This week I’m speaking with Tom Mulle, a twenty-year Wall Street veteran and founder and principal of the Pierian Fund. Tom Started his career at Value Line in the early 90’s and has worked as a technology analyst at Oppenheimer and Alkeon Capital. In 2005 he was the highest ranked analyst at Fred Alger Management by attribution. While there he co-managed two institutional technology portfolios that outperformed the Goldman Sachs Technology Index by 650 basis points while under his co-management.

In 2006 Tom left Fred Alger to found and manage the Jefferies Technology Fund. The fund generated a 26.0% positive absolute return before fees in 2008 compared to the NASDAQ decline of 41%. All said, for well thought out technology research, Tom is your go-to guy.



So, what's in your library Tom?

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One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch The first book that any future investor should read. Even in today's high frequency trading world you can be ahead of the Wall Street data points just by looking around you. There are also some useful basic accounting tips that even seasoned pros overlook. A must read for anyone starting to get an interest in finance!

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Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis "$10 million, no tears." That is the whole book right there. You never want a weak hand, but lots of times the other guy has an even weaker one. Granted that you should keep in mind that the guy who said that blew up Long Term Capital with the help of a bunch of Nobel Laureates!

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The Big Short by Michael Lewis Anyone that thinks they want to be a hedge fund manager should read this book and try to relate to Michael Burrey. He was alone and the smart money, including his institutional investors turned out to be not so smart. None of them were capable of looking forward. When it turned out that Burrey was correct, there was only silence. It reminds me of the Emily Dickinson  quote "Success is counted sweetest, by those that never succeed."

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Market Wizards by Jack D. Schwager This book shows that there are a lot of different ways to make money. Schwager interviews lots of successful traders. All but one have one thing in common: they all cut losses quickly and let their winners run.

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You Can Be A Stock Market Genius by Joel Greenblatt The book is about spin offs  which are a great way to make money. Too bad there aren't that many of them in today's world of flush private equity. 

Thanks Tom.


As an added bonus, here is a write up on Tom's own book! Tom is an accomplished writer of children's books. The one below is one of my daughter Madison's favorites.

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The Big Little Christmas Tree by Tom Kringle A touching children's story that should teach patience, especially since yesterday's world of instant gratification is probably not going to come around again for a while. It's a nice Christmas tale that should be read to the family around a warm fire.

As always you can buy any of the books Tom Mentioned here. If you'd like to see another great read, sign up for The Sure Shot Lettermy monthly newsletter that is packed full with great investment ideas.
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Today's Interview is with Herb Blank, a senior consultant at S-Network Global Indexes LLC where he develops rating systems specializing in indexes and exchange traded funds. Prior to S-Network, Herb was the Head of Quantitative Risk Solutions at Rapid Ratings for five years and was the President of QED International, his own consulting firm for 10 years. Before starting QED International, Herb worked for Deutsche Bank and managed the first ETF family to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. He has also worked at Value Line Inc. in New York. Herb started his career at Fidelity Bank, no relation to Fidelity Investments.

Herb is co-founder of the New York chapter of QWAFAFEW (The Quantitative Work Alliance For Applied Finance Economics And Wisdom). QWAFAFEW is a not-for-profit society designed for quantitatively oriented investment professionals and friends to relax and participate interactively during presentations and panel discussions on germane issues. The group has chapters in New York, Princeton, Hartford, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Denver and San Francisco. 

So, What's In Your Library Herb?


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Capital Ideas: The Improbable Origins of Modern Wall Street by Peter L. Bernstein Each chapter chronicles the life of a different quant and tells how they impacted the industry. I enjoyed reading about some of the accomplished people I have had the priviledge of working with and helped to inspire me to persevere in the quantitative field.

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A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel
This book helped shape the way I look at the market. I find it a great book to recommend as an essential primer for anyone interested in the market.

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Active Portfolio Management: A Quantitative Approach For Producing Superior Returns & Controlling Risk by Richard Grinold & Ronald Kahn This book was one of the building blocks of my career as a quantitative portfolio manager.

