One Up on Wall Street

Yeah, I never thought I’d be reading books about the stock market, much less admitting this publicly. Yet here I am, shouting “Hooray for Peter Lynch” from the rooftop of my SF flat. If you’re thinking about investing, read this book. If you already are investing and feel slightly clueless about your actions, read this book. If you’re confident in your abilities as an investor, read this book. Nothing dry and boring in this classic; the tone is friendly, engaging, and extremely readable.
Notes:
Individual investors have advantage over Wall St. b/c they can buy companies they see in their daily lives as up-and-comers. (i.e. The Limited clothing store circa 1982)
Final Checklist
Stocks in General
– P/E ratio: high or low for this company, compare it to similar cos in same industry
– % institutional ownership: lower the better
– are insiders buying? is company buying back own shares? good sign
– record of earnings growth to date, are earnings sporadic or consistent?
– strong balance sheet (debt to equity ratio)
– cash position

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21 dog years

A fluffy commentary on dot com grunt work. Since I am still in the midst of this dot com rush, I would expect there to be more details I could identify with. But Amazon.com appears very different from the .com I’ve slaved for the last 3 years. They build their desks out of doors, man. Wow.
Memorable parts: the sharing of desk space in the CS arena. The 12 hour shifts that would allow others to use ‘your’ desk area for their shift. The 2 hour delivery of items you ordered from the Amazon website. Talking the talk and getting out of CS and into Biz Dev. Imploding the Kingdome as a metaphor for the economic implosion.
Not recommended.

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1421

Aren’t we lucky that Menzies is confident in his ability to reconstruct 400 year old history based solely on his ability to read old maps? I read 150 pages of this crap then skimmed the rest, looking at the maps and photo inserts. Due to its blahness, I won’t bother to come up with original comments, but leave criticism in the hands of the experts:
From Publisher’s Weekly:
“The amateur historian’s lightly footnoted, heavily speculative re-creation of little-known voyages made by Chinese ships in the early 1400s goes far beyond what most experts in and outside of China are willing to assert and will surely set tongues wagging. According to Menzies’s brazen but dull account of the Middle Kingdom’s exploits at sea, Magellan, Dias, da Gama, Cabral and Cook only “discovered” lands the Chinese had already visited, and they sailed with maps drawn from Chinese charts. Menzies alleges that the Chinese not only discovered America, but also established colonies here long before Columbus set out to sea. Because China burned the records of its historic expeditions led by Zheng He, the famed eunuch admiral and the focus of this account, Menzies is forced to defend his argument by compiling a tedious package of circumstantial evidence that ranges from reasonable to ridiculous. While the book does contain some compelling claims-for example, that the Chinese were able to calculate longitude long before Western explorers-drawn from Menzies’s experiences at sea, his overall credibility is undermined by dubious research methods. In just one instance, when confounded by the derivation of cryptic words on a Venetian map, Menzies first consults an expert at crossword puzzles rather than an etymologist. Such an approach to scholarship, along with a promise of more proof to come in the paperback edition, casts a shadow of doubt over Menzies’s discoveries.”
In case you want more, Gavin’s set up a website.

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