Clash of The Financial Pundits at Bookstore

May 10, 2014

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Clash of the Financial Pundits: How the Media Influences Your Investment Decisions for Better or Worse

Clash of the Financial Pundits: How the Media Influences Your Investment Decisions for Better or Worse
By Joshua M. Brown, Jeff Macke

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Product Description


There is no shortage of financial advice these days. From cocky cable pundits to nattering news columnists to off-grid online bloggers, there are more so-called experts than ever before--and the noise can be downright deafening.

This no-bull, bottom-line guide from "The Reformed Broker" Josh Brown and Yahoo Finance's Jeff Macke will help you cut through the cacophony and make the most of today's media news. It's an eye-opening crash course in separating financial facts from fiction-featuring interviews with some of the world's most influential investors, including:

JIM CRAMER (Mad Money) takes you behind the scenes of his polarizing TV program--and talks about his clash with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

HENRY BLODGET (Business Insider) shares anecdotes about tangling with Eliot Spitzer, covering the Martha Stewart trial, and launching his Business Insider site as a "marked man."

BEN STEIN (Win Ben Stein's Money) reveals how he really feels about Bernanke, Bogle, Buffett, and bailouts.

KAREN FINERMAN (CNBC's Fast Money) exposes the hype behind the headlines-and the "show biz" demands on television news pundits.

HERB GREENBERG ( explains why investors need to follow social media, where the "real" news is disseminated.

BARRY RITHOLTZ (Bailout Nation) reveals his secret for "watching" financial TV.

You'll also find invaluable insights from the original father of financial TV, Jim Rogers, and from James Altucher, the most shockingly honest commentator in the history of the medium. And you'll get a front-row seat for the processing and packaging of the news and learn everything you need to know about the talking heads who shape each day's narrative.

Up-close. In-depth. All-true. Clash of the Financial Pundits is the one guide that will change the way you look at markets and investing forever.

PRAISE FOR JOSH BROWN'S BACKSTAGE WALL STREET: "Much like Michael Lewis's Liar's Poker captured the essence of 1980s institutional Wall Street, Brown's Backstage Wall Street re-creates the boiler room retail brokerage culture of the 1990s and early 2000s in vivid color." -- FORBES

"Joshua Brown may be the funniest writer on finance today, but Backstage Wall Street could make you cry more than laugh. The buffoons, manipulators, and incompetents Brown parades before us are the stewards of our retirement accounts." -- BARRON'S

"Run don't walk to read Brown's chronicles of deception [perpetrated by] those wonderful folks on Wall Street, who nearly bankrupted the world's financial system a few short years ago." -- DOUGLAS A. KASS, Seabreeze Partners Management, Inc.

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #7509 in Books
  • Published on: 2014-04-29
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .0" h x .0" w x .0" l, 1.10 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 256 pages

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover 


You've read the finance section of every major newspaper, magazine, newsletter, and blog on the Internet, as well as a countless number of tweets. But how do you separate the news from the noise? The facts from the frenzy? The informed insight from the wild guess?

Three words: READ THIS BOOK.

Written by fearless financial insiders Joshua Brown and Jeff Macke, Clash of the Financial Pundits will help you distinguish Wall Street hype from real-world tips. It gives you the context you need to make informed decisions in a world where information inundates us around the clock.

About the Author 

JOSHUA M. BROWN is the CEO and co-founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management, a national registered investment advisory firm. He is the author of Backstage Wall Street, the creator of The Reformed Broker blog, and an on-air contributor to CNBC.

JEFF MACKE is the host of Breakout on Yahoo Finance. Prior to that he was an original cast member of CNBC's Fast Money, founder of Macke Asset Management, and a hedge fund manager.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
5Another Book Review from the Aleph Blog 
By David Merkel 
Josh Brown's last book, Backstage Wall Street, was four books in one. This book, Clash of the Financial Pundits, is three books in one. The authors cover three things:

* Punditry in history
* How to understand modern pundits
* Interviewing modern pundits

I will take them in that order:

Punditry in history

The book covers the following eras in punditry:

* The Crash that Started the Great Depression
* The South Sea Bubble
* Joe Granville
* Harry Dent, Charles Kadlec, Dow 36,000
* Martin Zweig
* Jim Cramer was right during the 2008 crash

Roger Babson warned people about how high the stock market was, while Irving Fisher talked about stocks hitting a "permanently high plateau." The South Sea Bubble had many in the 1700s media stoking the flames of speculation. Joe Granville was hot stuff in the late 70s and early 80s, but was dead wrong the rest of the time.

