4 Powerful Must-Read Books for Traders and Investors

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants” Isaac Newton said those famous words and those words still ring true more than hundred years later. Books provide us with insight into the thought process of great minds and they provide us with a window into their decision-making process. Successful traders and investors often show a strong disposition towards reading because you need to constantly educate yourself in order to stay ahead in the market.

Smart traders and investors would have started making their 2017 reading lists in order to prepare for the uncertainties that the new year might bring. If you are not done compiling your 2017 reading list, this article profile four books that analysts at Stern Options think all traders and investors must read before heading into the new year.

The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons from Corporate America by Lawrence Cunningham

Warren Buffet doesn’t need an introduction to traders or investors – even the newest students of financial world would have heard stories about the wizardry of Oracle of Omaha. In case you have somehow missed the memo, Warren Buffet is an American business magnate and investor. For context, the shares of his holding company through which he invests and trade, Berkshire Hathaway costs about $225,150 per share.

The Essays of Warren Buffet as compiled by Lawrence Cunningham is a collection of Warrant Buffet’s annual investor letters to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. The most recent edition is dated 30 Nov. 2015 but you might want to wait a couple of weeks for the 2016 edition. The Essays of Warren Buffet provides invaluable insight into the thought processes behind Buffet’s investment decisions. The book is a must-read for anybody that wants to invest or trade based on fundamental analysis of the markets.

You Can Be a Stock Market Genius, by Joel Greenblatt

Joel Greenblatt is an accomplished hedge fund manager and investor with a track record of consistent gains. In the last 10 years, his fund has outperformed the Dow Jones with returns of more than 50% each year. In his book, You Can Be a Stock Market Genius he provides a comprehensive and practical guide for succeeding in the stock market. The book is a one-stop shop that includes background information on the markets, case studies, and insights on investment opportunities.

You should definitely buy and read this book if you’d like to understand how you can make money from the stock market when the rest of the market is panicking. Joel Greenblatt takes the time to demystify corporate restructurings, spin-offs, right offerings, merger securities, bankruptcies and risk arbitrage among other things.

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis

If you consider yourself a serious trader, you must read Flash Boys even if you won’t read any of the other books profiled in this article. Flash Boys peels away the veil of secrecy on covering the rise and use of high frequency trading in the U.S. equity markets. The book reveals how the equity markets might have been rigged to favor the big names on Wall Street. No matter how good and disciplined you are as a trader, you simple do not stand any chance against high-frequency traders.

Michael Lewis is a celebrated financial journalist and he brings measure of storytelling to the high-stakes world of high frequency trading. Philip Delves Broughton  of Wall Street Journal says Flash Boys is
“Important to public debate about Wall Street… in exposing what one of his central characters calls the ‘Pandora’s box of ridiculousness’ that financial exchanges have become.”

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter Diamandis

Peter Diamandis is Greek-American entrepreneur with interests in the frontier fields of space exploration, robotics, and 3D among other things. His book, Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World is a visionary roadmap on the next generation technological advancements with insights on how to position yourself strategically to profit from the paradigm shift. Bill Clinton says the book provides “invaluable advice about bringing together the partners and technologies to help them do it.”

If you’d like to catch the brewing waves to invest in the next Apple, Google, Amazon, or Tesla, you should definitely get a copy of Bold. Peter Diamandis talks about 3D printing, robotics, synthetic biology, and artificial intelligence among other things. He also provides insight on how you can invest in these new technologies before they are available in the mainstream investment community.

Please Mr. Obama, Lend Us Your Crystal Ball

The President wants the DOL to fine professionals who make money allowing 401k participants to make “bad” investments.
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So what’s the difference between a “bad” and “good” investment? Right, well in the Will Rogersian world of politicians and regulators, “the good ones only go up in price; the bad ones go down”.

“Don’t gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stocks and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don’t go up, don’t buy it.” WR

Plan sponsors and other financial professionals are supposed to know which ones will go in what direction… and NEVER (as Will would admonish) buy a security that is going to go down.

“Where have all the crystal balls gone? Gone to hindsightful regulators, all of them.” PP&M, sort of.

