Where Are the Customers' Yachts?: or A Good Hard Look at Wall Street Paperback – Jan 10 2006
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"More than half a century on, Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? Remains a fascinating read" (Money Week, July 2006)
“..the book is a fun read and as relevant today as it ever was” (Investor's Chronicle, August 2015)
From the Back Cover
"Once I picked it up I did not put it down until I finished. . . . What Schwed has done is capture fullyin deceptively clean languagethe lunacy at the heart of the investment business."
From the Foreword by Michael Lewis, Bestselling author of Liar's Poker
". . . one of the funniest books ever written about Wall Street."
Jane Bryant Quinn, The Washington Post
"How great to have a reissue of a hilarious classic that proves the more things change the more they stay the same. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent."
"It's amazing how well Schwed's book is holding up after fifty-five years. About the only thing that's changed on Wall Street is that computers have replaced pencils and graph paper. Otherwise, the basics are the same. The investor's need to believe somebody is matched by the financial advisor's need to make a nice living. If one of them has to be disappointed, it's bound to be the former."
John Rothchild, Author, A Fool and His Money, Financial Columnist, Time magazine
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Top Customer Reviews
"The chief concern of this book", he states, "will be with an examination of the nonsense ... ." One example is this excerpt from a paragraph he takes out of The Wall Street Journal: "the action of the market was regarded as in the nature of a technical recovery, with little thought of the imminence of dynamic action." Nonsense was apparently well articulated before the bull market of the '90s. Another example is his explanation of why people buy high and sell low when they go to the stock market. They mistakenly believe that once prices are rising (or falling), they'll continue to rise (or fall). "But it is not a fair thing to say of the stock market," he claims,"which, not being a physical thing, is not subject to Newton's laws of propulsion or inertia."
There's more than "an examination of the nonsense" here. Readers may take "A Little Aptitude Test" to see if finance is their calling and consider "A Little Wonderful Advice" on getting rich. If Schwed's advice doesn't make you rich, his hilarious insight will at least make you laugh.
As the other reviewers note, Schwed worked as a broker in the early 1920's. He then wrote this book -- the "Liar's Poker" of its time -- in the 1940's, with the wry perspective that only a crash and ten years of stagnation can bring. Ancient history? Au contraire. What makes this book such a must-read is two things.
First, the things that firms and brokers do to separate customers from their money haven't really changed. Touting low quality underwritings, cramming unwanted inventory down customers' throats at inflated prices, using fancy phrases to flog dogs were as prevalent then as now.
But this is not a one-sided bashing of the Street and its techniques. Schwed gives equal time to customers' susceptability, even eagerness, to play their part in the game. Schwed's fundamental point is that people -- clients and brokers alike -- are forever led astray by their wanting to earn outsized returns without having to take any risk.
But the thing that really sets the book apart is Schwed's lucid yet highly entertaining style. You'll walk away with fresh insights into industry practices and market structures that you can apply to today's events. And even when you realize the target is you -- the ever-hopeful investor -- you'll be laughing so hard you won't mind.
If you even mildly liked Liar's Poker, you'll love "Yachts."
His writing style is so nimble, so comic, that you can't help reading this book from cover to cover in a single sitting. You've got to read it, just for his description of the (...) world of short selling and analyst reports. It's old fashioned prose of the very best kind. No bizno-speak or MBA twaddle. Just colourful characters and lots of laughs.
Schwed may have been a broker, but everyone is a target. Clients... rarely do their homework and are always impressed by analysts/sales telling them what will happen. One pitiful tale involves a client asked for $500 margin in a falling market. He runs around all day raising funds to try and head off the deadline. But in the end he comes up short by 15 dollars - after paying the broker 485...
Where are the customers' yachts is a fabulous book. Schwed has managed to heap ridicule on everyone and yet spell out, very clearly, why the only winners are the bankers and the brokers.
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent book ! even if it was written in the 1940's it still remains fresh and accurate.Published 15 months ago by sylvain
Well, maybe this was a 2 star book, but to me it was hopeless from the start. "Fred Schwed", a jokester of a name to begin with talks about Wall St just as naively as anyone who... Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2003 by Scott D. Carl
If you think reading Investment books is a rather dry and serious affair, then you'll be pleasantly surprised by this one. Read morePublished on Nov. 27 2002 by kfer
A friend of mine gave me this book to read to help me understand a bit about why the economy is in the dumps and why all my investments are in the toilet. Read morePublished on Nov. 22 2002
although written in the 1940's this tells you many of the difficulties of investing today. His comparison of investing and speculating to love and passion is a classic explanation... Read morePublished on Nov. 21 2002 by Steven R. Becker
While you are wondering what to do with your money after the 2001/2002 stock market crash, Fred has some ideas...mostly how about cash? Read morePublished on Aug. 15 2002 by G. Powell
Financial advisors, pundits and prognosticators abound, though not as much now that the bubble has burst. "Where Are All The Customers' Yachts? Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2001 by Adam F. Jewell