Book Review and Giveaway: Smarter Than the Street

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Smarter Than the Street: Invest Money and Make Money in Any Market by Gary Kaminsky

Gary Kaminisky is a co-host for CNBC's The Strategy Session and he recently wrote a book revealing the wealth-building secrets of wall street insiders.  I was excited to read this book because I enjoy reading about different strategies of that investors have up their sleeves.

This book was a very easy read, he writes in a very no-nonsense way with simple terminology that you can understand (I think that's the key to any personal finance book that talk about investing in the stock market).  He talks about how the next decade is going to be a zero growth decade, and why the “buy and hold strategy” won't work in our day and age.

He explains why buying mutual funds aren't a good idea, and why investment analysts really don't have your best interests at hand.  He basically says that fund managers have their hands tied most of the time, and that they aren't out there to make a ton of money, they are only out there to beat the S&P500, and are satisfied even if they beat it by a minute amount.

Gary talks about change and that change can be good or bad, and how to see whether the change is good or bad in a stock (by keeping updated on news, changes with corporate structure etc.).  He looks about two companies and how they dealt with change over the many decades they have existed, including GE and Disney.

Gary shares with the reader how many stocks they should own, and that it doesn't matter if you only have a $10,000 portfolio.  He talks about how discipline is most important with investing, and that you shouldn't be afraid to sell your losers (in fact, he encourages it).  He says that we need to avoid the herd mentality and do the opposite of what everyone else is doing (I definitely agree with this).  He also shares with the reader on how to hedge against a bad market (by buying ultra short ETFs) and says that buying indexes is basically for losers (basically says that buying ETFs= no growth for many years).

I enjoyed reading the book and reading about the insider secrets of wall street (something that One Up on Wall Street's Peter Lynch mentions) because it was easy to read, but I found that the information in the book wasn't completely 100% concrete.  He talks about shorting stocks when the markets aren't doing well.  I did like how he enunciates that your stock broker or financial advisor might not have your best interests at stake.  He mentions Suncor many times in the book as being one of the best stocks he has ever owned, and mentions a few other key stocks.  He basically says to check financial websites daily for news and information and to do your own diligence when selecting stocks.  All in all, I find this book useful for someone who hasn't read their fair share of investing books.

Readers, have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Smarter Than the Street Book Giveaway:

I will give away my copy of Smarter Than the Street to one lucky youngandthrifty.ca reader! North American entries only, please.

To enter this contest, all you have to do is subscribe to my blog and comment below to let me know you did so.  That way, I can contact you via email if you are the winner. The contest closes February 4, 2011 at midnight, PST.

The winner will be selected through Random.org and will be announced on Feburary 11, 2011.
Good luck!

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

41 Comments

  1. Steve Zussino on January 17, 2011 at 7:34 am

    I subscribe to your blog – would love to win another financial book.



  2. retirebyforty on January 17, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I am already skeptical when I hear the next 10 years will be a zero growth decade. Did he give any supporting reasons for this forecast?
    I’m already a subscriber. 😉



  3. Sustainable PF on January 17, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Interesting comments he makes … I wonder how Couch Potato followers will react.
    Anyhow, seems like an interesting read. I already follow your RSS but would like to be included in getting a chance to win this book!



  4. Echo on January 17, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Nice review. I agree with a few of the points in this book (don’t buy mutual funds, don’t blindly follow the index), but disagree with jumping in and out of different stocks.

    It’s easy to say “don’t follow the herd” but most people don’t know what that means, since they’re likely in the herd.

    I think the best approach is to find a strategy that works for you and to stick to it for the long term. Investment fads come and go, and all they do is sell books for their authors 🙂



  5. Taylor on January 17, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Already subscribed.

    There are so many different investment strategies. Lately it feels like a jumbled mess. I’m at that critical point where I know enough to feel like I know nothing at all.



  6. young on January 17, 2011 at 9:59 am

    @Taylor-Oh i know…! There’s Buy and Hold, Day Trading, Swing Trading, Dividend Investing, Value Investing… the list goes on and on!



  7. young on January 17, 2011 at 10:03 am

    @retirebyforty- Yeah, he does, but briefly. He talks about the past, about what happened in Japan. He basically is saying that between 2010 to 2020, it will look like 2000 to 2010. Where we had a huge dip in 2008-2009 and recovered a bit in 2010. Great retireby40, good luck! 🙂



  8. young on January 17, 2011 at 10:05 am

    @Echo- Agree! There were some points I really disagreed with… I guess my reaction shows that I am more into dividend investing rather than what he suggests.



  9. young on January 17, 2011 at 10:06 am

    @SPF- Yeah, he actually talks about trading ETF’s often in the book, from what I recall! Oh, of course you can be included! 🙂 My main goal is to reward youngandthrifty.ca readers 🙂 Good luck!



  10. young on January 17, 2011 at 10:06 am

    @Steve Zussino- Great! Good luck!



  11. Michael on January 17, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Count me in!

    This discussion of of a “no growth” decade makes me consider how my current dividend investing strategy fits in. If there is no growth in the stock price, but I am paid to hold the stock along the way, wouldn’t my total value actually grow?

    I understand he probably talks about this at a higher level and my example above does not consider that the share price actually declined over time rather than staying level, but it got me thinking a little.



  12. Financial Uproar on January 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    If I win the book, I will cuddle with it every night until the knowledge somehow seeps into my body.

    Or maybe I’ll read it.

