- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: HarperBusiness; Reprint edition (Oct. 12 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060564148
- ISBN-13: 978-0060564148
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 875 g
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #220,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Bull!: A History of the Boom and Bust, 1982-2004 Paperback – Oct 12 2004
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“Bull!! also offers individual investors prescriptive data on how to position oneself for the next bull-market cycle.” (International Herald Tribune)
The other question on which Mahar is very interesting is the behavior of Greenspan . . the best account I’ve seen. (UPI)
“Mahar takes complicated topics and explains them clearly for the average reader. Her exceptional book is most highly recommended.” (Library Journal)
“Mahar imparts a forward-looking and worrisome lesson that makes Bull! intriguing reading.” (Boston Globe)
“Highly readable and insightful... makes a devastating case against the contention that the market is almost perfectly efficient.” (New York Times)
“Striking...has a lot of the writing pizzazz lacking in ‘Origins of the Crash’” (New York Times Book Review)
About the Author
Maggie Mahar is the author of Bull! A History of the Boom and Bust, 1982–2004, a book Paul Krugman of the New York Times said "makes a devastating case against the contention that the market is almost perfectly efficient." In his 2003 annual report, Warren Buffett recommended Bull! to Berkshire Hathaway's investors. Before becoming a financial journalist in 1982, when she began to write for Money magazine, Institutional Investor, the New York Times, Bloomberg, and Barron's, Mahar was an English professor at Yale University. She lives in New York City.
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On the positive side, "Bull" offers some funny vingettes, including a CLASSIC--almost fable like--story about how the "Last Bear is Gored." Ms. Mahar recounts how Louis Rukeyser, host of America's most popular financial show, fired market analyst Gail Dudak from his program at the very height of the bull market in 1999. The reason: she was the only market analyst left on his program who perisistently predicted lower stock prices ahead. This woman should have been given a raise for her brains! This vingette is a powerful reminder that journalists like Mr. Rukeyser are not to be confused with skilled money managers, and one should be weary of following the advice of ANYONE except those, who like W.E. Buffett, have made lot of money in an honest way in several different market environments over years and years and years (these people do exist!). As Ms. Mahar points out, the media (and analysts at the big brokerage companies!) had and have almost no incentive to report independently derived market analysis.
However, I believe at times Ms. Mahar goes too far in blaming the media for financial events over the past 12 years. For example, she belabors the failure of CNBC journalist Mark Haines, who I think overall is one of the better financial journalists, for failing to uncover the scandalous nature of ENRON's books while he was interviewing the CEO. Despite this failure, which several money managers who had millions invested in ENRON also made, I think Mr. Haines was appropriately critical of events that transpired during his tenure at CNBC.
Maggie Mahar has done a service to these investors by showing how little evidence there is to support these maxims or, at the least, how easily they can be distorted. She does this by revisiting the last boom and showing it in historical perspective.
Contrary to the conventional wisdom that most index funds will grow 10% annually so long as they are held around ten years, Mahar shows that the U.S. stock market - upon which most index funds closely track - has gone through several periods nearly twenty years long with little to no annual growth.
Contrary to the conventional wisdom that you can't time the market, Mahar says that most savvy investors - including buy-and-hold strategists such as Warren Buffett - do time their investments, and feel no compunction about getting out of a severely over-inflated market.
Mahar's history is also instructive in showing how industry leaders and government officials were complicit in allowing shoddy accounting and other questionable practices to contribute to the breakneck market. Rather than a rational market in which everyone can expect to be a winner given enough time (seven to ten years), "Bull" shows that investors must still exercise caution even when following the few simple investing guidelines that most people do not question.
Maggie Mahar, a financial journalist since 1982, writes a coherent study of how the bull market came to be, what fueled it, and what can investors do now. It is up-to-date book and truly enlightening. Much of the material has been covered in financial journals and newspapers but never in such a concise manner; and you'll soon discover many surprises that you probably didn't know about the bull market.
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