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No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller by Harry Markopolos
The harrowing real life experiences of a personal colleague and friend proving that the fate of a whistle blower is never easy. Harry was the man who went to the SEC three times to warn about Bernie Madoff and was shunted aside.

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Veeck--As In Wreck: The Autobiography Of Bill Veeck
The chronicles of an irrepressible maverick baseball pioneer. It taught me that the conventional path is not always the right one!

Thanks Herb.


As always you can buy any of the books Herb mentioned here. If you'd like to see another great read, sign up for The Sure Shot Lettermy monthly newsletter that is packed full with great investment ideas.



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This week I'll be speaking with Rob Wheeler, a Director at ACP Financial, specializing in high-yield debt, distressed debt, and special situations. He is an expert in sourcing and distributing alternative investments and new private equity and debt placements. Prior to ACP Rob spent fifteen years at Miller Tabak Roberts as an analyst of convertible, high-yield and distressed debt. He started his career in 1993 at The Value Line Investment Survey.

With that said, what's in your library, Rob?


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A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel Picking stocks and bonds is an exercise in futility according to this book. I'm generally in agreement with this premise, which almost by default implies that I long ago picked the wrong profession. Luckily, when I first read the book, the Value Line Investment Survey was mentioned favorably as a possible exception to the premise, so at least on paper I was in the right place. The most relevant take away from the book now is that the most lucrative investments are likely to come from markets and asset classes with asymmetric information flows.

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The Big Short by Michael Lewis
I thought I understood the housing market pretty well in 2005; at least well enough to sell my Hoboken condo that year. The housing crash seemed imminent at that time, certain in 2006 and at the precipice in 2007. The three-year run up in housing prices between 2005 and 2008 made absolutely no sense until Lewis explained the mechanics and motivation of the MBS short sellers willing to let out the rope with which the longs would eventually hang themselves. The capital markets today still reflect the idiocy of the pre-2008 bubble and post 2008 bail out making The Big Short still a worthwhile read.


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The Forgotten Man - A New History Of The Great Depression by Amity Shlaes
The Keynesians made the Depression last a lot longer than it should have according to Amity Shlaes. She offers a contrarian view of Roosevelt's attempts to deliver the country from its depressive state. In short, Roosevelt made the depression last longer than it should have. I believe this history lesson holds a lot of relevance to our current economic situation and leads one to conclude that meaningful growth will not resume until the Keynesians running the show are sent packing.


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Up In The Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell
This book is a collection of stories and essays written by Mitchell for the New Yorker from the 30's to the 50's. The essays describe the city back in the day and mentions a few of the bars and taverns that are still in existence today including McSorley's the Old Town and others. The book is a reminder that the most interesting "Street" color (ie. who is hiring, who is firing, what shop is on the way up, what shop is on the way down) usually first gets revealed over beers in Irish bars that have been around forever.


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Billy Budd by Herman MelvilleThis is the story of an American sailor who was impressed to crew on a British warship at the turn of the 18th century. Budd proves to be a popular and charismatic sailor with his new shipmates but is eventually falsely accused of planning a mutiny by an antagonizing and belligerent officer. In a fit of rage, Budd accidentally kills his superior while defending himself against the trumped up charges. Despite the protestations by the crew, who believe that Budd's actions were accidental, if not justified, he is sentenced to hang by the rules obsessed Captain Vere and achieves a martyr's status by the crew. While this book doesn't really have a business moral, it is a great read! 

Thanks Rob.

If you'd like to see another great read, sign up for The Sure Shot Letter,my monthly newsletter that is packed full with great investment ideas.

 
 
This week we'll be speaking with Marc Gerstein, a noted financial author, investment analyst and commentator. Marc is an expert in rules-based equity investing strategies and he currently works for Portfolio123.com, a platform professional and individual investors can use to develop and backtest stock screening and ranking strategies to simulate real-world performance, and maintain portfolios based on the user's rules. Prior to Portfolio123, He was a research manager at Lipper and a director of investment research at Reuters. He got his start in investing at The Value Line Investment Survey, where he was an assistant research director and a portfolio manager for Value Line's High-Yield Corporate Bond Mutual fund.

