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Bull!: A History of the Boom and Bust, 1982-2004

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  556 ratings  ·  38 reviews
In 1982, the Dow hovered below 1000. Then, the market rose and rapidly gained speed until it peaked above 11,000. Noted journalist and financial reporter Maggie Mahar has written the first book on the remarkable bull market that began in 1982 and ended just in the early 2000s. For almost two decades, a colorful cast of characters such as Abby Joseph Cohen, Mary Meeker, Hen ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published October 12th 2004 by Harper Business (first published 2003)
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Vinothraj Possibly because he is mentioned in it a few times, in a very positive light?
Possibly because he is mentioned in it a few times, in a very positive light?

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Vitalijus Sostak
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
History is one of the most important mediums to understand market workings and this book is a fine piece of financial history: detailed, showing different aspects of 1980-1990s markets (individual investors, fund managers, analysts, media etc.) and giving plenty of amusing numbers just to put the euphoria in perspective.
Highly recommended!

It's telling, though, how events are clear in retrospect and with hindsight. Great bull market of 1990ies is presented in "crystal clear" manner with each and
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Excellent book. Good points from the Bull era, taken in context with the preceding decades.
Bookmarked quite a few as investment philosophy notes.

Would love to read a similar book of the times before, and after.
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
I like value investing and this book supports that, but I just didn't like reading about some of the characters. ...more
Henrik Haapala
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wealth
den 10 januari 2018

• "In truth, a knowledge of history is an investor's best defense against error. Despite all the financial engineering that attempts to eliminate risk, cycles appear to be as inevitable as the seasons. Investors who understand these cycles are more likely to survive the winter of a bear market and to avoid its final phase - despair. They know that eventually, summer always returns, and more than that, they know that somewhere on the planet it is always summer." p. 384
Jaak Ennuste
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent review of the boom and bust which happened over a 20-year period. We tend to think of the 2000 crash as the end of the dot-com bubble, but it was more than that. Euphoria had taken hold of the stock market in general, and blue chip companies were also mostly overvalued.

Each crisis has its own characteristics. Otherwise it would be easier to see them forming. But some elements remain the same. You can draw many similarities between the crisis of 2000, and the one for 2008. Scarily, ofte
Enrique  Martinez
An excellent, and very honest, introduction to the stock market and investment.

I think the main lessons are: first, if you don’t have a big pocket to afford big loses don’t buy stocks. Second, go with treasury bonds, gold and maybe commodities. Third, don’t believe to all journalists, many of them work with a hidden agenda.

One interesting point is the inevitability of the crisis: is like a huracan, any effort to make it stop is futile, it’s better to be prepared for the worst.

I think one problem
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book teach us so much about the stock market even reading information of past decades of market cycles it give us a lesson that nothing has change still the same and worse pure speculation and corruption no other way to describe it, but I can say that it is not only corruption creates disasters, investor help a lot to increase the house of cards ... very frustrated to read and realice that the snow ball keep going over and over, very good book
Shankar P S
Feb 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This well known book is now a classic, chronicling the extreme dot-com Era bull market, ending in 2000. The book is expansive, covering the market mania from 1982 to 2000. The author has provided references and notes extensively for every paragraph, making this a book a starting resource for readers who want to know about the time. The book tracks most of the important people involved/affected by the stock market's wild swing. This is overall a great book. ...more
Steven Towns
Re-read every x (5?) years ....

Sampling of notes:

Everyone knew that, over time, stocks always went up. [...] no matter what price you paid for the stock.


"stealth bear market"

Wanger: the proximate cause of the first avalanche can be anything, and, in the end, the trigger is unimportant.

Mauling of 1970, Nifty Fifty still stood tall --> '73/74, '82
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An ABSOLUTE REQUIRED read for anyone who invests in the markets. The history lessons alone are worth the read, ignoring the engaging narrative.

To invest in the market you need to understand past cycles and how secular cycles affect performance.

