Last week while we were on hiatus we asked a slew of independent bloggers a series of five questions.  We were gratified by the responses and were happy people enjoyed them.  We figured you might be interested in our answers as well.

Monday – What is your favorite finance/trading/investment book?

Short answer: Market Wizards by Jack Schwager

Long answer: The breadth of answers from bloggers shows just how personal a favorite investment book may be. It really depends on when in your career you come across a certain book. In our case Market Wizards drove home a number of points about trading the most important of which was that there are many different ways to trade successfully.  Every great trader develops their own preferred methodologies over time and through trial and error.  In short, there are many ways to make money in the market, none of which are easy.

Tuesday – What finance/trading/investment book, published in the past five years (post-crisis), do you recommend?

Short answer: The Big Short by Michael Lewis

Long answer: Even this shorter time period produced a wide variety of answers from the bloggers.  I read The Quants by Scott Patterson, The Greatest Trade Ever by Gregory Zuckerman and The Big Short in quick succession.  This trio of books was a useful education on the investment side of the crisis.  The standard issue crisis books held little interest for me, in part because I feel had already covered that ground on a day-to-day basis.  One other post-crisis book I would recommend would be The Fearful Rise of Markets by John Authers.  A quick and dirty review of the rising importance of financial markets and their role in the crisis that ensued.

Wednesday – If you had to put your portfolio into a blind trust who (any investor/trader/institution) would you hire to manage it?

Short answer:  Seth Klarman, Baupost Group

Long answer: This was a tough question I included to get people to think.  If you had to turn over your portfolio to one individual or entity the inclination would be to pick some one with a keen sense of value and a willingness to hold cash when opportunities are limited.  I also liked Meb Faber’s idea of splitting the portfolio between Klarman and Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies.

Thursday – If you could only read one blog, not Abnormal Returns, what would it be?

Short answer:  Pass

Long answer: I liked the fact that collectively the bloggers ended up picking sites that dominate our daily linkfests.  I have to pass in large part because our reading patterns are so different than most people’s.  I would note that on the economic side Calculated Risk is pretty close to a one-stop.  I also liked the recommendation of The Browser for a general interest site.

Friday – If you were not involved with the markets in some way what you would you be doing instead?

Short answer: Something creative and self-directed.

Long answer: I loved the fact that so many bloggers gave answers involving creativity and entrepreneurship.  These are really the principles of blogging as well.  The millions of blogs out there are nothing more than little start-ups.  Most languish and fail.  Some go on to great success.  In any event there is little that substitutes for the thrill of building something up from nothing.

Thanks again to all the bloggers who participated.  We hope you enjoyed the results and hopefully provided you with a little food for thought.

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