Here are my top 10 titles to pack for the holidays
by Tom Stevenson
by Tom Stevenson
Packing books to read on holiday can be a triumph of hope over experience. One day I'll get round to War and Peace and Ulysses but I won't be surprised if, this year, my determination falls victim once again to sun, sea and Sancerre.
The one thing I don't expect to be reading about this summer, however, is a super soaraway stock market, so I anticipate a good opportunity to sit back and do some big-picture investment reading. Here are 10 titles, you might consider slipping into your case.
They are new publications I've enjoyed this year, ones I've returned to with pleasure or, in one case, look forward to reading myself.
Tomorrow's Gold, 2nd edition (CLSA Books) is a fantastic book about change and opportunity. Faber is a Hong Kong-based investment adviser, a contrarian with a remarkable track record - he warned clients to cash out ahead of the 1987 crash, forecast the bursting of the Japanese bubble and three years ago, when he wrote this prescient book, predicted a boom in emerging market stocks and commodities.
Faber paints a picture of a world experiencing a transformation as dramatic as Europe's late 15th century age of discovery and the industrial revolution of the 19th century. Most importantly he discusses how to profit from the rise of Asia and the commodities supercycle.
Taming the Lion Taming the Lion by Richard Farleigh (Harriman House) at some length last November. To find that review, go to www.telegraph.co.uk and put the words Stevenson and Farleigh into the search box.
Freakonomics Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (Penguin) is real holiday reading, on the US bestseller list for more than a year, with a million sales and counting. It's an accomplished attempt to rid economics of its dreary image by taking a quirky, sideways look at what's really happening under the surface of the world around us.
In its most controversial claim, it explains a collapse in American violent crime in the mid-1990s not by reference to a booming economy (the conventional wisdom) but to the landmark Roe vs Wade abortion case in the Supreme Court twenty years earlier in the 1970s.
Violent crime fell, the authors claim, because a generation earlier fewer violent criminals were born. There are good sections about estate agents and cheating teachers.
Investor's Guide to Charting The Investors Guide to Charting by Alistair Blair (FT Prentice Hall) is an unlikely addition to anyone's Top Ten. But I like this book a lot because it is Technical Analysis written for non-specialists by a sceptical writer with an open mind.
Blair understands that charting can be a useful investment tool and nonsensical mumbo-jumbo at the same time and that makes it a much better read for the rest of us. So much in this arcane field is written by people who need to get out more and, although this was written 10 years ago, it's the best introduction I've seen.
The Bumper Book of Government Waste The Investors Guide to Charting by Alistair Blair (FT Prentice Hall) is an unlikely addition to anyone's Top Ten. But I like this book a lot because it is Technical Analysis written for non-specialists by a sceptical writer with an open mind.
Anatomy of the Bear is another fine investment book from CLSA Books, the publishing arm of the Hong-Kong based stock broker. I'm a sucker for "big sweep of history" kind of books so this analysis of the giant cycles that have driven markets over the past hundred years and more is right up my street.
Its fundamental conclusion is that the bear market that was triggered by the dot.com burst in 2000 has years still to run, possibly until 2014. Food for thought for anyone concerned that the 2003-2006 rally has run out of steam.
Both books, separated by ten years and a growth stock boom and bust, bang the Value Investing drum. They do so with conviction because they are based on exhaustive (and I mean exhaustive) research into the inverse relationship between valuation and share price performance.
Fooled by Randomness (Thomson Texere), which has been described as "the perfect antidote to the hundreds of titles that will be published this year promising unbeatable [investment] strategies". Taleb's sub-title - The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets - sounds intriguing.
The Affluent Society (my copy Pelican, 5 shillings, but it's been re-issued), which opens with the restrained elegance of: "Wealth is not without its advantages and the case to the contrary, although it has often been made, has never proved widely persuasive." They don't write them like that any more.