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Random Walk Down Wall Street, A Paperback – Dec 20 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton; 10th Revised edition edition (Dec 20 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393340740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393340747
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.3 x 2.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #26,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

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 alternate Paperback edition.

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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

4.1 out of 5 stars

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Craig S. Shoemake on May 2 2001
Format: Paperback
I definitely recommend this book. All investors should understand the Efficient Market Theory and know what it presumably implies. Oddly enough though, I do not subscribe to the theory. The reason most fund managers fail to beat passive indexes is simply because of 1)fees, 2)not adhering to a rational investment approach, 3)buying what everyone else is buying (which goes with #2). The simple fact is that inefficiences in the market, due to the short term emotional whims of investors, DO create buying opportunities, and the records of people like Lynch, Buffett, Graham, Neff, Miller and others is proof of this. Malkiel writes off these exceptions to his theory as luck. What is interesting though is that no successful stock picker ever subscribed to EMT and no EMT adherent has ever been a successful stock picker. A theory that can only explain its violations by saying it was chance is a very weak theory. Read this book, but don't be fooled by it. Read lots of other books by Lynch, Neff, books on Buffett, John Train, etc. These will be a good balance. Lastly, remember Malkiel is an academician, not a practitioner. His ivory tower perspective is hardly the last word on the subject. I would especially recommend reading the letters of Buffett to Berkshire Hathaway stock holders. Buffett in effect says to the Efficient Market theorists: "If you're so smart, how come I'm so rich?"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ron A Rhoades on March 22 2001
Format: Paperback
As we are experiencing the bursting of another stock market bubble (the dot-com craze), Burton Malkiel's insights - first expressed in the first edition nearly 30 years ago - remain as pertinent as ever. Want to know why "reversion to the mean" is inevitable? Read Malkiel's descriptions of "The Tulip Bulb Craze", The "New Era" of the 1960's, and his insights into the dot-com craze (published before the 2000-2001 sell-off).
Burton Malkiel correctly states that stock markets are not always rational, but that markets do over time correct themselves. He successfully presents a rational case that true value is eventually recognized by the market and this is "the lesson that investors must heed."
This book explores in more detail than many others the underpinnings of efficient market theory and its implications for the individual investors. Should you have any doubts about the value of adopting a long-term strategy of matching, and not attempting to beat, the market, then you should read this book.
In terms of practical application to actual investment decisions, the text not only sets forth efficient market theory but also concludes with some insightful observations about low-cost stock index funds and, if you must, how to play the game of choosing individual stocks.
There will be a few people who have beat the market, and will beat the market in the future. As Malkiel notes, statistics tell us that a very few individuals and investment managers will randomly beat the market over a ten year period. But this is part of the randomness, not the counter to the underlying theory.
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Format: Paperback
I wish I had read this book sooner. If you are considering investment in anything other than a broadly diversified index fund and holding it for the long term through the inevitable downturns then you would be well advised to read this book.
Put simply, Malkiel's argument is that buying and holding an index fund is the easiest way for the average joe to make money in the market if they are willing to hold on tight during the market dips. He does not discourage the outright purchase of individual securities as well as other more risky financial instruments, but he does demonstrate that the odds are stacked against you for long term success in such endeavors when all the pitfalls are considered (i.e. capital gains taxes, brokerage commissions, the utter folly in trying to time your buys/sells, your ability to sleep soundly, etc.).
I would also point out that the book is not without it's more technical sections. Much of it involves some minor mathematical examples. Nothing beyond the level of high school algebra and statistics, but if you are not enthralled with such a prospect then you might look for something more fuzzy such as The Motley Fool Investment Guide by the Brothers Gardner or One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch. Both of these works also herald the index fund while offering suggestions for individual stock picking strategies for the more daring/foolish/Foolish among us.
Overall you may find this book to be iconoclastic in it's approach to the Wall Street Wise. Remember that the majority of mutual funds have underperformed the market averages over the long term - food for thought.
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By Abe Green on March 4 2001
Format: Hardcover
Some reviewers have said that Malkiel failed to prove that the market moves in a random fashion. If so, how can one account for the 2/3 failure rate of mutual funds to beat the market? If business acumen and financial savvy were enough, why are there no mutual funds with a consistent history of beating the market? The answer is simple: present performance does not predict future returns. You should have learned this the first day of business school. Malkiel only wants people to get used to this fact, and acknowledge that anything other than a buy and hold strategy for stocks is *exactly like* playing a slot machine. Want to understand stock trends? Flip a coin one hundred times. Every time you get two or more heads in a row, you have a "trend." Heck, every time you get a head-tail-head-tail sequence you have a trend. Malkiel suggests that stock analysts waste their time and your money trying to explain such "trends" and advising you on purchases. It seems unbelievable, but 30 years of the best research in the world confirms this theory to the core. Unfortunately, the book advises you only on stocks and a few other options, not commodities, currencies, etc. But, if you like gambling, avoid this book and save your money for the analysts.
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