Can a better understanding of Wall Street help us become more successful investors? We are joined by Jason Zweig, a highly respected financial journalist, “The Intelligent Investor” columnist at The Wall Street Journal and author. His latest book, The Devil’s Financial Dictionary provides an entertaining, informative and insightful look into Wall Street’s true nature.
At various times in our history the financial industry, Wall Street in particular, has been demonized as a monstrous machine of avarice and greed. This caricature typically occurs during and after market busts. As we have discovered in recent manias in internet stocks, housing prices and emerging markets, few complain when prices are going up. It is only in the pain of the fall that the old suspicions, distrust and political and public uproar re-emerge.
Following the market crash of 1929 social commentator and humorist Will Rogers wrote in a letter to the editor of The New York Times: “Sure must be a great consolation to the poor people who lost their stock in the last crash to know that it has fallen in the hands of Mr. Rockefeller, who will take care of it and see that it has a good home and never be allowed to wander around unprotected again.” Rogers went on to say: “There is one rule that works in every calamity. Be it pestilence, war or famine, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
Great nineteenth century humorist, satirist and author, Mark Twain wrote of investing: “October: this is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks in. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February.”
In the aftermath of the last financial crisis there are many Americans who agree with both gentlemen’s sentiments, which is one of the reasons this week’s guest, Jason Zweig wrote his latest book The Devil’s Financial Dictionary.
The book is modeled after the original The Devil’s Dictionary which was published in 1906 and authored by Ambrose Bierce, a then wildly popular satirist and contemporary of Mark Twain.
Jason Zweig, a highly respected financial journalist doesn’t’ usually do satire. He writes “The Intelligent Investor” column for The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several serious books including Your Money and Your Brain and is the editor of the revised edition of Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor .
Thank heavens Zweig has expanded his writing repertoire. The Devil’s Financial Dictionary is both educational and entertaining, with definitions like: “Synergy, n. Often, the only thing one company gets when it buys another”, and “Rumor, n. The Wall Street equivalent of a fact”. On this week’s WEALTHTRACK, we discuss his inspiration for the book and how a better understanding of Wall Street can help us become more successful investors.
In addition, we have an EXTRA interview with Jason Zweig available exclusively on our website. If you are unable to join us for the show on television, you can watch it on our website, WealthTrack.com, or bysubscribing to our YouTube Channel. As always, we welcome your feedback on everything we do, and hope you connect with us online, or via Facebook or Twitter.
Thank you for watching. Have a great weekend and a very Happy Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for living in this great country.
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From the WEALTHTRACK Archives:
Jason Zweig Wall Street Satire
The Wall Street Journal’s” Intelligent Investor” columnist, Jason Zweig, reached back more than a hundred years for a model for his latest book, The Devil’s Financial Dictionary. Why did he choose the now little known satirist Ambrose Bierce to emulate?