Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Speculation: A Buck For A Good Book

No, not the good book - I said a good book!  Bargains still exist out there (if not out here).  The other day at a university bookstore I happened upon the $1 book rack (the "just get 'em the hell outta here so I don't have to recycle 'em" rack).  The usual garbage languished there in literary purgatory, but my eye was caught by Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation by Edward Chancellor.  Now you're talking to a guy who can barely resist the latest hardback new release of substance in any number of subject areas (good thing the nearest bookstore is 75 miles away) so this was an easy decision - even compared to the Michael Baigent book I bought earlier on this trip (hardback) for $5.98!  Chancellor does a good job tracing the history of financial bubbles from tulipomania to dotcom, as well as the psychology of speculators.  A quote: "When I was young, people called me a gambler.  As the scale of my operations increased I became known as a speculator.  Now I am called a banker.  But I have been doing the same thing all the time.  (Sir Ernest Cassell, banker to Edward VII)"  Remind you of Goldman Sucks CEO Lloyd Blankfein?