POTUS wants investment advisors to only select the “good ones”, and they are expected to know in advance where the market may be going, in both the short run and the long. And getting paid for their efforts, well that can’t be “good”, especially when the market value goes down.

Remember, “advisors” are mostly salespeople; regulators are mostly cops.

Do any of these guys have a clue about the workings of the stock market? Which is worse: having the foxes (advisors) in charge of the hen house (401k investment (not pension) plans), or having the lunatics (politicians & regulators) running the asylum (stock market expectations)?

Both are bad, unrealistic, and counterproductive. Markets rise and fall in price… the advisory deal is to limit the amount of risk in a portfolio. Risk of loss is always involved, but it can be minimized… regulators just don’t really get it.

Participants need to be educated not coddled; costs are not the most important aspect of retirement investing, net spendable income at retirement is; stock market values will always go up and down… and that’s a good thing.

If 401k participants are expected to be retirement ready, they need to know the importance of growing income and to have investment options that can get the job done.

I’m not sure that can be accomplished in the current 401k space, but the education has been available for a long time… and it can be applied fairly easily in a “self directed” 401k environment.

And that, Mr. President, is all you should be lecturing the investment advisory community about. If a plan participant is too lazy, busy, greedy, or preoccupied to determine “what’s inside” an investment option, it is not the fault of his or her employer.

The education is out there: just read The Brainwashing of the American Investor

… and here are two Self Directed IRA or 401k income investment presentations for you to think about. 

Next Webinar April 8th

All work, no play…

beatles aldershot crowdMany companies today, as the U.S. and Canadian economic crisis widens into a global concern, are finding work is no fun.  Literally.

Wear proper attire.  No joking or clowning allowed.  Put your chin to the grindstone.  If you must laugh, would the boss approve and is it appropriate.

Woe is us.

Well, folks, lighten up is the key advice advocated by the authors of a new business book, “The Levity Effect”, in which the arguments are made that “fun is a serious business”. There is, as Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher points out, a “connection between the punch line and the bottom line.” Laugh it up at work and with certainty you will be—wait for it—“laughing all the way to the bank”. No, honestly.

Maybe up to now, the gripping authority of Human Resources has built what seems like an insurmountable wall of “red flags” that rules out kidding, mockery, sarcasm or even anger into most workplaces.  You are aware of the Time and Place Rule: “The universally ignored law which dictates that before any workplace humour is executed, its bearer must determine, using reasonably sound judgment, if said humour is appropriate.

The book offers an intriguing amount of evidence to back its assertion that levity pays: “Fun at work,” Messrs Gostick and Christopher explain, “can provide a competitive advantage, help attract and retain employees, and provide the spark to jumpstart creativity.” Furthermore, they write, a fun workplace “improves communication and morale, raises the level of employee trust, lowers employee turnover and increases profits.”

Here’s point number one.  The authors state that an organisation called the Great Place to Work Institute has time and again found that companies that are classified as “great” earn extraordinarily top marks from employees on the question “Are you working in a fun environment?” Great companies scored 81% on this, compared to 62% for companies ranked just “good”.

An Ipsos study suggests that those managers with a high sense of humour are likely to be around a year later as opposed to those rated with an average or below average sense of humour by a margin of almost fifteen percent.

Google offers its employees free food, scooters, volleyball courts, a toy dinosaur and a yellow brick road. Among the other top ten ranked are Starbucks, the Container Store and Nugget Market, a California grocery store.

The fun strategies employed are as varied as the companies themselves.

Intuit has a “fun committee” that organizes events such as potluck breakfasts and jeopardy games. AstraZeneca has a “fun department” that brings “funsters” to the firm to sing, distribute toys and tell jokes.  Another firm, which lists “fun” among its core values, hands-out “Walk the Talk” awards, a set of wind-up chattering teeth presented by the chief executive accompanied by a kazoo band. KPMG holds online contests for staff (with great prizes), and gives away barbecue packs.

The authors are convinced that bosses can learn to be blithe without coddling in the fake friendliness of the boss as displayed on the hit TV show, “The Office”.

