Your favorite business/investment teacher/columnist
September 19, 2007 1:49 PM   Subscribe

Who is your favorite investment/business columnist/blogger/guru that you trust because they can think for themselves and teach and not follow the herd?

I like to know how the business/investment world works and I am looking for smart teachers who can give prescient and independent advice.

For example, back in 2005 I was looking for a guru who could actually explained and predicted the lunacy of the subprime market back in 2005.

Jim Jubak explained the mess brilliantly in 2007 , two years too late for me.
Jubak's Journal8/10/2007 12:01 ET
How Wall Street got into this mess

Business Week also had an explantory article too late for me, at

I have heard names such as Marc Faber being a person worth following.

So who are your trustworthy favorite(s)?

Thanks a million.
posted by cluelessguru to Work & Money (9 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
This is the cliché answer to your question - but you can't argue with the "Sage of Omaha's" success.
posted by LakesideOrion at 1:55 PM on September 19, 2007

That was the first name that sprang into my mind as well. Guys like Cramer are basically just marketing themselves. Buffet tells it as he sees it, and his judgment is beyond compare. You can read his annual "columns" here.
posted by caddis at 2:25 PM on September 19, 2007

I'm a big fan of Eric Janszen over at He predicted the current debacle (as well as the dot-com implosion) several years out.
posted by saladin at 2:41 PM on September 19, 2007

It's not difficult to enumerate a long list of reasons that things could go wrong, and have a few of them happen in the 2-5 years after you compile the list.

If you bailed out of stocks on 8/31/05 (when some super-genius no doubt declared that securitization was getting out of hand), you'd have missed a 13.72% annual return from the S&P. Even though the super genius was right. So a large part of being "right" is being timely, which is a lot harder than bulleting a few things that are wrong with the economy.

Both bears and bulls are proven right, eventually.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:06 PM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have a high respect for Alexander Elder. He's always come across as honest and trustworthy to me. You can find more about him if you put his name into google.
posted by jclovebrew at 3:35 PM on September 19, 2007

One reason I like Andrew Tobias's writings is that he keeps things in the proper perspective, with timely reminders that most people should invest mostly in low-cost globally-diversified equity index funds to enjoy the long-term gains seen in the stock market as a whole rather than trying to pick winners. At the same time...he tries to pick winners, which is fun to follow and exposes one to some pretty intesting companies. Plus, if you get bored, he's got nearly 12 years of archives of his daily column online and a nice concise book on investing -- plenty of wisdom to take in.
posted by backupjesus at 4:16 PM on September 19, 2007

Dean Baker fits the bill in every possible way. He likes to call the reactions of most media-quoted experts to the subprime crisis the "who could have known?" school of economics. (Also, he often points out that the crisis is not just with subprime.)
posted by transona5 at 4:20 PM on September 19, 2007

My most useful (and hard won) knowledge: no guru I know of is able to, or willing to, give either paid or free advice that will consistently beat the market. Be very very skeptical of everything you read. After getting down the basics from some book like Investing for Dummies, if you're willing to put in the effort to create your own inner guru, learn from a web site that can offer carefully vetted information, for example, CXOAdvisory blog which reviews academic research that day after day blows up most of the Great Investing Myths that we all learned over the years. They also less formally review the track records of self proclaimed gurus.

In addition to Jubak (above), MSNMoney offers commentary from Jon Markman, who always has something interesting to offer up:

The AAII has extensive resources including very successful stock screens (with explanations on what makes the screens successful, and with their historical returns graphed out--membership required to access). The descriptions of their stock screens, based on published gurus' ideas, might be your single best source of information about what works on Wall Street. At least get a trial subscription in order to review those screens.

Now and then read Investors Business Daily and understand their system (two versions of which are described, with results, at the AAII site above.).

Use you highest level of skepticism for recommendations based on technical (ie, chart) analysis. Humans are hard wired to be pattern seeking creatures and biased toward seeing what they want to see; think ink blot tests only with a greater potential to lose money.

The Kirk Report has a good list of links to what market followers are talking about on any given day.

Cramer claims to be educating but the sites that track his recommendations would suggest his returns are only average these days, and if his blizzard of recommendations from the entire show were actually traded, the commission cost would imo swamp any potential profits. He disputes this, saying only certain of his recommendations should be traded (!) and I think CNBC has asked at least some web sites to stop tracking the success of his recommendations.

Mark Hulbert at Marketwatch tracks the guru newsletters and applies statistics to develop useful investing information.

If you decide that the game isn't interesting enough to justify the extra few points in annual return to justify all the effort, consider the unfortunately named Lazy Man's Portfolios, whose returns put to shame most of the active mutual fund managers, and only require a few minutes per year in maintenance. No more than 20% of actively managed mutual funds outperform the indexes in any year, and almost none do it year after year (and there are more funds than stocks out there, so you'd think a few of them would win over time by chance).

Finally, some Deep Thoughts on the Practice of Investing:

Warren Buffett: Be brave when others are afraid, and afraid when others are brave.

The market can remain irrational longer than I can remain solvent.

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill
posted by bbranden1 at 5:18 PM on September 19, 2007 [4 favorites]

Nils Pratley and Larry Elliott (both at the Guardian) are both good writers and have the rare gift of a sense of historical perspective when it comes to current financial events.

They principally write from a UK/London perspective (as you would expect) but don't let that put you off. The articles are usually well argued and well worth reading whatever side of the pond/globe you are on.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 11:06 AM on September 20, 2007

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