This hilarious portrait of everyday Wall Street and its denizens rings as true today as it did when it was first published in 1940. Writing with a rare mixture of wry cynicism and bonhomie reminiscent of Mark Twain and H. L. Mencken, Fred Schwed, Jr., skewers everyone including himself in his brilliant send–ups of bankers, brokers, traders, investors, analysts, and hapless customers.
Critical Praise . . .
"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, President, Bloomberg, LP
". . . one of the funniest books ever written about Wall Street." Jane Bryant Quinn, The Washington Post
"It′s amazing how well Schwed′s book is holding up after 55 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
"Where Are the C–C–Customers′ Yachts? is a g–g–great read." Charles Ellis, Managing Partner, Greenwich Associates
"A delightful classic and reminder of excesses past and how little things change." Bob Farrell, Senior Vice President, Merrill Lynch
Where Are the Customers′ Yachts?
"′Wall Street,′ reads the sinister old gag, ′is a street with a river at one end and a graveyard at the other.′
This is striking, but incomplete. It omits the kindergarten in the middle, and that′s what this book is about." Fred Schwed, Jr.
Written by Fred Schwed, Jr., a professional trader who had the good sense to get out after losing a bundle in the crash of 1929, this hilarious portrait of Wall Street and its denizens rings as true today as it did when it was first published in 1940. Writing with a rare mixture of wry cynicism and bonhomie reminiscent of Mark Twain and H. L. Mencken, Schwed skewers everyone including himself in his vivid depictions of the bankers, brokers, traders, investors, analysts, and hapless customers.
Just listen to his take on the conservative banker:
The conservative banker is an impressive specimen. In times of stress, when everybody needs money, he strives to avoid lending, but usually makes an exception to the United States government. Likewise, in prosperous times, he is a mighty liberal lender so liberal that years later unfriendly committees ask him what he thought he was thinking about, and he is unable to remember.
. . . or his witty assessment of technical analysis:
It is the popular feeling on Wall Street that chart readers are pretty occult professionals but that somehow most of them are broke. "If you have the bad taste to ask [one] how it happens that he is broke, he tells you quite ingenuously that he made the all too human error of not believing his own charts."
It′s easy to see why, more than a half–century after it first appeared, Where Are the Customers′ Yachts? continues to be hailed by market insiders as the funniest and most penetrating send–up of Wall Street ever penned.
Foreword to the 1995 Edition xxi
Introduction to the 1955 Bull Market Edition xxv
1 Introduction The Modest Cough of Minor Poet 3
The Validity of Financial Predictions
The Passion for Prophecy
When the Bull jumped over the Moon
II Financiers and Seers 23
Big Banking Nice work if you can get it
Some Assistant Tycoons
The Fruit on the Blossom of Thought
Wall Street Semantics
The Difficulties of Earning Money
An Art Without a Muse
A Little Aptitude Test
III Customers That Hardy Breed 49
Varieties of Customers
How to Get Customers
Margin What to Do When the Dam Bursts
Some Case Histories and a Diagnosis
Churning Money as a Career
IV Investment Trusts Promises and Performance 67
Stop Making Your Own Mistakes
Where is the Catch?
The Hell–Paving Construction Company
The Trouble with the Best Securities
The $750,000 Bird
By Way of Apology
The Magical Investment Corporation
V The Short Seller He of the Black Heart 87
For the Defense
A Different Defense
With and Without Bears
VI Puts, Call, Straddles, and Gabble 105
What Options are (More or Less)
In Defense of the Pure Gamble
VII The Good Old Days and the Great Captains 117
The I.Q. of a Big Shot
Speculation on Speculation
A Brief Excursion into Probabilities
Down will Come Baby
A Bowl of Nickels
VIII Investment Many Questions and a Few Answers 135
Headaches of the Wealthy
A Little Wonderful Advice
Price and Value Our Special Market Letter
Cash as a Long–Term Investment
Your Way of Life and the Basis Book
IX Reform Some Yeas and Nays 153
Was it Stolen or Did you Lose It?
Nobody Loves a Specialist
Horizons and Limits of Regulation
About the Author 171