Category Archives: Book Reviews

Review of Finance Books for Business School Students

Introducing a couple of good books for business school students whose major is finance and investment.

Technical Analysis

Candlestick Patterns

Japanese Candlestick Charting Techniques, 2nd Edition, provides an in-depth explanation of candlestick plotting and analysis, conveying to the reader, in easy-to-understand language, the author’s years of practical experience in this increasingly popular and dynamic approach to market analysis. It includes hundreds of examples that span the equity, futures, fixed-income, and foreign exchange markets and shows how candlestick charting techniques can be used in almost any market.

Quote from the first edition of “Japanese Candlestick Charting Techniques”: “It’s hard to be too effusive about the quality of Nison’s work. This is clearly one of the best investment books ever written.”Bruce Babcock, Jr., Editor-in-Chief, “Commodity Traders Consumers Report”

Japanese candlesticks are one of the most important technical tools used in the market. Candlestick Charting Explained demonstrates how candlestick charts can be used to identify and anticipate price patterns in the financial and commodity markets. A comprehensive and authoritative overview, Candlestick Charting Explained describes how to combine candlestick charts with other technical tools to identify profitable trades. Clearly written and illustrated, this is a superb book for any trader who wants to master this powerful trading system.

Economics and Markets

The Alchemy of Finance by George Soros. This is the master piece of George Soros, because it describes Soros’ investment theory comprehensively. Even though this book is a little dry due to lack of humor, it’s still a must-read for people who would learn first-hand experience from “master of speculation”.

Editorial Review From Amazon: New chapter by Soros on the secrets to his success along with a new Preface and Introduction.
New Foreword by renowned economist Paul Volcker
“An extraordinary . . . inside look into the decision-making process of the most successful money manager of our time. Fantastic.” -The Wall Street Journal

Soros on Soros – Staying Ahead of the Curve by George Soros. This is an easier read than The Alchemy of Finance, as it is a collection of transcripts of interviews where Soros expressed opinions on investment, economy, currency and on his own personal life. So it’s a more lively, less theoretical and less deep than The Alchemy of Finance.

From Booklist
Investment wizard, speculator extraordinaire, and magnanimous philanthropist, Soros is the less-than-cooperative subject of Time reporter Robert Slater’s nonetheless admiring portrait Soros: The Life, Times, and Trading Secrets of the World’s Greatest Investor, also due this fall. Unwilling to talk to Slater, Soros perhaps wanted to tell his own story. He does so here in the form of two extended interviews, with questions softly lobbed by German journalist Krisztina Koenen and Soros’ friend and Morgan Stanley investment strategist Byron Wien. With Wien, Soros talks about his personal background, his career, and his philosophy of making and spending money. Koenen and Soros discuss his political views and his philanthropy, which are guided by Hungarian-born Soros’ desire to bring stability to eastern Europe and by his belief in the concept of the open society. Because Soros has heretofore limited the media’s access to him, his discussions here, controlled though they are, will help remove some of the mystery. David Rouse –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Option and Derivatives

Options, Futures and Other Derivatives by John C. Hull. Editorial Review from Amazon: KEY BENEFIT: Updated and revised to reflect the most current information, this introduction to futures and options markets is ideal for those with a limited background in mathematics.

KEY TOPICS: Based on Hull’s Options, Futures and Other Derivatives, one of the best-selling books on Wall Street, this book presents an accessible overview of the topic without the use of calculus. Packed with numerical samples and accounts of real-life situations, the Fifth Edition effectively guides readers through the material while providing them with a host of tangible examples.

Option Volatility & Pricing by Sheldon Natenberg, editorial review from Amazon: One of the most widely read books among active option traders around the world, Option Volatility & Pricing has been completely updated to reflect the most current developments and trends in option products and trading strategies.

Written in a clear, easy-to-understand fashion, Option Volatility & Pricing points out the key concepts essential to successful trading. Drawing on his experience as a professional trader, author Sheldon Natenberg examines both the theory and reality of option trading. He presents the foundations of option theory explaining how this theory can be used to identify and exploit trading opportunities. Option Volatility & Pricing teaches you to use a wide variety of trading strategies and shows you how to select the strategy that best fits your view of market conditions and individual risk tolerance.

Options As A Strategic Investment by Lawrence Mcmillan. Editorial Review from Amazon: Reflecting today’s market realities and the new innovative options products available, this fourth edition features an in-depth analysis of volatility and volatility trading; updated information on all stock option strategies, reflecting recent market conditions; buy and sell strategies for Long Term Equity Anticipation Securities (LEAPs); detailed guidance for investing in the growing field of structured products; the latest developments in futures and futures options; and the market impact of the most recent changes in the margin rules. Packed with graphs and charts to clarify profit and loss potential, margin requirements, and criteria for selection of a position, this classic remains an indispensable resource for investors determined to master the world of options–and profit.

Financial Modeling Using Excel and VBA, a good introductory book. Editorial Review from Amazon: Comprehensive instruction on developing real-world financial models
This book, designed for self-study, classroom use, and reference, presents a com-prehensive approach to developing simple to sophisticated financial models in all major areas of finance. The approach is based on the author’s 20 years of experience of developing such models in the business world and teaching a popular MBA class in financial modeling. The book assumes only basic knowledge of Excel and teaches all advanced features of Excel and VBA from scratch using a unique simple method. A companion CD includes all working versions of all the models presented in the book and additional useful reference material.

