Where Are the Customers' Yachts?: Or a Good Hard Look at Wall Street

Where Are the Customers' Yachts?: Or a Good Hard Look at Wall Street

3.5 2
by Fred Schwed Jr., Peter Arno
     
 

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"Once I picked it up I did not put it down until I finished. . . . What Schwed has done is capture fully-in deceptively clean language-the 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

Overview

"Once I picked it up I did not put it down until I finished. . . . What Schwed has done is capture fully-in deceptively clean language-the 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."
— Michael Bloomberg

"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

Humorous and entertaining, this book exposes the folly and hypocrisy of Wall Street. The title refers to a story about a visitor to New York who admired the yachts of the bankers and brokers. Naively, he asked where all the customers' yachts were? Of course, none of the customers could afford yachts, even though they dutifully followed the advice of their bankers and brokers. Full of wise contrarian advice and offering a true look at the world of investing, in which brokers get rich while their customers go broke, this book continues to open the eyes of investors to the reality of Wall Street.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471770893
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
01/10/2006
Series:
Wiley Investment Classics Series , #32
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
107,790
Product dimensions:
5.53(w) x 8.62(h) x 0.57(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"More than half a century on, Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? Remains a fascinating read" (Money Week, July 2006)

Meet the Author

Fred Schwed Jr. was a professional trader who got out of the market after losing a bundle in the 1929 stock market crash. Years later, he published a bestselling children's book entitled Wacky, the Small Boy, and then went on to write Where Are the Customers' Yachts?

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Where Are the Customers' Yachts or A Good Hard Look at Wall Street 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book but bear in mind it covers Wall Street prior to and after the creation of the SEC. But the principles are still the same. If you want to involve yourself as a player in the market you need to absorb the lessons communicated in this book. Terminology has changed over the years. Don't cry if you get your fingers burned. Expect it every so often. If you want an education this book is good medicine humorously delivered! - An ol' Kentucky Curmudgeon
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book clearly deserves more than five stars for exposing the folly of Wall Street in the most humorous possible terms. This book's fame far exceeds the number of people who have read it. Almost every experienced stock investor will cite examples from the book, without even knowing their source. The title refers to an ancient story (which the author finds is probably at least 100 years old by now) about a visitor to New York who admired the yachts that the bankers and brokers had in the harbor. Naively, he then asked where the customers' yachts were. Naturally, there were no customers' yachts. Let me set the stage. The author spent two years on Wall Street in the 20s, but knew it better than that and continued to invest in stocks. He wrote the book in 1940 after the horrible bear years of 1929-1940. The memories of the 1920s were still fresh. Then he updated the book in 1955 in the midst of the 50s bull market with a new introduction in which he explained that the book did not need updating. Although commissions are no longer fixed, and few spend the day sitting in a broker's office, many of the other observations in the book remain as timely as those in The Madness of Crowds. Human nature doesn't change. Behind all of the hype about getting rich with stock investments is a sad reality. Over a lifetime, the vast majority of people get poor results from their stock investing. Around 90 percent of professionals will also underperform the market averages over their careers. But the desire to 'outsmart' everyone else is almost universal. Raging bull markets, like the one we had until March 2000 on the NASDAQ, only tend to reinforce these ultimately expensive urges. I have been around professional investors for over thirty years and all the big scores I remember involving stocks came after someone who was a founder or worked for a company that went public cashed in their stock and stock options after many years of service. These are not stock-investing events, they are entrepreneurial compensation. In the Money Game, Adam Smith pointed that out, and it remains as true today as it was then. One of the classic stories in this book is about what would happen if 4000 people started flipping coins against each other. You are eliminated from the competition after one loss. Although by definition, half would win and half with lose with each flip, those who had won ten times in a row (as must happen for some in this format) would soon start to give lessons in coin flipping techniques. That story nicely captures the folly of Wall Street. Even though some may win, it usually doesn't mean anything. The book contains other investment classic stories that you must have in your repertoire. The book is brilliantly illustrated by the classy cartoons of Peter Arno. It is worth acquiring the book just for those. The subjects covered include Wall Street's passion for prophecy, financiers and seers, customers (or the sheep to be shorn), mutual funds, short sellers, options, speculators and the bull market of the 20s, and the excuses handed out to those who are relieved of their money. The writing style is urbane and witty. For example, there is the usual disclaimer on not following the advice in the book in the beginning. Except, it is illustrated by two hands with fingers crossed. And, the warnings are a just little different. The information in this book 'while not guaranteed by us, has been obtained from sources which have not in the past proved particularly reliable.' The author had discovered that titles cannot be copyrighted, and he 'had planned to have my book appear under a good title, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.' The author's favorite review of the book contained this phrase, 'If I were J.P. Morgan, and I have no reason to suspect that I am not . . . .', and was signed by the author of the review, Mr. Frank Sullivan. The subsequent witty correspondence between them is included in the