The best bet, they suggest, may be to hire people with a sense of humour. That was the philosophy of Herb Kelleher; the legendary boss of Southwest Airlines, an airline that is reportedly an actual a pleasure to fly. The authors noted the story of one of his staff delivering one of the most unusual and judicious lines in the book, “We’re sorry for the delay, but our automated bag smasher is broken and we are having to break your bags by hand.”

Perhaps point number two; it might be a good strategy to let your staff use You Tube during office hours.

: “Fun at work,” Messrs Gostick and Christopher assert, “can provide a competitive advantage, help attract and retain employees, and provide the spark to jumpstart creativity.” A fun workplace improves communication and morale, raises the level of employee trust, lowers employee turnover and increases profits.

By: Mark Borkowski is president of Mercantile Mergers & Acquisitions Corp. Mercantile specializes in the sale of privately owned mid market companies. He can be contacted at mark@mercantilema.com or (416) 368-8466 ext. 232 or www.mercantilemergersacquisitions.com

Death Bed Advice….

These were some words of wisdom told to me by a client that had to sell his company from his death bed. He and his family dictated these pieces of advice in one long visit. Not sure where they got them, but I wrote them down while he was dying.

I wanted to share them with you.

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
9. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
10. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
11. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
12. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey
is all about.
13. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
14. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy
dying.
15. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
16. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
17. It is never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up
to you and no one else.
18. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for
an answer.
19. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, and wear the fancy lingerie. Do not save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
20. Over prepare, and then go with the flow.
21. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
22. The most important sex organ is the brain.
23. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
24. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will
this matter?”
25. Always choose life.
26. Forgive everyone everything.
27. What other people think of you is none of your business.
28. Time heals almost everything. Give time.
29. However good or bad a situation is it will change.
30. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
31. Believe in miracles.
32. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
33. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

Mark Borkowski is president of Mercantile Mergers & Acquisitions Corporation. Mercantile is a mid market M&A brokerage firm. Mark can be contacted at mark@mercantilema.com or www.mercantilemergersacquisitions.com

Self-Education is THE Path to Prosperity

You are playing the Money Game. There is no way to take yourself out of the game. It is just a fact of life. The good news is you can learn how to play the game better. How you do that is by committing to getting an education on money and to make learning about money (and learning in general) a regular part of your life.

Fortunately there are so many ways that you can learn about this wonderful and exciting game. Take a course or two, that are offered through the internet, correspondence courses, or classes offered through your local continuing education office. Start talking to financially successful people to find out how they make their financial decisions and what has worked for them. Watch a television show that deals with the subject of money.

Go to your local library and check out all the many available books on the subjects of budgeting, investing, insurance, and emotions around money or better yet go to your local book store and start building your own collection. A few good authors on the various topics surrounding money that I recommend are:
Dr. Thomas Stanley
T. Harv Eker
Suze Orman
David Chilton
Gail Vaz-Oxlade
David Bach
Robert Kiyosaki
Gordon Pape

There are so many wonderful resources available to anyone that is willing to look. Start learning, start questioning, and start taking an active role in your financial life. It is a decision that you will never regret.

If you would like to start your kids or grandchildren off on the path to prosperity I would highly recommend (and yes I know I’m biased) my children’s financial books. www.financialfoundationsbooks.com

As you learn more about money you will automatically make better choices that will move you forward. Go out there and start asking questions and finding the answers.

“Nourish the mind like you would your body. The mind cannot survive on junk food.”
Jim Rohn

Bullying at work – the total cost – financial and societal Part 2 of 2

Outside the financial costs, the personal costs are also of major concern to health-care professionals. Treatments for depression, stress, heart conditions, ulcers, other forms of gastric and intestinal stress, PTSD, internal trauma, alcohol abuse and drug abuse. The physical, emotional and mental abuse of families and friends. Other mental illnesses including paranoia and schizophrenia are common as is bi-polar disorder. In extreme cases, severe and unrestricted violence against themselves – including suicide and against others including events such as robberies, assault and in some cases and situations, even murder. These are all potential consequences to society that result from bullying. Is it really worth it? Bullying tears families and communities apart and it is preventable. Are you part of the problem or part of the cure?

