cycle guide to investing," Malkiel offers age-related investment strategies that consider one's capacity for risk. (A 30-year-old who can depend on wages to offset investment losses has a different risk capacity from a 60-year-old.) In his assessment of rocketing Internet stocks, Malkiel defends his "random" position well, explaining how "the market eventually corrects any irrationality--albeit in its own slow, inexorable fashion. Anomalies can crop up, markets can get irrationally optimistic, and often they attract unwary investors. But eventually, true value is recognized by the market, and this is the main lesson investors must heed." Written for the financial layperson but bolstered by 30 years of research, A Random Walk will help individual investors take charge of their financial future. Recommended. --Rob McDonald --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Latest edition of Princeton professor Malkiel's bestselling investment guide.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
In this book I will take you on a random walk down Wall Street, providing a guided tour of the complex world of finance and practical advice on investment opportunities and strategies. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Markets are NOT random. June 3 2001
By A Customer
While I agree that a person cannot predict tomorrow's prices based on today's prices, I do not believe prices are random. A random walk implies (that the market's price displays) no discernable pattern of travel. The size and direction of the next step cannot be predicted from the size and direction of the last or even from all previous steps. The serial correlation is (functionally) zero.
Every market is an auction market, either passive or active. In a passive auction, the individual does not take part in an active negotiating process but selects from products offered at different prices, which make up the range. In an active auction, participants negotiate the range. Whether the auction is passive or active, all markets auction or "trend" up and down in order to fulfill their purpose, to facilitate trade. In an auction, prices _do not_ develop randomly, but rather to fulfill the purpose of the auction.
The purpose of any market is to facilitate trade. Lack of trade facilitation inevitably causes price to move. This price movement behavior is as true in the organized markets as it is in a grocery store or any other everyday market. Thus, price changes to satisfy the condition of the market and every price is a result of the condition of the market. The fact that price moves for a specific reason further precludes price from developing in a _random manner_.
Furthermore, prices are not statistically independent of each other. Price, in moving to satisfy the condition of the market, provides an informational flow. In other words, markets must generate trade, and in doing so, prices fluctuate, generating information about where trade is being conducted and where it is not. This information is valuable to the market participant.
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2.0 out of 5 stars ... out dated but the idea of index fund is good July 7 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Little bit too old and out dated but the idea of index fund is good
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lesson in basic logic Feb. 13 2003
This book is about a paradox. The paradox is this: if everyone knows about a "good buy" and they all rush in to buy, the price of the "good buy" will rise until it is no longer a good buy.
This paradox is the basic idea behind the Efficient Market Theory which says the market is so efficient, no information can be used to predict the market. And since nothing can be used to predict the market, the behavior of the market is that of a random-walk that cannot be predicted.
But hold on. You may be asking why you can't be one of those people rushing in to buy while it is still a "good buy"? Well, according to the book, more than two-thirds of professional portfolio managers have tried and got their butts kicked by the S&P 500 over a twenty-five year period.
This book definitely leans toward a conservative approach but offers all options, objectively. Malkiel does not fully believe in an efficient market. He believes in somewhere in between just as Warren Buffet. That is, the market does not always behave rationally or efficiently and it is precisely these times an intelligent investor can reap big rewards. He can't fully believe in an efficent market or the Random-Walk Theory. The studies mentioned above made it clear that one-third of the portfolio managers do beat the market. And then there is the legendary Warren Buffet who has consistently beat the market. The only difference between Malkiel and Buffet is attitude. Where as Buffet believes he can find those inefficiencies in the market and profit from them, Malkiel believes it is very rare and not worth the effort. So the former sees the bottle half-full and the latter sees it half-empty. How you invest depends on what type of person you are.
Let's look at the choices.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Colossal waste of time..... June 30 2013
This book must be the worst investment book I have ever read.... I have read hundreds. For me to take the time to write this review, it's got to be really, really, really, bad. There is zero academic value to this book as it is filled with inaccuracies, popular misconceptions, personal bias, fabricated evidence to prove his points, as the author mocks every investment theory and practice that does not reflect his own personal beliefs. For example, he ridicules Technical Analysis using "made up" charts to prove how the technique does not work? Is he serious? Can't take 5 minute to find a real chart on a real stock? He often shows his total ignorance on various topics and relies on his personal prejudice to explain his views. The bulk of the book consists of this ludicrous material... and at the end we get some common place advice. Just not worth the read to get there.

There are way better books out there... this is just too personal to be of use to any serious investor.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Longer but not as good as the last edition Feb. 13 2000
Forget this version. Instead, go to the library and check out the 1996 version, which at least discusses 'pork bellies' (derrivatives and option trading), if too little. Instead of taking the cue from the collapse (10/98) of Long Term Capital Management and producing something new and more interesting, Malkiel keeps on giving us warmed over versions of the same old EMH (efficient market hypothesis), which many researchers by now know is wrong (Fisher Black & Co. knew it in the eighties). Malkiel's beloved 'back of the envelope' calculation showing large how stock price changes can be caused by small interest rate changes is also irrelevant, because it assumes that dividends determine stock prices, and everyone in the market knows that dividends haven't mattered in the last ten years, at least. The 1996 edition (3 stars) is informative. There, you can learn what beta is, and the example discussed of using covered calls as a conservative strategy is also nice.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great buy
Published 8 days ago by Deepinder Bhattal
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent primer
The book focuses on the efficient market theory. Whether or not you agree with the theory, this book provides a great deal of background on overall investing. Read more
Published on July 28 2003 by K. John
5.0 out of 5 stars Intermediate level Theory for the savy Investor or beginner
As a 25 yr old newbie with no investment experience and money not yet in the stock market, Malkiel does a great comprehensive job of laying out the theories which drive the market... Read more
Published on July 22 2003 by S. J. Romero
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive tome on the "Chicago School"
This is the definitive tome on the "Random Walk" theory of economics - that you can't base tomorrow's price of stock based on it's historical price. Read more
Published on June 10 2003 by therosen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, interesting book
I read this for my finance class at Cornell University and I can definitely say that it was a perfect introduction to many topics in finance, especially mutual funds and the all... Read more
Published on May 25 2003 by Brian S
5.0 out of 5 stars classic title, but applicable in today's investing world
Dr. Malkiel's thesis concerning market's unpredictability and how to invest smartly probably stepped on one too many toes in the world of professional money managers and planners. Read more
Published on May 25 2003 by P. Ma
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended to me, and I would recommend it to you.
A very good book. Get for yourself and give it a read. Most of the negative comments, about the book, are charged with emotions. Read more
Published on April 21 2003 by Montezuma
1.0 out of 5 stars RANDOM SAYS IT ALL
The WORST "investing" book ever written. Random Stupidity.
Published on Feb. 15 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy that index fund
According to the book and based on studies over a twenty-five year period, more than two-thirds of professionally-managed stock funds were outperformed by an unmanaged S&P500... Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2003 by dasn0wman
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful Book
After reading some of the "most helpful" reviews here, I decided to write my own.
When it comes to money, we all get emotionally involved, and it seems to me that many of the... Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2003
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