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The Art of Investing: Lessons from History’s Greatest Traders

The Art of Investing: Lessons from History’s Greatest Traders

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The Art of Investing: Lessons from History’s Greatest Traders

Course No. 5000
Professor John M. Longo, Ph.D.
Rutgers University
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4.5 out of 5
20 Reviews
90% of reviewers would recommend this series
Course No. 5000
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  • Audio or Video?
  • You should buy audio if you would enjoy the convenience of experiencing this course while driving, exercising, etc. While the video does contain visual elements, the professor presents the material in an engaging and clear manner, so the visuals are not necessary to understand the concepts. Additionally, the audio audience may refer to the accompanying course guidebook for diagrams, illustrations, and examples that are cited throughout the course.
  • You should buy video if you prefer learning visually and wish to take advantage of the visual elements featured in this course. While the video version can be considered lightly illustrated, there are graphics, biographical portraits, chart, and definitions provided on the screen, which may help reinforce material for visual learners.
Streaming Included Free

What Will You Learn?

  • The secrets of the world's greatest investors
  • How you can put their tactics to work in your own investments
  • The life stories of some of the most influential people in in the world today
  • The big picture on how financial markets work

Course Overview

Stock market experts often provide the same words of wisdom over and over: Invest for the long haul. Diversify your portfolio. You can ‘t beat the market. And while this is great advice for the average investor looking to secure their retirement, these rules aren ‘t as hard and fast as the experts may want you to think. History has shown us there are plenty of individuals who beat the market and beat it consistently. Consider Warren Buffet or James Simons—examples of investors who executed the right combination of steady investment methods and calculated risk over decades to build truly impressive fortunes. They didn’t stumble upon a “unicorn” stock or simply get lucky over and over. They did the research, they did the math, they were smart about the risks, and they didn’t lose their heads in volatile times. What lessons for today ‘s investors can be learned by studying these lions of investing?

In this exciting and informative course, you’ll meet more than 30 remarkable financiers that have had exceptional success following often unorthodox paths, and who took dramatic monetary risks. In 24 half-hour lectures, The Art of Investing: Lessons from History's Greatest Investors answers the intriguing and universal question of: How did they do it? As you uncover that answer, you ‘ll meet some of the greatest traders who ever lived, discover how they built their wealth, and take away a toolbox of tips, tricks, and lessons from these success stories.

  • Jesse Livermore: A legendary speculator in the “wild west” era of Wall Street, Livermore shorted the market—bet that stock prices would fall—in advance of the 1907 and 1929 panics, earning a fortune. But he lost big and met a tragic fate when he failed to follow his own rigorous trading rules, which are still influential today.
  • Warren Buffet: Arguably the world’s most famous investor—also one of the richest—Buffet made billions by seeking out high-quality companies selling at a discount, a strategy known as value investing. Unlike the short-term speculation of Jesse Livermore, Buffet ‘s approach sees stock as ownership of a business over the long haul.
  • Jack Bogle: Bogle’s brainstorm was index funds—low-fee mutual funds that track different markets without active managing. The idea was considered laughable and even un-American. But his company, the Vanguard Group, revolutionized investing with the ultimate “set it and forget it” financial instruments.

Aside from being fascinating entrepreneurs, these great investors provide a window into the workings of financial markets, which are a key element of global economic growth. And their histories are not just about amassing wealth, since many of them have inspiring personal success stories as well. For example, preeminent trader Linda Bradford Raschke graduated from college in 1980 with a double major in economics and music composition. As a woman trying to enter a male-dominated industry, and a music major to boot, she was turned down by every brokerage firm where she applied. But she persisted and eventually founded a spectacularly successful hedge fund. In an interesting twist, she credits her musical training with nurturing her unusual ability to see patterns in markets.

Your guide through these fascinating stories is award-winning Professor John M. Longo of Rutgers University Business School, ranked by the Wall Street Journal as one of the nation’s top business programs. In addition to his teaching duties, Professor Longo is chief investment officer and portfolio manager for Beacon Trust, with $2.5 billion under management.

Whether you are an armchair investor, a business professional, or someone who enjoys entertaining, eye-opening insights about the mindset of financial giants, you will find the profiles in The Art of Investing enlightening and also thrilling. After all, it’s no accident that Hollywood has hit it big with movies about the financial industry, such as The Big Short and Wall Street. The challenge and intense competition of investing make gripping plots!

Learn from the Giants

Mutual fund superstar Peter Lynch famously said: “Invest in what you know,” meaning that you probably know more about your own occupation, location, and enthusiasms than most Wall Street professionals. But Lynch, who was the most successful mutual fund manager in the world in the 1980s, believed that you should do more than play hunches in familiar businesses; you should dig deeply into a company before risking your capital.

In tracing Lynch’s outstanding results with Fidelity’s Magellan fund in Lecture 10, you learn how his approach was to follow up a favorable first impression with rigorous fundamental analysis—looking at a firm’s financial statements, talking to management, and interviewing competitors. You will find his example inspiring, and it may even lead you to try your hand at assembling your own portfolio of stocks. But many people are too busy to take this approach and will benefit tremendously from knowing how active mutual-fund managers such as Lynch do their jobs. Mutual funds vary widely in style, asset allocation, risk, fees, and other criteria, and The Art of Investing helps you understand the many choices that are available, as well as the most common terms, such as load, expense ratio, and basis points.

