The Trader : Tips on how to select shares in stock market

These are few suggestions/tips I happen to learn while reading the book "The Naked Trader" by Robbie Burns. I found them extremely useful and easy to follow to pick good shares. They are as follows-
  1. Dividends, Profits and turnover are rising
  2. There are tons of positives
  3. Debt is low and under three times(3x) full year profit (PBT)
  4. Demand for its product is likely to grow. Never buy a single product company as chances of failure are much higher.
  5. It looks cheap as compare to its peers and expected growth
  6. It has full listing
  7. You understand what the company does and check the company's background
  8. There are no question marks on the company
  9. Avoid dealing in penny stocks. Its more of a gamble.
  10. The share is under 15x profit to market cap.
  11. The chart looks positive and is in upward trend.
  12. Go with the sector which is in demand. If the sector is hot and you picked the right stock then chances of making good money is quite high. Go with the trend rather then antagonistic to it.


Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt and Uncommon Sense: Economic Insights, from Marriage to Terrorism by Becker and Posner

This book can be summarize in one sentence i.e The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."

The author is definitely the advocate for free market and Laissez-faire type of economy where there is minimal intervention from the government. Throughout the book, the author held government and its policies responsible for all the financial mess we are in right now.

In accordance with author's premise financial deficit, extravagant tax burden, minimum wages laws, government sponsored inflation, tarrifs and Keynesian theory is responsible for troublesome and uncertain era we live in.
Though few of his ideas are very compelling and to the point , however, I feel author gets too tough on government and Keynes that he negates and dismisses all other theories and ideas which are indeed important going forward.

 "Uncommon sense: Economic Insights, from Marriage to terrorism" is an array of exhaustive and extensively researched essays on various topic ranging from marriage to economy. The authors don't needs any introduction as one is Nobel prize winning economist ( Gary Becker) and another is US Court Judge (Richard Posner).

Through out the book both the authors put up their unique perspective on issues and problems which are highly debatable and have no clear answers. I must admit few of solutions suggested by authors are very innovative and can be clear answer to those problems.

Beginning chapters are monotonous but once you move to later section it gets interesting and appealing.
Becker and Posner blog-


How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer

Throughout History it is believed that a person who doesn't involve emotions in decision making process tend to make better decisions. However, recent studies showed that emotions indeed play vital role in decision making process. How We Decide is a book about decision making process and How we can make better decisions by conditioning our brain. This book is written on the premise that decision making is amalgamation of art and science. A good decision maker is not the one who makes decision based on pure logic but the one who uses right combination of feelings(emotions) and thinking(logic). How we decide also analysis different parts of brain and what respective role they play in our thought process. 

For Centuries Brain has always been a mystery. It is no less than a wonder that how this 3 pound of flesh inside our skull is responsible for all the decisions ranging from simple to the most complex one can imagine.

Brain believes in continuous learning process and tend to learn from the mistakes which we make. When we try harder and learn from our mistakes, then only we can manage to make better decisions. Practice also plays a very important role in our quality of decisions. The more we practice, the more patterns(experiences) we spawn in our brain. However, it is the quality of practice rather than quantity which matter most. In crux It means we should analyze the patterns(experience), particularly mistakes and then incorporate those lessons in our future decision making. This way we can enrich our thought process and can make better decisions.

Brain works in similar patter like division of labour where each part of brain given certain responsibilities and they work in accordance with that. Lets look at different brain sections which affects the decision making process.

Among them OFC (Orbito Frontal Cortex) which is situated below the eyes is responsible for "emotions" into the decision making process. If this part of brain is defective or get damaged then a person cant comprehend the emotions and we lose access to wealth of opinion that we normally rely on. Along with Amygdala, OFC regulates our feelings and emotions

NACC (Nucleus Accumbens) along with Dopamine neurons generates pleasurable feeling. On the other hand Insulas generates painful and negative feeling. It is the combination of Insula and NACC which determines our decisions. If Insula is more activated then we tend to avoid that thing and if NACC is more activated and release more Dopamine then we tend to have pleasurable experience.

Apart from it, PreFrontal Cortex is part of brain which is responsible for rational and logical thinking. Prefrontal Cortex determines the ability to withstand emotional urges. It allows the person to reject first impressions which are often based in impulsive decisions. It helps in making informed and rational decisions by analyzing through process rather than emotional shortcuts which are impulsive and often wrong.

Author suggests few strategies which can help us in making better decisions. It works like this-

If the situation is complex and involves lots of choices and options then use your conscious mind to acquire all the information you need for making a decision. But don't try to analyse the information with your conscious mind (rational thinking). Instead distract yourself by engaging yourself in something else or take a break while your unconscious mind digest it. Whatever your intuition or instinct then tells you is most certainly going to be the best decision or choice.

On the other hand If the decision is trivial or doesn't involve much choices and complexity then it can be handled through logic and taking all variable (options) into account.

The gist is when the situation is complex and involve lot of choices (variables),  its better not to think  much about it and go by your instinct. And If the situation is simple and doesn't involve much choices then its better to make informed decision rather than rely on instinct (emotions).

Well it does sound bizarre But let me assure its worth give a try.

