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Where Are the Customers' Yachts?: Or a Good Hard Look at Wall Street
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Where Are the Customers' Yachts?: Or a Good Hard Look at Wall Street

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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,494 ratings  ·  110 reviews
"Once I picked it up I did not put it down until I finished. . . . What Schwed has done is capture fully-in deceptively clean language-the lunacy at the heart of the investment business."
-- From the Foreword by Michael Lewis, Bestselling author of Liar's Poker ". . . one of the funniest books ever written about Wall Street."
-- Jane Bryant Quinn, The Washington Post

"How g
...more
Paperback, 170 pages
Published December 1st 2005 by Wiley (first published 1940)
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Aleksandr Batalov
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very easy and pleasurable reading, highly recommended to everyone BEFORE starting investing their money ;) as for a former insider of the financial industry, the book proved to be really entertaining for me, with a good portion of irony and satire. I find it especially amusing that almost nothing has changed in the last 75 years (since the book was written in the 1940), however, this is, most likely, due to the fact that a biological machine, aka homo sapiens sapiens, is primarily lead by emot ...more
Ron II
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Schwed covers some important ground in what may be one of the most important books ever written about Wall Street; the craziness of financial predictions, the desperate nature of stock brokers (today known as "financial advisors), the psychotic tendencies of the investing public, and capitalism - that old hag. While the faces behind Wall Street have changed, the lunacy remains. Anyone with more than $1 invested in the stock market should own this book. FULL DISCLOSURE: As a financial author myse ...more
Hanno
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: investing
If you want to read one book on investing / stock markets, take this. Although written 75 years ago, applies very well today. One of the few books on subject that is actually funny and entertaining yet still conveys valuable lessons.
Rolling Ideas
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buffett
It's an insightful and witty read as promised.

The probe into the wall street operations forces you to rethink "passion" for the financial markets. On the pessimistic note, the win-loss situation turns to be coin flips. No speculators will beat the market forever. Market is naturally unpredictable as weather appears. Experts such as, statisticians, partners or even thinkers offer ostentatious profundity, sometimes even self-deceiving.

Now you wonder the ever-glowing heat of quants in the financi
...more
Viktor Nilsson
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Every now and then, it happens that some poor financially illiterate soul gets suckered into the world of speculation. Tempted by the wealth and the yachts of the bankers and the brokers, he sets out on his own quest for riches. One man seeing the same thing as this man (it's usually a man) famously asked the question we all ought to have asked:

Where are the customers' yachts?

Sadly, there is a lot of truth in that comment. "Wall Street", or financial services at large, are inventions made for ma
...more
Jonathan
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I heard about this little book in Alice's Schroeder The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the business of life. As many others reviewers have said before me it is indeed funny to think that now in 2015 when I read this book at the age of 32 it is as relevant as it was when it was first written back in 1940. Good reminder that in whatever has to do with money, the lunacy remains and history repeat itself. In the words of Peter Lynch, "if the only reason you can give when buying a stock is that the suck ...more
Duncan
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very funny. Old-style humor, probably will go over the head of most modern day readers. Some of it is pretty oblique. His insights are as fresh as ever, and now most new "experts" on the matter (e.g. Kahneman or Michael Lewis) don't feel at all original. Nothing has changed on Wall Street, it's still a casino.
Dan Gabree
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good book. Seems simple at first but by the end you catch onto the subtle truths underneath the dry wit.
Justin
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: money
Not too useful for someone who already doesn't think highly of wall street (and people in general)
ScienceOfSuccess
Dec 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: waiting
I have no idea why someone would ever read it. 170pages of crying how evil wall street is.
Dina
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
All time investment classic.
Mark Bullock
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
This is an older book, written in the 40's I think, but is still relevant today. What was enlightening was that many of the things that bother us about Wall Street today are the same things people were worrying about 80 years ago. No better, no worse, people are people after all. I think it's a hard thing to be that close to that much money and maintain a healthy perspective. Time has proven that. Fortunately, instead of stockbrokers cold calling us today we have mutual funds, fiduciaries, 401K' ...more
Avadhoot Joshi
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simple ideas and concepts of investing have been summarised very well.

Chapter 44 (STOCK MARKET NEWSLETTERS) which describes about how people are constantly looking for Buy & Sell recommendations and how it keeps going News letter/ Tip service industry - is a must read. The whole Tip service industry has been explained in most hilarious way.