Marc has written two books on stock screening methods and an ebook on objectivism. (Please see their covers below the article).

With that said, what's in your library Marc? 


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Graham & Dodd's Security Analysis (5th Edition) by Benjamin Graham & David Dodd
Talking about investments without talking about Graham & Dodd is like talking about religion without mentioning the Bible. One key point, often missed, is that the book reminds you to actively analyze the numbers and readjust on your assumptions where appropriate and not just look passively at them.


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One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch
This book allows you to get inside the mind of a great stockpicker. Especially read chapters 6 - 9; These chapters offer timeless advice that reminds you to look off the beaten track to get stellar investment returns.


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The Warren Buffett Way by Robert Hagstrom
Another look in the mind of a great investor. Chapter four is the highpoint of this book, in my opinion, because it really shows that a stock investment is actually the process of buying part of a business.


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Wall Street Meat: My Narrow Escape From The Stock Market Grinder by Andy Kessler
One of several biographies written by former Wall Street analysts. It stands in contrast to the other books by showing the often not-so-neat and sometimes not-so-clean ways that people analyze stocks in the real world, where life doesn't conform to textbook assumptions.


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Confessions Of A Street Addict by Jim Cramer
"If this guy saw an ivory tower, he'd probably hire someone to clear off those ugly leaves!" This is a valuable book, though, because even if you aren't driven by the pulse of the market and are not a short-term trader, it is important to look into the mind of someone who is. It's also important to look behind the scenes of these investment websites on which we have all come to depend.


Thanks Marc.

As usual, if you'd like to buy one of the books, just click on the Sniper Book Bin button at the top of the page and you will be taken to my store on amazon.com. To subscribe to my investment newsletter, The Sure Shot Letter, click here.



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As promised, here are pictures of the covers of Marc's books: Buy them through the Book Bin button at the top of the page.  On a personal note, I have known Marc, and his work for about twenty years and I can tell you from experience that this man knows his stuff. Try his books. You won't be disappointed!

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Screening The Market by Marc Gerstein

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The Value Connection by Marc Gerstein

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Atlas Upgrades: Objectivism 2.0 by Marc Gerstein

 
 
Welcome back. This week I'll be speaking with Paul Olszewski, Research Director of Miller Gesko in Buffalo, New York. Paul is a CFA with over twenty years of investment industry experience. Prior to Miller Gesko, Paul was the Director of Research and Chairman of the investment council at Harold C. Brown & Company. Paul has also had stints at Merrill Lynch and ABN Amro, and started his career at Value Line Inc.

So, what's in your library Paul?


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The Little Book That Beats The Market by Joel Greenblatt
Although this book has a little bit of the feel of an infomercial, the value investing priciples Greenblatt writes about are sound. It's a good book to refer to clients who are interested in the market, but don't have an investment background.  It's an easy read, too, so it's a great book to bring on a plane or to the beach. Definitely worth a read!


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Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis 
Liar's Poker is a comical look at life as a bond trader. This story never gets old! This book is a great conversation starter for people in the business because while we don't all have stories like Lewis' we all do have stories of the crazy things that have happened to us...or our friends while working on the Street.


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Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose
A good read to help provide some perspective to those who think they have too much stress or pressure in their life. The book recounts the travails of Easy Company during World War II. From D-Day to Hitler's Eagles Nest this unit always seemed to get the toughest assignments and persevered. The horrors these men lived (and died) through make a "tough day in the office" look like a caribbean vacation!


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One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch
Lynch does a good job of making the complex sound simple. In general, his message is pay attention, and invest in what you know. Don't rely on Wall Street for your information, but instead do your own research as you walk through the malls of America. While all of what he says sounds like a great idea, putting it into practice for the average Joe is likely to get the same result as Tiger Woods saying just swing the club. Even so, for a person with some experience in investments he does have some good ideas that when put into practice, can lead to some great gainers.


