In Take on the Street, Arthur Levitt - former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission - shows how you can take matters into your own hands. At once anecdotal (names are named), informative, and prescriptive, Take on the Street expounds on, among other subjects: the conflicts of interest inherent in buy-hold-or-sell recommendations of analysts; the "seven deadly sins" of mutual funds; how accountants engage in legerdemain to fake impressive company performance; the real reason for the Street's hostility to full disclosure; the seduction by corporate management of boards of directors; and, given these shenanigans and double-dealings, some specific steps you can take to safeguard your financial future.
With integrity and authority, Levitt gives us a bracing primer on the collapse of the system that oversees our capital markets, and essential advice on a discipline we often ignore to our peril - how not to lose money.
©2002 Arthur Levitt; (P)2002 Random House Inc., Random House Audio, a Division of Random House Inc.
"Should be mandatory...for anyone with a dollar invested in the stock market." (Publishers Weekly)
"Lively and illuminating....Blends backroom revelations of a first-rate political memoir with the no-nonsense advice of a basic investment primer." (The New York Times)
This book is great for anyone who wants to read about the history of the internet bubble and how Arthur Levitt is the self-proclaimed "nice guy" in the world and tried to save us with tons of regulation. The only real tips that you get in the book is to buy index funds. The rest of the time is spent bashing politicians and corporations in a very biased way. He is touting himself constantly with very little valuable info here. Save your money. Unless you are a big Levitt fan and want to hear him ramble about how he turned his life around for the good of the individual investor...
Levitt covers relatively complex subjects on the industry, revealing to the average reader down-to-earth, sometimes shocking issues ranging from ones that can hurt the small investor directly such as the behavior of brokerages and funds to the ones that will affect him/her from the macro point of view, such as the complicated, ugly interaction among industry, government and regulators. He does all that in a clear, objective narrative that explains every financial jargon he uses in the description of the several cases.
A good listen for anyone who ever feared being labeled an apostate for speaking the heresy about conflicts of interest between Big 5 auditors and consultants and also investment bank analysts and underwriters.
The book may strike some as self-righteous, but politics aside, this is good insight and plain talk from an insider. I hope Levitt's "Chinese wall" becomes a frequent discussion topic at business schools.
I found the reading a little disorganized. I would have appreciated more references to the overall timeline and big picture, but that is always a risk with any audio version of a print book.
This book is very informative and seems to be meant for a novice investor. Levitt gives a good look at the crooked side of "The Street".
At times, he may sound self-rightous and at other times, like when describing the accounting issues surrounding the fall of Enron merely self-exculpatory. All in all, however, he provides the listner with a good introduction into the machinations of Wall Street and the back-channel dealings between it's firms, regulators and Congress. He then methodically illustrates how this affects the investor.
If you are seriously interested learning more about the "imperfections" that exist in the U.S. capital markets this book is a good starting point.
Are you and investor? Have you bought stock on an exchange? Then you need to listen to this audio book. It will scare the pants of you. You will never approach the markets the same way again.
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