“If you turn and face the other way when someone is being bullied, you might as well be the bully too.” ~Unknown

Inside family units, bullying is a well known, if very well hidden issue. Yes, we hear about parents abusing and bullying children but we don’t hear as often about siblings bullying or abusing each other – and it is not always the older child bullying younger one – I know of several cases where the reverse is true. There is no “typical” situation, which makes it tough to help the victims and educate the perpetrators or provide punishment as appropriate. Please remember, not all abuse is physical – the hidden damage of emotional and mental abuse is very often hard to identify and treat. Victims of emotional and mental abuse sometimes even appear to live outwardly “normal” lives, but on the inside are ready to explode with sometimes terrifying consequences to themselves and others – most often directly impacting those closest to them.

“By being a bully, you show everyone what an inferior coward you are.” ~Unknown

Psychologists, psychiatrists, family medical care providers and counsellors all deal with the effects on a daily basis. Unfortunately, law enforcement and other first responders see the consequences when no intervention or support has been provided. Healthcare practitioners and paramedical professionals have long known that bullies act out of feelings of inadequacy, jealousy and fear but the driving forces behind those issues are very challenging to define. They tend to use the bluster, self-aggrandisement and brash behaviours to cover their feelings – they are actually crying for help but too often that cry goes unheard until the damage has been done to one or more other people in their lives.

I have included several quotes in this article that can provide a starting point for readers to consider this issue. I suggest that to one extent or another, everyone’s lives have, are or will be affected by some form of bullying and/or related abuse. Can we do anything less than exert our best efforts to eradicate it from our lives?

“Respect – simple respect. I expect nothing more and I will accept nothing less.” From the Emmy Winning Series MASH – Margaret Houlihan talking to Hawkeye Pierce.

In closing, please think about the words of the famous song by Aretha Franklin:
“R – E – S – P – E – C – T”

These are but a very few links to sites that offer information on workplace bullying, abuse and violence. I urge you to use these and other resources to help yourself and others.

http://www.bullyingcanada.ca/index.php

http://bullyinworkplace.com/

http://www.bullyonline.org/

http://www.workplaceviolence.ca/

The Financial Guides Presents Financial Foundations Children’s Books

CALGARY, ALBERTA (May 14, 2012) – Financial Foundations is a fully and beautifully illustrated series of children’s books designed to teach kids that money can be fun!

We are all playing the money game, but how many of us really know the rules?

Join The Financial Guides at Financial Foundations Summer Camp as they teach a group of kids how to play the money game to win, in a fair, balanced, and healthy way! With four series covering all the money basics (Foundation, Growth, Protection, and Business), kids and their families can learn the skills they need to succeed.

The first book set (Foundation) is now available for ordering, and will cover the importance of:
• Learning how money works,
• Goal setting,
• Simple and effective budgeting,
• Understanding the facts about credit,
• How daily choices affect our lives,
• How to keep a long term perspective and balance in life.

Help give your kids the tools they need to survive and thrive in our complicated world! To view the complete first set online please go to: http://financialfoundationsbooks.com/promo_books.htm

The Financial Guides were founded by Tammy Johnston, as financial advisors who take a holistic approach to working with their clients. With over 19 years of experience in the financial services industry, Tammy focuses on first educating her clients on how money works and how to ask questions. Through many years of hearing students in the Financial Journeys class ask where were you when I was a kid, and do you have anything that I can use to teach my children, Tammy came up with the concept of Financial Foundations. The first set of four is currently available for ordering with the second set scheduled for late 2012.

As part of their commitment to supporting good works and charity, $10 from the set of every book is going to charity. For direct sales the $10 donation goes to World Vision Canada, Tammy Johnston’s favourite charity. For sales made through charity websites and email mail outs, the money goes to the sending charity.

Contact:
Tammy Johnston
The Financial Guides
Email: tammyjohnston@thefinancialguides.com
884 Riverbend Drive SE Calgary, AB T2C 3N9
Phone: 403-257-6354
Toll Free: 888-469-3027