    About time I’m being rewarded for subscribing. 😀



  13. Jaymus (RealizedReturns) on January 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Subscribed. Sounds like a great book.. from what you’ve said, I think I would tend to agree with most of what he is saying.



  14. young on January 17, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    @Jaymus- Great thanks! Good luck Jaymus!



  15. young on January 17, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    @Financial Uproar- After you finish cuddling it, you must put it under your pillow and wish for the Beat the Street fairy to come nightly for the remainder of 2011. Only then will you be awarded the book. 😉



  16. young on January 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    @Michael- Great- good luck! Yes, it does… that’s the good thing about dividend investing.. so if your share price decreases, you’ll still be paid dividends (unless they cut the dividend, and the stock prices tumbles some more- in the case of Manulife Financial recently). I think he means that these next few years will be a classic sideways market. We have seen this in January and the first part of last year. Up down, Up down… total rollercoaster. Only in September did we see huge increases that showed 52 week highs.



  17. Joel on January 18, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I subscribe, and would be interested in reading the book.



  18. Christina on January 18, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I am a subscriber!



  19. jjmclell on January 18, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Just wanted to let you know I’m subscribed to your blog and would be very interested in reading this book. Thanks for doing this!



  20. peg on January 18, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I already subscribe to your blog.

    I’m curious to read this book but also apprehensive because I am a firm “buy and hold” investor. This book seems completely opposite my strategy; maybe it’ll help me change?



  21. Addley on January 18, 2011 at 10:39 am

    great blog



  22. Invest It Wisely on January 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I don’t agree that buying indexes is for losers. When it comes to the long-term, who cares if there’s one depressed decade? It’s a good thing, because it means you get to buy in at cheaper valuations. 🙂

    As for the shorter-term, I think that energy is going to be a big mover, as well as commodities. This will be the name of the game until interest rates start rising dramatically, but Ben Bernanke and others are scared to death of the effects that may have on the “recovery”, so I don’t see it happening just yet.



  23. Invest It Wisely on January 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Oh, I’ve been subscribed since a very long time ago. I’ll also promote during my next roundup. 😛



  24. MoneyCone on January 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I haven’t read the book, but an interesting review!

    Does the author give reasons as to why B&H won’t work? Sure it may not work for all stocks, but a complete dismissal is a little disconcerting.



  25. young on January 19, 2011 at 12:12 am

    @MoneyCone- A lot of “nouveau” type investing advice out there states that buy and hold doesn’t necessarily work. I believe they advocate for more buy and hold, and then hold until the price becomes too inflated and sell (even Buffett the guru of Buy and Hold sold his shares before the big crash). Though Buy and Hold will be more relevant for dividend investing of course 🙂 He claims that the markets, throughout history, have a big run up and a big crash (though 2008 was the big one). He basically states that it will just repeat itself in the next decade. Most share prices seem to have recovered about 75%-80% of what they were at before the big crash.



  26. young on January 19, 2011 at 12:29 am

    @Invest It Wisely- Yeah I agree, but if you’re nearing your 40’s or 50’s, I would be cautious about the term “investing long term” 🙂 But that’s when you cash out and buy your bonds and fixed incomes, right? 😉



  27. young on January 19, 2011 at 12:30 am

    @peg- Well he sort of mentions that “buy and hold” might not work anymore because many other people aren’t doing it, people get scared and sell…there’s so much investor psychology involved 🙁 He advocates that investors these days need to have a target- a get in, get out approach.



  28. young on January 19, 2011 at 12:31 am

    @jjmclell thanks! Good luck 🙂 I don’t need the clutter in my home anyways! Best to pass on the good karma 🙂



  29. Kevin@InvestItWisely on January 19, 2011 at 4:34 am

    I don’t see much point to bonds and fixed income at today’s yields, but yes I would likely reduce the amount in equities. I’d probably still keep half or more in there even in my 40s and 50s, though.



  30. Adil Palsetia on January 19, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I subscribe to Y&T. Def love the Canadian perspective.
    Hope I win the book! Keep up the good work



  31. Big E on January 19, 2011 at 9:52 am

    easy to read = good. thanks!



  32. Paige on January 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Omgoodness, I would love this book! I am so glad to have stumbled on a Canadian finance site!



  33. young on January 19, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    @Adil @Big E @Paige- Thanks! Good luck 🙂



  34. Paul on January 20, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Hi I subscribe to you blog and would love to win the book



  35. Kevin on January 20, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Thanks for the opportunity. I have subscribed to your Blog via RSS (Google Reader). I do hope you mean that the draw date is Feb 11 2011 (not 2010 !). Rgds…



  36. young on January 20, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    @Kevin- LOL thank you! I’ll change it now. I have a tendency to keep writing 2010 until at least March. 🙂



  37. Tiff on January 25, 2011 at 8:05 am

    I just stumbled across your blog and it is fantastic – I just subscribed and can’t wait to read your next post!

    thanks 🙂



  38. young on January 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    @tiff- awe thanks! Good luck!



  39. Janet on January 26, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Good luck to me. 🙂 I just subscribed to your blog officially (even though it was already bookmarked). … Thanks Y&T for the giveaway!



  40. young on January 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    @Janet- thanks! Good luck to you too!



  41. Lumbanted on February 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    This book sounds like and interesting read. i’m still a novice and though I lept without looking I’ve been lucky. Now i want to be skilled. Thanks for your site, it’s quite helpful



  42. […] and Thrifty reviews and gives away the book Smarter Than the Street, an interesting (although, just to judge from her summary, likely infuriating to me) take on how to […]



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