The Mind of Wall Street: A Legendary Financier on the Perils of Greed and the Mysteries of the Market

Overview

As stock prices and investor confidence have collapsed in the wake of Enron, WorldCom, and the dot-com crash, people want to know how this happened and how to make sense of the uncertain times to come.

Into the breach comes one of Wall Street's legendary investors, Leon Levy, to explain why the market so often confounds us, and why those who ought to understand it tend to get chewed up and spat out. Levy, who pioneered many of the innovations and investment instruments that we ...

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The Mind of Wall Street: A Legendary Financier on the Perils of Greed and the Mysteries of the Market

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Overview

As stock prices and investor confidence have collapsed in the wake of Enron, WorldCom, and the dot-com crash, people want to know how this happened and how to make sense of the uncertain times to come.

Into the breach comes one of Wall Street's legendary investors, Leon Levy, to explain why the market so often confounds us, and why those who ought to understand it tend to get chewed up and spat out. Levy, who pioneered many of the innovations and investment instruments that we now take for granted, has prospered in every market for the past fifty years, particularly in today's bear market. In The Mind of Wall Street he recounts stories of his successes and failures to illustrate how investor psychology and willful self-deception so often play critical roles in the process. Like his peers George Soros and Warren Buffett, Levy takes a long and broad view of the rhythms of the markets and the economy. He also offers a provocative analysis of the spectacular Internet bubble, showing that the market has not yet completely recovered from its bout of "irrational exuberance."

The Mind of Wall Street is essential reading for all of us, whether we are active traders or simply modest contributors to our 401(k) plans, as volatile and unnerving markets come to define so much of our net worth.

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Editorial Reviews

Forbes
The beauty of [Levy's book] is that you can hear how...Levy's mind works...the reader-investor gets more than his money's worth.
Publishers Weekly
This well-written investment book delivers both adventure and financial insight, offering an intriguing theory that blends economic fundamentals with a keen understanding of the stock market's many moods. Levy, a legendary Wall Street investor with more than 50 years of experience and the founder of Oppenheimer Funds, certainly has a firm intellectual grasp on the inner workings of the stock market, but also sees its psychological dynamic. He fleshes out this analysis of the markets and the economy from the 1950s to today with amusing and exciting financial stories. Early in his career, Levy piggybacked on corporate raids run by J. Paul Getty and Sy Scheuer. After helping to found Oppenheimer and later, Odyssey Partners, he had the capital to lead the way. He explains each investment story step-by-step, from initial research to acquiring positions and influence, fighting through defenses and counterattacks, and finally cashing out years later, usually-but not always-at a handsome profit. Interwoven throughout the financial dramas are character vignettes, autobiographical sketches, anecdotes and thoughtful digressions on Levy's philanthropy, social theories and market theories. (Nov.) Forecast: Levy's association with Oppenheimer Funds should reel in investment-minded readers, and strong word-of-mouth could bring it decent sales. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Levy, one of the founders of the giant Oppenheimer Fund, offers a biography of his business life with lessons and opinions based on his over 50 years on Wall Street. Both a value investor and a contrarian, he strongly advocates reason and logic as a framework for risking his own money but repeatedly notes that investing is as much psychological as economic. Throughout his analysis, Levy blends in anecdotes from the Street to produce a short, well-written, and well-organized work. One of the better examples of this genre, this book will appeal to libraries that found John Neff on Investing popular. Recommended for all libraries with an investment interest.-Patrick J. Brunet, Western Wisconsin Technical Coll. Lib., LaCrosse Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586482084
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 1/8/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 482,399
  • Product dimensions: 0.54 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Leon Levy began his career on Wall Street in 1948 and over the next five decades became a major figure in investment circles, helping to create Oppenheimer Mutual Funds and Odyssey Partners. He served as the president and founder of the Jerome Levy Institute for Economic Research at Bard College and the president of the Institute for Advanced Study. He died in April 2003.

Eugene Linden is a contributor for Time magazine and the author of seven previous books. He lives in Nyack, New York.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction 1
1 Reason Does Not Prevail 15
2 Jerome's Legacy 25
3 The Right Time 41
4 A Galaxy of Financial Talent 65
5 A Fresh Look at the Familiar 77
6 Beware Overreachers 93
7 Beauty and the Beast 105
8 Unlocking Value 121
9 The Pretty Efficient Market 137
10 False Profits 151
11 Investing Under the Influence 169
12 Betting on Economies Rather Than Stocks 177
13 Honor Thy Father 191
Acknowledgments 201
Index 205
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2008

    Levy's life in the Market

    When I first picked up the book from the store, I did not know what to expect, but I believe this is a very insightful book for anyone who wants to invest into the stock market. Levy gives some helpful insight to how he believes the market works from both the analytical side and psychological side. Levy is a very credible man to read about because he has been investing in the stock market for more than 50 years. I believe this book can help and young investor, like myself, begin their quest in the market, and I think that anyone who picks this book up will be impressed with Levy's insight.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2004

    A Good Read!

    The late, legendary Wall Street investor Leon Levy offers a glimpse into his financial mind in this easily digested work, which is part memoir and part study of investor psychology. Writing with journalist Eugene Linden, he persuasively argues that investors' moodiness often drives the market as much as any fundamentals. Unlike many Wall Street investment strategies, Levy's approach was long-term. And as this book shows, Levy's ego was refreshingly understated. Yet his modesty proves this memoir's biggest weakness. He declines to criticize his rivals and walks us through his triumphs in only a cursory way. At the same time that he's leaving juicy details out of his memoir, he also gives short shrift to his study of investor psychology. Still, the biggest criticism of this book is that it should have been longer. We recommend this memoir to investors interested in learning from a master.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2003

    Levy's Perspective on his 50 Years on Wall Street

    Levy's financial memoir tells of his 50 years on Wall Street. He highlights his contributions including the success of Oppenheimer. He tells many tales, including the collapse of Long Term Capital Management in 1998. He blames that collapse on the fund manager's overconfidence in the efficiency of markets. Levy offers his perspective on the recent stock market bubble, concluding the bubble continues (with lower prices ahead). His conclusion that Newt Gingrich's 1995 "contract with America" paved the way for the egregious acts of corporate executives and accounting firms makes for interesting reading.

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