Jul. 29th, 2010

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I can't remember the precise day when I decided that I no longer needed to own every book that O'Reilly published. It was probably about when they published their third book on Oracle databases, and I had to admit that even though the books were quite good, I'd never be able to remember all that information, much less use it.
But I still keep track of when a publisher or an editor is so reliably on that I can recommend that someone buy anything they publish, much like I keep an eye out for artists and authors whose new work I will purchase sight unseen.
It is thus with a heavy heart that I must report that my current favorite intro-to-investing series has jumped the shark. I have always been of the view that Gold investors are basically crazy, since a bet on Gold is a bet that Civilization will Fall, and if Civilization actually does fall, trust me, you have more immediate problems than the state of your investment portfolio. To paraphrase a late 19th century economist, The Means Of Production is Where It's At.
And commodity investors are the next step further around the bend than gold-bugs. So I looked to the most recent installment of the Little Book, Big Profits series with some curiosity. Perhaps they would point out what it is that those Commodities people understand that I don't, that makes them not dangerously insane pessimists?
Sadly, The Little Book of Commodity Investing shows that no, those people really are looped. Whereas most of the Little Books series are very good introductions to a classic investment style, even the one by Ben Stein, Commodity Investing is an unmitigated puff piece, unsullied by resorting to actual arithmetic or, particularly, either logic or analysis. Frankly, the depth of their consideration goes about as far as People Always Want More!, but it doesn't even have the defense of being stoned when they said it. Yes, people do always want more, but that doesn't mean that they're going to give you money because you believe that.
For that matter, 200 pages of saying Commodities are a great investment! doesn't make it true - although, if you believe it does, Julian Simon may be interested in making a bet with you. Little Books Editors, shame on you!

Picoreview: Joe Bob sez Bad Clams, would not eat again


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