PE, VC and IB

Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham. Editorial Review from Amazon:

The timeless edition of Security Analysis that most closely reflects today’s financial environment

Graham and Dodd’s Security Analysis is hands-down the most influential investment book in history. The classic 1951 edition is the first edition of the bestselling investment bible that was written during a time of economic stability and prosperity. It provides investors with techniques and strategies for profitable investing in an economic environment that most resembles today.

Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies, Fourth Edition by McKinsey & Company Inc., Tim Koller, Marc Goedhart, and David Wessels. Editorial Review from Amazon: Hailed by financial professionals worldwide as the single best guide of its kind, Valuation, Fourth Edition with CD-ROM combines is thoroughly revised and expanded to reflect business conditions in today’s volatile global economy. Valuation provides up-to-date insights and practical advice on how to create, manage, and measure an organization’s value. Along with all-new case studies that illustrate how valuation techniques and principles are applied in real-world situations, this comprehensive guide has been updated to reflect the events of the Internet bubble and its effect on stock markets, new developments in academic finance, changes in accounting rules (both U. S. and IFRS), and an enhanced global perspective. This package contains a solid framework that managers at all levels, investors, and students have come to trust.

Advanced Quant Books

Asset Pricing: (Revised) by John. H. Cochrane. Editorial Reviews: Wayne Ferson, The Review of Financial Studies
This is a sparkling, intuitive, makes-it-look-easier-than-it-really-is, gem of a book. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Journal of Economic Literature : This is a brilliant and useful book, well-deserving of the TIAA-CREF Samuelson Award. . . . The clever intuition and informal writing style make it a joy to read. Like a star athlete does with the sport, Cochrane makes it look easier than it really is.

Financial Calculus : An Introduction to Derivative Pricing by Baxter & Rennie. Editorial Review from Amazon: Here is the first rigorous and accessible account of the mathematics behind the pricing, construction, and hedging of derivative securities. With mathematical precision and in a style tailored for market practioners, the authors describe key concepts such as martingales, change of measure, and the Heath-Jarrow-Morton model. Starting from discrete-time hedging on binary trees, the authors develop continuous-time stock models (including the Black-Scholes method). They stress practicalities including examples from stock, currency and interest rate markets, all accompanied by graphical illustrations with realistic data. The authors provide a full glossary of probabilistic and financial terms.

Continuous Time Finance by Robert C. Merton. Reviews: “The thoughtful way in which the book is organized, the connective sections, and the fullness of this remarkable scholar’s accomplishments, succeed in making this collection into a watershed event in finance. It is a testament to how much of modern finance he has formulated, advanced, and, in a meaningful sense, brought to a satisfactory completeness. Modern finance has much to do, but it can do no better than to add to what Merton has already done, and I recommend this book to all who wish to learn what finance has been up to for the past two decades.” Stephen Ross, Journal of Finance

Strategic Asset Allocation by Campbell & Visceira. Editorial Reviews: `In Strategic Asset Allocation John Campbell and Luis Viceira go beyond the usual capital-markets research monographs that survey a broad swath of asset pricing and investment theory. Instead, they dig deeply and insightfully into how an individual investor would best allocate wealth into broad asset classes over a lifetime, bearing in mind age, risk preferences, changing market conditions, and uninsurable income shocks. With this clearly written synthesis of the best recent research on the topic, much of it their own, Campbell and Viceira have achieved excellence!’ Darrell Duffie, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University

Easy Readings

Liar’s Poker: Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street. Editorial Review From Library Journal: As described by Lewis, liar’s poker is a game played in idle moments by workers on Wall Street, the objective of which is to reward trickery and deceit. With this as a metaphor, Lewis describes his four years with the Wall Street firm Salomon Brothers, from his bizarre hiring through the training program to his years as a successful bond trader. Lewis illustrates how economic decisions made at the national level changed securities markets and made bonds the most lucrative game on the Street. His description of the firm’s personalities and of the events from 1984 through the crash of October 1987 are vivid and memorable. Readers of Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities ( LJ 11/15/87) are likely to enjoy this personal memoir. BOMC and Fortune Book Club selection.
– Joseph Barth, U.S. Military Acad . Lib., West Point, N.Y.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Monkey Business: Swinging Through the Wall Street Jungle. Editorial Review From Publishers Weekly: As eager-beaver business school students, Rolfe and Troob garnered job offers as junior associates at the elite Wall Street investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, lured by dreams of wealth, glamour and power. Readers whose fascination with Wall Street shenanigans has been fueled by Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker will find this thorough rundown of an investment bank associate’s daily routine sobering. By the time Rolfe and Troob were able to discern the key fact that the “investment banking community has long been an oligopoly, with only a handful of real players with the size and scale to drive through the big deals,” they were already grappling with the gritty reality of performing grunt labor in an environment ruled by despotic senior partners who called innumerable meetings to set unrealistic deadlines and make superhuman demands on anybody within screaming distance. The authors’ resulting disappointment and disaffection leaps off every page. Unfortunately, they take out their frustrations with indiscriminate potshots at such easy targets as word processors (“Christopher Street fairies”), copy center personnel (“a platoon of patriotic Puerto Ricans” they offhandedly refer to as “militants”) and female research analysts (whom they describe as “under-sexed, eager-to-please”). Long before the hapless authors have stooped to expressing their fury at the bank by such puerile antics as urinating into a beer bottle while seated at a banquet table at the Christmas party, readers will have had enough. (Apr.)

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