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Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
What happens when a country embraces Socialism? Look around you. Rand saw it coming in 1957. While the world hasn't turned out exactly as she envisioned (more like a mix of Atlas Shrugged and 1984), there are enough parallels to make you stop and say hmmm. While the story is good and on target, Rand's writing can get a bit tedious. The message here, though, is more important than the messenger and so the book should be a must read for anyone who truly loves freedom.


Thanks Paul.

I always find it interesting to see what books people read because it gives you insight into their thought processes. The managers, analysts and traders that I interview in this blog are all successful professionals. These books have had an impact on their lives and careers. For those of you just starting out in the business, these books can be a great way to gain insights into investing and living. For you "old pros" these books could give you a new way to look at old problems. Either way they are great reads! If you'd like to buy any of these books, just click on the Sniper Book Bin button at the top of the page and it will take you to my store on amazon.com. or just click on The Sniper Book Bin.he right.

While you are in a reading mood, make sure to check out my newsletter, The Sure Shot Letter. It too is a good read. Or 



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Welcome to the inaugural issue of "What's In Your Library?" Each week I will interview a money manager, analyst or trader about what books have been the most influential on their careers. I am going to keep these articles short and sweet. One paragraph to introduce the interviewee, and then I will ask them what books have had the most influence on their careers and why. They will then have a few sentences to explain each choice.


To get the ball rolling, I'll start with my picks. To introduce myself, I am Wayne Nef, President of Sniper Research and author of The Sure Shot Letter. I have worked on the Street for over twenty years with stints at Value Line, Merrill Lynch and Circle T Partners. For the past ten years I have worked as a consultant to hedge funds through my company Nef Value Research.


So, what's in my library?
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A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. Malkiel Love it or hate it, the book lays out a lot of reasons on why most investors would be better off buying an index fund. Although I don't believe this academic totally proves his point; There are a number of managers out there that beat the market year in and year out fairly consistently (i.e. trend followers). Even so, the book does a great job relating market history and showing how hype has driven the market and individual stocks to great heights in the past, only to lead to crushing losses as reason takes hold and the bubbles burst. All said, this is a great book for anyone interested in market history.

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Innumeracy - Mathematical Illiteracy And Its Consequences by John Allen Paulos
This is a great read! Although you would think a book about statistics and probability would be a cure for insomnia, Paulos does a good job of keeping his examples interesting. Innumeracy shows how many common misconceptions occur due to people's lack of understanding of probability and large numbers. He makes a good case that many government policy blunders are caused by innumeracy as are many confused business and personal decisions. This book will be a real eye opener for those too lazy to look past the headlines!


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Candlesticks Explained by Martin J. Pring Simply the best book I have read on technical analysis in general and candlestick chart reading in particular. I keep a copy of this book on my desk as a reference for when I come upon a chart that looks like it has potential, but I just can't put my finger on why. A great book for beginners and pros alike!

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How To Make Money In Stocks - A Winning System in Good Times or Bad by William J. O'Neil
This book came out when I was just getting out of college and it is one of the first books I read on investing outside of the classroom. I loved the C-A-N S-L-I-M formula and still like to see many of those same signals in my stocks today. Who says that Value and C-A-N S-L-I-M can't mix!


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The New Money Masters by John Train
My father always said, "Try to learn from the best." This book allows you to do just that. Train has chapters dedicated to the investment strategies of legeneds such as Soros, Lynch, Rogers, Neff, Wanger and Steinardt. The book is both lively and informative. Well worth the time it takes to read!



Well, there are five books to keep you busy! I have a large library and many favorites so at some point I may come back to you with a second list. Being the author of the blog has its privileges! In the meantime, I will have a new interview for you next week. If you are interested in buying any of the books mentioned above, just click on the Sniper Book Bin button at the top of the blog and it will take you to my store on amazon.com. Or just click

HERE

Also be sure to check out my newsletter, The Sure Shot Letter