Chapter 47 (SOME IMPORTANT BASICS), emphasises on 3 important basics viz. compounding, rule of 72 and inflation adjusted returns - is a must read as well.
...more
Imran
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very easy read highlighting some of the absurdities of Wall Street and 'investing' through short examples. A fun in-between read for anyone looking for a nice pick-me-up on investing, finance, and on the allure of Wall Street.
Milan
Jan 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: markets, non-fiction
Where Are the Customer’s Yachts? by Fred Schwed Jr. is a classic book and an amusing take on investing which exposes the investment industry for what it is and offers some contrarian advice on how to invest money.

A few points worth noting:
• If you are not a skeptic, you are not an investor.
• One can’t say figures lie. But the numbers used in financial statements could be fiction.
• Bankers lack the ability to do nothing. They crave action.
• The individual investor is still located at the very bo
...more
Terry Koressel
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
Where Are the Customers' Yachts? is a critical....and hilarious....review of Wall Street. Like any industry, there are competents and inepts; those with integrity and the dishonest; folks who are out to serve their customers and those that are out for themselves. However, it is possible that Wall Street has more than its fair share of the negatives, given the belief that big money is attainable without the years of study or the incredibly hard work that is required of any successful professional ...more
Drew
Dec 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: finance
A fun book that offers no solutions nor concrete advice, but does it's darndest to illustrate the problems on 1930's Wall Street, most of which are as poignant today as they were then. Schwed is consistently entertaining, self-deprecating and fair minded towards those oft villified wall street bankers and brokers.

A key point Schwed makes that's worth remembering (especially these days) is that mistakes are made more often out of well-intentioned idiocy than crookery, but that each are equally d
...more
Adam
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Even if you don't have a deep interest in investing or personal finance this book is a must read because all people are or ought to be investing. In fact the more nascent or open to learning the better because this book is a great foundation for how investing should be understood and executed. It is fairly straight forward and simple though it does have a bit of financial verbiage that people may not be used to coming across if new to investing. Regardless, the author does a great job of explain ...more
Mahesh
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
1. Speculation is almost nothing but coin flipping.
2. Story on buying stocks witch dividend and sell them only when they go down .

3: %commissions on buying and selling stock
4. Price vs value
5. Sell all the stocks at the peak of the book and invest in bonds. Bonds might go down further but don't pay attention .

6. When it's bust buy the stocks from the people who are dying to sell the stock by selling bonds even at loss and stocks may go down further don't pay attention and wait until the peak of
...more
Barry Bridges
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice, cynical view of Wall Street that everyone should read before investing. A classic, in that is was written in 1940, a timeless classic in that is still rings solid and true. Constantly funny in an intellectual and dry wit.
Gregory Long
Dec 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Quoted by Malkiel, I thought I would read this. The names of institutions and professional titles have changed over time, but Schwed comically and wittily proclaims why broker dealers are only in it for themselves - in the 40's and today.
Ned
May 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
An inside look of the wall street from back in the early days. The author presents some of the details and rational for different investment strategies. The book is a little diluted so for a solid financial advice read some other book, for entertainment and history would read this book.
Rishi Prakash
Aug 03, 2011 rated it liked it
A book which is still running so well after 60 years gives a clear indication on its content! Wall Street has never looked so funny before! A story from an insider.
Mat
Mar 02, 2012 rated it liked it
More proof, as if any more were needed, that Wall Street is full of dorks. It would be funny if it weren't so sad.
Ace
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Easily the best explanation of the dynamic between financial services professionals and their customers.
Senthil
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Do you want to get a glimpse of how the fun filled & crazy financial world functioned in 1920's and even now ?
Read this awesome book.
...more
Julian Bu
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
one of the best, with penetrating insights and humor
Tim Robinson
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics
A very funny book and probably the truest and most enduring description of American finance ever written. Delightful.
Godfrey
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Time fells the favored;
the fallen rise. Yet this old
book is plenty wise.
KennyO
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finance-money
So you've got a good broker making you lots of money? The title of this little gem speaks volumes much larger than this little book. Read this and put your feet firmly on the ground.
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“Speculation is an effort, probably unsuccessful, to turn a little money into a lot. Investment is an effort, which should be successful, to prevent a lot of money from becoming a little.” 12 likes
“The notion, a debatable one, is that the man who knows the problems necessarily knows the answers.

This book has not been successful if it has not suggested some big-league problems, such as:

(1) Should our financial machinery be scrapped?
(2) Should it be further tinkered with, and if so, how much further?
(3) Is capitalism doomed?
(4) What active stock selling under five dollars looks hot just now for a quick turn to pay for the Buick the wife just bought?


There isn’t an assistant instructor in economics in any faculty who can’t answer these and similar questions rapidly and categorically, and if that is not enough there are a million laymen eager to do so. So I don’t feel that my vote is much needed.”
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