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February 7, 2012 / Leslie

Review: Laughing at Wall Street by Chris Camillo

Laughing at Wall Street
by Chris Camillo

Genre: Finance, Non-Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publish Date: November 8, 2011
Format: Hardback | 240 pages

How I Beat the Pros at Investing (by Reading Tabloids, Shopping at the Mall, and Connecting on Facebook) and How You Can Too

Laughing at Wall Street is an investment book that is not based on complicated financial analysis, charts or statistics. It’s written in plain, easy to understand language without a lot technical jargon and geared toward the new investor.

I’ve read more than a few books on how to invest, pick stocks or analyze the market and most have been confusing or boring. This book isn’t like that. The author makes it interesting by explaining investing using a friendly, narrative style. He tells personal stories and gives examples to explain how he turned $20,000 into $2 Million in three years.

Studies have shown over and over that there is no correlation between financial knowledge and the ability to pick winning stocks. The secret is to be able to spot trends. The author gives us a few examples. After Michelle Obama mentioned on the Jay Leno show that her dress was from J.Crew, shoppers flooded the web page causing it to crash. That news should have been an alert to research the company as a potential investment. Months later, the stock did rise dramatically. And then there’s the story of Uggs boots. It seemed like every young girl was wearing a pair last winter. Even I should have seen that one coming. But I didn’t. The stock ultimately rose through the roof.

I’m sure a few readers are thinking that this is a nice idea but wondering where they will get the extra cash to invest. The author addresses that too. You don’t need a lot of money to get into the stock market and you should only use what he calls “Other People’s Money”.

OPM is money that under normal circumstances you would spend, but instead choose to save due to its future potential investment value.

I love this concept and it’s something I’ve been doing and didn’t realize someone had a name for it. For example, put aside the money you save by using coupons, or by brewing your own coffee, or by taking your lunch to work if you usually go out, or washing your own car, etc. Put this in a separate fund. This is the money you would risk in the stock market. He emphasizes that one should never jeopardize money you need to live on.

Towards the end of the book the author explains how to leverage your money by trading on margin. This is probably the only way to achieve a few million in three years. You need to have a little risk tolerance for this but he points out that the money he is using is OPM money, separate from retirement and other accounts. And even if you don’t push it that far, there is still a great return on the initial investment.

Today more than ever people need to take control of their financial future. The book is filled with practical advice and readers should come away with a firm grasp of the basics and be on their way to successful investing. I am now looking at the world around me differently, hoping to spot the next big trend! Recommended, especially for new or inexperienced investors.

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5 Comments

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  1. Arlee Bird / Feb 7 2012 9:47 pm

    Glad to hear this positive review. I heard about this book when I was at Blogworld in November and it sounded pretty good. Maybe I need to read this one.

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

    Like

    • Leslie / Feb 7 2012 10:05 pm

      It has a lot of good info in an easy to follow format. And I especially like the author’s emphasis on using “found” money when making what could be risky investments.

      Like

  2. Leeswammes / Feb 8 2012 6:54 am

    Sounds like an interesting book! I’m a relatively new, relatively daily, trader using our OPM. 🙂

    So I’m wondering, is this book very much directed to the American stock market, would you say? Or is it more a general book? I’ve been very cautious about trading on margin – avoided it, so far! But yes, of course that can make you a lot of money.

    I do wonder, though, this particular man may have made a lot of money, but how many others like him LOST some (or a lot of) money? You tend to hear just the success (and sometimes big fail) stories, but how about the people in the middle? I mean, are his tips likely to make me rich, or are his tips going to work for 20 out of 1,000 people and not for the rest? Oh, I’m being sceptic!

    Like

    • Leslie / Feb 8 2012 9:42 am

      The author uses the US market for examples but the advice would apply to any market.

      He made a lot of money but he put a lot of time and research into it. After he identified a trend he did market research combing through investment forums for opinions and reading articles on sites like Yahoo finance. Also, it’s just as important to know when to sell as it is to buy. But his main point was nothing technical, no charts and financials, etc. I’m sure people can lose money too if they aren’t diligent.

      My original investing philosophy was “buy what you know”, the Warren Buffet method. And it does work but it’s slow and steady. I’ve never traded on margin either because I don’t feel I understand it well enough and I don’t like to lose money. I’m not even comfortable shorting a stock. I used to trade on a regular basis and am considering doing it again now that I have more time to research and monitor them. I still have a little OPM left!

      Like

      • Leeswammes / Feb 8 2012 11:49 am

        I enjoy doing a bit of trading and stick with between 1 and 4 stocks that I buy and sell. I generally stick with one particular one that I buy “low” and sell “high”, it’s a little volatile so that works well.

        I’m not one for digging deep into research (at least not, on financial matters) and buy what you know is definitely my strategy too. I’d say, get that OPM out of the bank and get started again!

        Like

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