And that’s just for mutual funds! In this course, you learn about a world of other investment opportunities through the careers of traders who have made them pay handsomely:

  • Growth investing: Identified with Philip Fisher and T. Rowe Price, this strategy focuses on companies with exceptional growth potential that are worth holding.
  • Small-cap stocks: Renowned for his risky trade depicted in The Big Short, Michael Burry built much of his fortune by searching out small-capitalization companies selling at a discount.
  • Hedge funds: Pioneered by A. W. Jones, hedge funds seek to reduce risk with a blend of investments. Other aces at this challenging art include Ray Dalio and Paul Tudor Jones.
  • Corporate raiders : Also known as activist investors, these intrepid entrepreneurs reap huge rewards from mismanaged companies. They include Carl Icahn, Dan Loeb, and Bill Ackman.
  • Currency trading: A bold high-roller in the currency market, George Soros made a billion dollars in one day by betting against the British pound.
  • Quantitative analysis: Professor Longo himself started as a “quant,” crunching numbers to get an edge in the market. Hear how James Simons became the “quant king.”

You Heard It on the Street

Wall Street can be an oracle of pithy advice, and every investor featured in this course has a handful of maxims that he or she lives by. Along with anonymous industry sayings such as, “No tree grows to the sky” (meaning a bull market can ‘t last forever), you hear words of wisdom such as these:

  • Beware of inside information…. No one is going to hand you a lot of easy money.” —Jesse Livermore
  • My favorite holding period is forever.” —Warren Buffet
  • Everyone has the brainpower to make money in stocks. Not everyone has the stomach.” —Peter Lynch
  • If you have a losing position that is making you uncomfortable, the solution is very simple: Get out.” —Paul Tudor Jones
  • Have you taken a loss? Forget it quickly. Have you taken a profit? Forget it even quicker!” —Linda Bradford Raschke
  • There is no point in being confident and having a small position.” —George Soros

Advice Everyone Can Use

In addition to covering the tactics, successes, and setbacks of industry giants, The Art of Investing also highlights the most common mistakes that the average investor makes. These red flags are the underlying message of Lecture 9, which focuses on the career of David Dreman. A guru of the “contrarian” style of investing, Dreman prospered by swimming against the powerful current of conventional wisdom. He learned his lesson early, losing 75 percent of his net worth during the growth-stocks bubble of the late 1960s and early ‘70s. Since then, he has steered clear of the pitfalls illustrated by the old Wall Street adage, “It’s warm in the herd”—meaning it’s comfortable, but potentially ruinous, to stick with the crowd. You might ask yourself if you are prey to any of the following biases that are on Dreman’s warning list:

  • Disposition effect: Many investors are inclined to sell their winners but hold on to their losing investments, often waiting for a point at which they can at least break even. This irrational psychological trait relates to the human tendency to avoid losses by ignoring them, considering a declining asset to be unreal until it is sold.
  • Representative bias: In another typical mistake, investors often confuse a good company with a good investment. A good investment goes up more than the market, or more than expected given the risk that is taken. When considering individual stocks, you should look at valuation yardsticks such as the price-to-earnings ratio.
  • Overreaction bias: Many investors overreact to recent information, particularly bad news, discounting what happened in the more distant past. For example, a poor earnings report may cause them to act precipitously, when in fact the company is in sound financial health and has suffered only a temporary setback.

David Dreman’s warning list is not the only practical advise you ‘ll glean from the experts. At the beginning of the course, Professor Longo describes the course as a boot-camp on investing, and just like any bootcamp, you get a multitude of lessons. After reviewing the teachings from each individual investor, Professor Longo pulls together their advice and distills their experiences to help guide you in your own investment choices. He provides you with a detailed investment checklist as a graduation exercise, helping you zero in on a strategy that works for you. His final words sum up his ultimate message: “Your investment philosophy and approach should match your personality, skills, risk tolerance, and resources.” As you survey the literal wealth of examples in The Art of Investing, you’ll have a very good idea of where to go next.