At the end of the day, what this hammers home, and the only thing that matters, is the price you pay. It's all about valuation.
Manish Yadav
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never underestimate a book recommended by the saint of omaha himself

Marvellous read. Explains really well the workings and incentives on which the wall street players function. It will also senstize retail investors abt the importance of cycles in market.
Jason Orthman
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really interesting book that provides an emotive insight into the exuberance of the 1990s tech boom in the US. Good insights into human behaviour compounded by the media and supported by paid financial experts. Identifying what is fundamental versus a a narrative is critical in markets.
Nishant Sampat
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: warren-buffett
Book recommended by Warren Buffett
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting to learn about the various financial cycles over an eventful period, but the book probably could have been 1/3 shorter.
Abhishek Chauhan
Dec 16, 2020 rated it liked it
A useful read into the secular bull & bear cycles and how they bias the instincts of investors. Other than that it is mostly topical.
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Expected a lot more from this book with respect to the actual reasons, triggers and mechanics behind booms and busts. Instead this book was just "ok" and for the most part uninspiring. ...more
Priyankar Sarkar
Apr 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is better than a movie! Loved it!
Christiaan Quyn
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A wonderful history lesson on the bull market of the 80’s and 90’s. Context to the era, the major players involved along with a detailed account of the facts present a startling case of excesses and irrational behavior that anyone interested in economics and the markets can learn much from.

History does not always repeat itself but it does rhyme. Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, the irrational behavior, skewed idea of risk/reward and psychological denial that accompa
Joel Gray
Jan 22, 2017 rated it liked it

Platforms make it easier to switch funds and shares - encourages short-termism.

Men go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly and one by one.

The nifty fifty hit their high in 1972 of 80x. The nifty fifty shed on average 54% of their value in 1974.

All day you wait for the pitch you like, then when the fielders are asleep you step up and hit it.

In 1982 the Dow was at 8x.

By 2001 the average 401(k) would h
Laura (Kyahgirl)
I was torn between rating this book as 'ok' or 'I liked it'. On one level, it was an excellent book in terms of being packed with details about the people and events of the 1982-1999 bull market. The author did an excellent job of keeping all the facts straight, making the story flow, and keeping it interesting. On the other hand, it didn't meeting my expectations in terms of education about the stock market. I would highly recommend that an investor read Juggling Dynamite and A Short History of ...more
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great overview of the causes and effects of the bull and bust of the 90s and early 00s. Mahar is definitely a journalist: I liked the way she integrated personal stories with the facts. I think Michael Lewis does a better job with creating a compelling narrative, but this was well researched and enjoyable. An update would be awesome, though. I'd love I see how Mahar explains the events of the past 5 to 7 years. ...more
I read up to p. 262. It appears to be a very well researched book, but that is my impression only - I have not checked footnotes. But I could not finish. Given the current state of the market, this book is applicable ... and probably needs a new edition.
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
The book is a fantastic review of what happened leading up to the 2000 IT bubble and how crazy things really became. Surprisingly easy read. Not technical or jargonny; is almost like a chapter out of a history of financial markets.

- Great Book.
- Will be referring to it again
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting read and an important read if you are too young to remember it. I read this book sometime around graduating college in 2006 and it {in combination with a few other reads} made me skeptical enough to turn down a job opportunity in financial services.
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exactly what the full title advertises - an approachable and well written history, if a bit subjective. The edition I have is unfortunately the first, rather than the one published less than a year later with another 40-ish pages, and I've no idea what was added/changed. ...more
Aug 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
read this a while back.. and now we are experiencing exactly what this book said would happen (WRT the stock market)...
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
A very detailed and empirical account of the US stock markets through history. Sweet book, must read for anyone wanting to dabble in stocks.
Oct 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great lessons on how to think about financial markets from their history.
Gary J
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Maggie gets it..understanding market cycles is important
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent historical summary of financial markets and the role of media
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