Friday, August 5, 2011

Jason Zweig on Wall Street ethics

A funny but sadly true note:

Wall Street may have higher ethical standards than some businesses (smuggling, prostitution, Congressional lobbying, and journalism come to mind) but the investment world nevertheless has enough liars, cheaters, and thieves to keep Satan's check-in clerks frantically busy for decades to come.

--Jason Zweig

That's in a footnote on page 262 of the 2003 revised edition of Benjamin Graham's classic book The Intelligent Investor. Graham first published the book in 1934 and revised it several times, publishing his final edition in 1973. Graham died in 1976.

A new edition was published in 2003, with the original text of Graham's last edition left intact, but surrounded with Talmudic-style treatment by Jason Zweig. Jason's new commentary appears after each chapter and in footnotes. This brings the book up to date and adds some perspective and humor, and notes cases where Graham has been vindicated or (rarely) disproven by history.

This kind of layered text is, as far as I know, unusual among financial writings. I'm finding it an enlightening read because newer writings haven't had time for history to shine light on their assertions, so they may all sound plausible or implausible depending on the reader's mood.

No comments:

Post a Comment