Another thing which particularly grabbed my attention is concept of "Loss Aversion". It is a mental defect which we all suffer from. We get so determined to avoid any option associated with loss that we are willing to risk lose everything. The thought of loss can be really dangerous and can trigger a dangerous set of feelings where you find yourself taking risk your probably shouldn't take. At such times it is always better to think or take a break before making a decision.

At last Jonah Lehrer word of advice, The best way to make sure that you are using your brain properly is to study your brain at work, to listen to the arguments inside your head. whether these arguments are repulsive or antagonistic to what you believe. still let them have a say. Then only you can make a better and informed decision.

I highly recommend this book to all who want to know how conditioning of brain can help them in making better decisions.


The Dream: How I Learned the Risks and Rewards of Entrepreneurship and Made Millions by Gurbaksh Chahal

Quite an Inspirational and Interesting read.

Though the biography is full of adage which everyone must have heard and read myriad times.. Inspite of that this biography is like a fresh air with few interesting narration which indeed makes this book quite a treat to read.

A worthy read for all book lovers.


The Armchair Economist by Steven Landsburg

Most of the economics can be summarized in four words "People respond to Incentives".. This is how Landsburg commence this book which is full of bizarre riddles, solved by not so common economics principles.

The books take you on the journey where every chapter is like a riddle which compels you to think and exhaust your brain to the core. Landsburg basic premise is that "things and situations which look simple are actually much more complicated in reality."

However, on various fronts I disagree with his findings which seemed ludicrous and too impractical (specially his anti-environmental approach)

The Polyester Prince by Hamish McDonald

If you can get it, Read it.
It will take you on the journey of Dhirubhai Ambani's struggle, competence, hard-work, excellent management skills and forward thinking.
This book also take into account the darker side of Dhirubhai Ambani and that could be the reason behind the possible ban on this book in India. The tussle between Dhirubhai Ambani and Nuslie Wadia to control the polyester market was no less than a thriller.

While Reading the book I felt like I am witnessing the India's Post Independent Political History. Author covers the license raj with such pragamatic view that you cant agree more with him. Hamish extensive research of India's corporate world of 1980s and 90s shows how an Industrialist(read Dhirubhai Ambani) took advantage of the tedious and corrupt bureaucratic set up rather than crying over it. As Author quoted Dhirubhai Amabani words "You should not do anything illegal. First of all, the law should be changed" And Dhirubhai Amabani indeed did it.

The Darker side of Dhirubhai Amabani abilities was an eye for human weakness and willingness to exploit it. This indeed was his most used weapon o his journey from rags to riches. Inspite of all the flaws he came out as an inspirer, a forward looking industrialist and creator of the India's largest Private Sector company having the biggest investor base. Dhirubhai Amabani had the knack to seize the opportunities at the right time..

Overall A bold step by Author Hamish McDonald to reveal the complete portrayal of most celebrated business tycoon in Indian History.


How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes by Peter Schiff

A quick and informative read.

A nice overview of the other side of Economics which is thoroughly neglected in today's era. Gives new meaning to economic terms like inflation, deflation, stagflation, spending etcetera . I never knew that saving and production of goods and services are more important component of healthy economic growth rather than spending. And Deflation is actually a good thing for economies as well as consumers.
Peter Schiff also take a shot at fiscal deficit and how we are negating the truth about deficit bubble which is building right now across the world and can be more scary and slaughtering than ever seen before.

Criticizes Keynesian theory and blames it for recession and the mess which we are in right now.

Allegories used by author makes the book entertaining, interesting and fun to read. Must read for all who have slightest interest in economics and the world we live in.


Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers: The Story of Success can be encapsulated as follows-Outliers are those who have been given opportunities and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them. They were born in the right time at the right place."

I cant agree more with the author. Outliers:The Story of Sucess is full of illustrations to support his premise and he indeed succeeded in proving it.
However, I felt Malcolm Gladwell just lengthened the book with paltry narration which could have been easily avoided (especially the part "The ethnic theory of plane crash"). I kept on yawning throughout the chapter.

The Epilogue was touchy and summarized the book in a wonderful and memorable way".

Made a good read and highly recommended.


The Importance of being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of being Earnest- The trivial comedy for Serious people

"Comedy of Manners and epitome of Sarcasm". This is how I will describe this lively play of my favourite play writer "Oscar Wilde".
The way he describes the essence of Victorian Era is remarkably humorous but has so much truth hidden in it.

Characters in the play are so real and fathomable that you actually relate each character to the people whom you interact and communicate on day to day basis .

Its hard to choose the favourite character in this masterpiece of Oscar Wilde but if I have to choose my vote goes to Algernon Moncrieff for his candid sarcasm which is beyond comparison and full of humour.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

I liked this book for its comprehensible and simple language in explaining the complex and enigmatic world of Human Psychology. The author cleverly explains the pitfalls and benefits of Instinctive and adaptive unconscious.

Malcolm Gladwell explains the complex psycho - analysis through real world experiences and how the initial two seconds are enough to make important an decision.
And he very interestingly explains how excess information which seem to be relevant and in context can actually act as distraction and moves us towards wrong conclusions and false beliefs.

He takes into account both the positive aspect of the adaptive unconscious in decision making and weakness in form of impulse judgement based on stereotypes and prejudices.

However I find some of the examples paradoxical and not that suitable and relevant to justify the authors premise ....

I enjoyed reading it as a naive and amateur psychology enthusiast and looking forward to read "Outliers - The 3rd book in the series."