Summary: In a time of market volatility and economic uncertainty, when high-frequency traders and hedge fund managers seem to tower over the average investor, Burton G. Malkiel’s classic and gimmick-free investment guide is now more necessary than ever. Rather than tricks, what you’ll find here is a time-tested and thoroughly research-based strategy for your portfolio. Whether you’re considering your first 401(k) contribution or contemplating retirement, this fully updated edition of A Random Walk Down…Read more.
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Burton Malkiel: A Random Walk Down Wall Street Audio Book Summary
A Random Walk Down Wall Street, written by world-renowned Princeton economist Burton Malkiel, is a classic text on economics, investing, and the financial markets that was one of the most influential works to address and popularize the random walk hypothesis, the theory that the performance of markets are consistently random and cannot be beaten methodically over time.
The book was originally published in 1973 by WW Norton and Company, and has since been revised and updated numerous times to provide the reader with current, up-to-date market data to further support the author’s position.
Malkiel is perhaps the most famous proponent of the random walk theory, which is a theory of economics that argue that no investor, professional or otherwise, can consistently and reliably out perform the market over time.
The theory is used by many efficient market theorists, that argue that financial arbitrage is impractical, since any public market knowledge would immediately be reflected in the price of the stock, and it is impossible to predict the future earnings patterns or accurate growth trajectory of a company or industry.
Malkiel’s claim is slightly different, however, as he simply argues that the asset prices, while they may reflect the long term trends of the market, cannot be predicted on a short term or even mid-term basis.
To prove his hypothesis, Malkiel provides a layman’s overview of various investing philosophies, including both technical and fundamental analytical approaches, and multiple combinations thereof, only to prove that each falls short of providing a reliable system that can outperform the market over time.
These analyses provide a good overview to the different investment philosophies and explain the primary concepts underlying them in an analytical way that can be easily understood by a non-technical investor.
While this theory is widely accepted in learned economic circles, and is touted as a reason that nonprofessional investors should avoid stock-picking and instead focus on diversified investments across markets, such as those provided by index funds, many professional investors have famously and outspokenly decried Malkiel’s work. Most notable among these is Warren Buffet, who is perhaps the most famous investor to consistently beat the market over time.
In 1984, Buffet addressed investors and students at Columbia University in New York, rebutting the claims made in A Random Walk Down Wall Street, and offering practical evidence that while theoretically economists may like to tie investing up into a few neat theories, the practical reality is much different.
Regardless of which side you agree with, A Random Walk Down Wall Street is a classic textbook on personal finance, and should be read by any individual interested in creating gradual, long term wealth through stable market investing over time.
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