i often will read more than one book at a time, alternating between covers. right now i am reading george soros’ seminal work the alchemy of finance and andy kessler’s wall street meat. they are both intensely engaging books, and i have found myself doing little else but read and eat since friday afternoon.
i decided to read soros’ book early last week. i was IMing with someone at length about currency hedge positions, and the staggering returns that she is making right now courtesy of, amongst others, the chinese government’s pegging of the yuan. george soros is best known for profiting over $US 1.1 billion when he broke the pegging of the british pound.
the revised introduction to the book written by soros in 2003 is a great read. he came at finance with a philosophy background, and developed a theory he calls reflexivity as a framework within which he operates. the book is basically a damnation of the the equilibrium theory of markets, the “market fundamentalism” that is preached so loudly these days from the white house. he argues that the dogmatic paradigm that financial markets will most efficiently allocate resources is completely broken and bears little relationship to what actually occurs. mostly, it is politicians and policy makers who continue to extol the laissez faire model. the actual practitioners have moved on to multiple points of equilibrium, behavioral economics, and evolutionary game theory as more accurate descriptions of the markets.
kessler’s book is a page-turner describing his life as a tech analyst. it is a great view inside the brokerage houses, and gives a lot of insight into how wall street works.
when we were out sailing last week, i was talking with phil about getting hooked into a game, and how easy it becomes to be completely and utterly focused on the task at hand. he has been playing myst IV as well, he seems to be enjoying it much more than i am. i am investigating the idea of playing the market as a game. up until now, i have gone long, traditional buy and hold investing. i have been modestly successful, given that i launched in heavily shortly before the crash.
both of the authors that i am reading, two hugely successful investors, state that finance is a game. the biggest game on earth. of course, i have always known this, but i have been more influenced in my behavior by investors like warren buffett and peter lynch, real buy-and-hold guys. these days however, even warren buffett is hedging in the forex market. i am looking to shift my paradigm. i had visions of monkeys throwing darts at dartboards and outperforming fund managers, and thought i bet a roomful of gamers probably could do better.
about a year ago, i bought the hardware to connect my xbox controller to the mac. now i need to figure out how to map the controller’s buttons to my online brokerage’s interface….