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Banking for dummies...

Does anyone know of any good starter books about investment banking, trading, derivatives, futures, options etc, that is aimed at dummies. I already have a really in-depth mathematically focused book on Options going into partial differential equations and what have you. That's fine in many respects as I have a strong history in maths (or math) - but what I'm after is a simpler, less detailed, broader book which I can read on the tube with a hangover and leave me with a feeling of general knowledge. :-)

Any suggestions gratefully received.


Sam Strachan
Wednesday, July 23, 2003

I suppose the "Motley Fool Investment Guide" would be too dummyish for what you want?

Fernanda Stickpot
Wednesday, July 23, 2003

"From Here to Economy" by Todd G. Buchholz  was recommended to me by an economist friend of mine. It's an excellent  and entertaining read.

Chi Lambda
Wednesday, July 23, 2003

A friend of mine who's worked in IT for Investment Banks for longer than he care to remember recommended "The Business of Investment Banking" by K Thomas Liew.

Have read it myself yet.

Peter WA Wood
Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Sorry, My typing is worse than normal today. The post should have read:

A friend of mine who's worked in IT for Investment Banks for longer than he'd care to remember recommended "The Business of Investment Banking" by K Thomas Liew.

Haven't read it myself yet.

Peter WA Wood
Wednesday, July 23, 2003

"The only investment guide you'll ever need"

Here's one big thing I picked up:

The average mutual fund is -beaten- by the stock market.

So, if you want to invest in a fund, it's probably best to invest in a "indexed" fund which just buys a mix of the market.  (An S&P 500 fund is good.)

You can find indexed funds with EXTREMELY low fees - Vanguard has some with a < 0.5% fee.  (That's right, less than one half of one percent.  Most Funds run around a 3% fee.)

If you are reading an investment book, and they seem to think that you need much more than algebra I and Microsoft excel, they're probably selling something. (Then again, I run from anything that smacks of gambling - like short selling, options, whatever.)

good luck,

Matt H.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Oh, I may have read your post wrong.  It sounds like you -want- something that covers those obtuse investments.  Sorry, I can't help you.

Matt H.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003


Thanks for your responses so far. I'll be sure to look through those books. The reason I asked for your help was that, as a programmer, banking is not my core business. I know that I can understand formulae, algorithms and maths if I have to - but I just want an idea about the core business that many of my clients work in.

If they are to employ me then I'd imagine they'd want to feel comfortable themselves that I have at least some understanding of their work; the understanding I have at present is at a very abstract level. I want that to change.

Thanks again...

Sam Strachan
Wednesday, July 23, 2003


Check out

It is a bit like JoelOnSoftware, except this is for people in quantitative finance, which I assume is what you are looking for.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Slightly OT, but aren't we lucky the JOS UI isn't this ( one?

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, July 23, 2003

I actually prefer those types of boards. they are esier to navigate

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

"The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need" by Tobias is suberb; I give copies to all my relatives when they graduate college.

"A Random Walk Down Wall Street" is probably a better fit for what you are looking for.  Readable and comprehensive; a great book!


Ted Graham
Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Yeah, Random Walk Down Wall Street is good, and has a bit of math in it... what are you looking to do?
Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Most investment banks hand out this book to their new hires: An Introduction to Global Financial Markets by Valdez.

Depending on what area you're in maybe also:

Bond Markets, Analysis and Strategies by Fabozzi

and/or: Mastering Financial Calculations by Steiner.

At least those are the ones I see most often.....

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

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