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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Book Review: Stock Market Trivia

The book Stock Market Trivia (Including a Special Section: The Weird Words of Wall Street by Fed Fuld III is entertaining, and would be of interest to readers who are not familiar with finance. As the title suggests, it is a collection of trivia (along with a couple of quizzes) based on stock markets. It could also be a distinctive holiday present.

About the Author

Fred Fuld III is a financial historian that previously worked in the financial industry, a stock broker and as an executive. His writing captures the black humour of stock brokers, who face the task of trying to get people to invest in the stock market, possibly after their previous investments went south. He also publishes the stockerblog:

The book is 150 pages, and is illustrated with pictures of financial instruments and excerpts from vintage financial texts from Fuld's collection.

(As a disclaimer, I will note that I received a review copy.)

A Fun Light Read

Stock Market Trivia is definitely a lighter book than the others I review. I was able to go through fairly quickly. I am relatively familiar with some of the history he relates (for example, he has a chapters on the origins of the phrase "Ponzi Scheme," and some of the famed historical bubbles, such as the South Sea Bubble), although given the number of entries within the book, a fair number were new to me. For example, I had not come across "Dead Peasant Policy" before (the practice of firms to buy life insurance on their employees, typically without their knowledge, which is apparently less common now as a result of regulatory changes).

He has a certain amount of humour within the book. For example, he gives some funny mergers, such as the merger of Harken Energy, Herald Resources, Fallen Angels Income Fund, and Singapore Fund (which yields "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing"). It may not be enough to get a late night television slot, but it is a nice break from reading about how various monetary disorders are leading to societal collapse.

Concluding Remarks

This book is either worthwhile for a general reader who is in interested in trivia, or someone new to finance who wants to learn the meaning of the jargon the area is infested with.

(c) Brian Romanchuk 2016

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