Friday 2011-10-07

Uncertainty and Expectation by Gerald Ashley

Ashley seems like one of those graduates with a Politics, Philosophy, and Economics degree who take as granted being smart without being rigorous. As a result, you get a rough map of investing and a lot of opinion.

That said, this is the first introductory investing book I've read that talks about cash management as different from diversification. Most books will just say choose some N, and then go find N investments and put 1/N of your cash there. However, you take and exit positions amidst many changes: the amount of capital you have, your opportunities available, the riskiness of your portfolio, etc.

The amount of cash you keep should change over time, so what's the optimal level of cash to hold?

Somewhat like sex, every generation thinks they are discovering risk for the first time.
-- Mental Curves
Francis Galton was the epitome of the wealthy upper-class Englishman during the Victorian era, a polymath with a high degree of curiosity and a private income, he spent his entire life investigating and researching new ideas.
-- Mental Curves
Probably one of the saddest and depressing figures in the world today (2003) is that half the globe live on an income of less than US $1 a day; whereas every cow in Europe (or at least their owners) receives a subsidy of US $2 a day.
Government actions are not just statements from politicians and officials, they also use hard cash to try and push the water uphill. It is at this point they stop being spectators and find themselves players on the pitch...
-- Quantum(ish) Finance
Better =? It is at this point they go from being spectators to being speculators.
(Paul Getty) considered that during his career some of the cheapest oil he had found had been 'drilled' on Wall Street during the depression years of the 1930s.
-- Signposts
there was something wearily inevitable that government selling (of gold) would be after a 40% decline -- there was no sign that the British government were looking to exit at above US $400 in early 1996.
-- Signposts