Harry Dent, Charles Kadlec, and the crew that put together Dow 36,000 created their own sensational predictions which proved to be controversial and very wrong. Martin Zweig was right about the 1987 crash, while Jim Cramer controversially was right during much of the 2008 crash.

How to understand modern pundits

Then comes the basic advice to help us weather the storm of advice that floods the media. The main topics are:

* How to use financial media intelligently?
* Need for humility
* Hedge fund managers that talk to the public
* People who act certain attract belief
* Wall Street maxims often contradict each other
* Making predictions that are squishy (surprises lists)
* There are no experts

Using financial media intelligently means limiting the intake, and limiting its effect on you. We must be humble in what we understand and accept, and we should listen to those that are humble in what they say.

When hedge fund managers speak publicly, realize that they are speaking their own interests. They may not be right. Also, those who speak with certainty on TV tend to attract more belief than those who are more humble and nuanced.

There are many soundbites in financial television, radio and writing. For every maxim, there is a counter-maxim.

There is an art to making predictions that can't be falsified, such as surprise lists. It would help us all if we all realized there are no experts in investing, and that even includes me.

Interviewing modern pundits

Jeff Macke, Josh's Co-author interviews the following pundits:

* Jim Rogers - former manager of the Quantum Fund, author of many books.
* Ben Stein - speechwriter for Nixon, written a scad of books, etc.
* Karen Finerman - founder, owner & head of Metropolitan Capital, on CNBC's Fast Money
* Henry Blodget - Internet stock analyst 1998-2002, and now the editor and CEO of The Business Insider, a business news and analysis site, and a host of Yahoo Daily Ticker, a finance show on Yahoo.
* Herb Greenberg - wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle's business section, for, and has appeared on CNBC many times.
* James Altucher - Entrepreneur and blogger. He contributes content in many journalistic outlets.
* Barry Ritholtz - Writes for and his own popular blog. Also writer of the excellent and early crisis book Bailout Nation. Josh Brown works with him at their firm.
* Jim Cramer - Former hedge fund manager, founder of, host of the show Mad Money which appears on CNBC.
* Jeff Macke - Josh's co-author, currently working for Yahoo Finance, who relates a tale of when he screwed up badly as a pundit.

These are good interviews, and it gives the readers an internal look as to what it is like to be in front of the media, particularly amid controversy. Each of the nine interviews sheds light on being a pundit, but in different ways.

Jim Rogers has talked about macro issues, and with a varied track record in the short-run. Ben Stein has said many controversial things over time. Karen Finerman has the story of being invited onto CNBC's Fast Money, and taking a sip from the firehose as the first woman, one with no TV experience, and surviving.

Henry Blodget goes through his errors in the Internet Bubble, and how he has found redemption in writing about finance. Herb Greenberg, the consummate skeptic, describes what it is like to take unpopular positions versus popular stocks. James Altucher oozes blood over much of what he writes, telling of his own failures and successes in excruciating detail.

Barry Ritholtz, skeptic par excellence, describes the attitudes of interviewers, and the limited range of thought they have. He delights in giving them answers that trouble them, like, "I don't know."

Jim Cramer is perhaps the most controversial of all. I have known him, albeit distantly for 15 years. He is very bright, but falls into the trouble of making too many predictions.

And so it is for most pundits. Amount of predictions is inversely proportional to their quality.

The last "interview" is where Jeff Macke relates a failure of his on CNBC, tells a story of how pundits are human. They have stresses in their lives. They make mistakes. They are people, humans, like you and me.