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24 lectures
 |  30 minutes each
  • 1
    Investing Skill, Strategy, and Temperament
    Welcome to a boot camp on investing! Discover the influences that led Professor Longo to a career in finance. Then meet some of the major figures you will study in the course. Survey the key principles and strategies that built their fortunes. x
  • 2
    Benjamin Graham and Value Investing
    Many of the most successful investors of the 20th and early 21st centuries were hugely influenced by the work of Ben Graham, the pioneer of value investing. Study the underpinnings of his proven philosophy, including the contrasting strategies of the enterprising investor and the defensive investor. x
  • 3
    Warren Buffett: Investing Forever
    Explore the celebrated career of Warren Buffett, one of the world's richest people thanks to his disciplined approach to buying and selling companies. Learn how Buffett modified the strategy of his mentor, Ben Graham, by searching out high-quality companies with a competitive advantage, or moat."" x
  • 4
    Fisher and Price: The Growth-Stock Investors
    Turn to the fathers of growth investing, Philip Fisher and T. Rowe Price, Jr.. Discover how to tell growth stocks from value stocks. Then learn to spot signs that a stock is worth holding over the very long term, which is the goal of this influential school of portfolio analysis. x
  • 5
    Harry Markowitz's Modern Portfolio Theory
    Study what two Nobel Prize-winning economists have to say about risk. Harry Markowitz put risk on an equal footing with return. Delve into his Modern Portfolio Theory and its implications for investors. Also investigate the insights of William Sharpe's Capital Asset Pricing Model. x
  • 6
    John Bogle, Index Mutual Fund Pioneer
    See the index fund phenomenon from the inside through the career of John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group. Consider evidence for and against the Efficient Market Hypothesis, on which index investing is based. Also look into pitfalls to avoid when buying index funds. x
  • 7
    Small-Cap Stocks: More Risk, More Reward
    Explore the world of small-cap investing, which targets companies with a market capitalization (outstanding shares times price/share) generally less than a billion dollars. Learn how legendary investors Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, and Michael Burry flourished in this market. Survey your own options for getting involved. x
  • 8
    John Templeton, Global Treasure Hunter
    Go stock hunting with John Templeton, who changed the world of finance by focusing on the global market and on a socially responsible portfolio. Review Templeton's checklist of the qualities that make a nation an attractive investing opportunity-for example, a low tax rate and high savings rate. x
  • 9
    David Dreman, Contrarian Money Manager
    You are likely to be your own worst enemy when it comes to investing. Find out if you make the common mistakes on market psychologist David Dreman's list. Known as a contrarian-an investor who goes against the crowd-Dreman made a fortune by bucking trends. x
  • 10
    Peter Lynch: Invest in What You Know
    Study mutual funds through the career of Peter Lynch of Fidelity, renowned for his spectacular management of the Magellan Fund in the 1980s. Discover the meaning of key mutual fund terms, and learn how Lynch picked winners. His famous mantra, Invest in what you know," is only part of the formula." x
  • 11
    The Bond Kings: Bill Gross, Jeffrey Gundlach
    Many people have an intuitive understanding of stocks but are at a loss when it comes bonds. Get a grip on this vital investment vehicle by probing the strategies of two contemporary bond kings: Bill Gross and Jeff Gundlach. Consider the best way to use bonds in your own portfolio. x
  • 12
    Sovereign Wealth Funds: Singapore
    Sovereign wealth funds are investment portfolios owned and managed by the government, generally in countries with commodity-oriented economies or large trade surpluses, such as Saudi Arabia and Singapore. Examine the history of these funds, how they operate, and their increasingly important role in the global economy today. x
  • 13
    The First Hedge Fund: A. W. Jones
    Take the mystery out of hedge funds with A.W. Jones, the sociologist who started the modern hedge fund industry. Jones designed a fund that smoothed out the rollercoaster ride of traditional buy-and-hold investing by offsetting long purchase positions with short sale positions. x
  • 14
    Activist Investors: Icahn, Loeb, Ackman
    Go company hunting with activist investors, sometimes called corporate raiders. Chart the exploits of three leading practitioners: Carl Icahn, Dan Loeb, and Bill Ackman. Along the way, learn the meaning of terms such as greenmail, black knight, white knight, shark repellant, and Pac-Man strategy. x
  • 15
    The Big Shorts: Livermore, Chanos
    Short selling is a dangerous game, since your losses are theoretically unlimited. Compare the short-selling strategies of two investing legends: Jesse Livermore, who made millions during the crash of 1929, and James Chanos, who predicted the collapse of Enron in the early 2000s. x
  • 16
    George Soros's $10 Billion Currency Play
    George Soros, financier and philosopher, made more than a billion dollars in one day by following his own advice to bet big if you have high confidence in an idea. Trace the saga of this man's eventful life, from Nazi-occupied Hungary to the world stage, from social science theorist to global macro trader. x
  • 17
    Bridgewater's Multi-Strategy Investing
    Learn from the successes of Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater, one of the world's largest hedge funds. Among his coups, the firm's Pure Alpha Fund gained almost 10% during the financial crisis in 2008, while U.S. and global stocks fell by 35% or more. Focus on Dalio's global macro and multi-strategy. x
  • 18
    Paul Tudor Jones, Futures Market Seer
    Study the investment strategy of Paul Tudor Jones, the man who predicted the stock market crash of 1987. Since then, his hedge fund firm, Tudor Investment, has been an industry leader. Focus on Jones's background in futures trading and his savvy use of technical analysis and market psychology. x
  • 19
    James Simons: Money, Math, and Computers
    Trace the stellar financial career of mathematician and former cryptographer James Simons, who tackled a challenge more difficult than code-breaking: consistently beating the market. Learn how quants" such as Simons use computer algorithms to model security prices and execute lightning-fast trades." x
  • 20
    Distressed-Asset Investors: Tepper, Klarman
    For the intrepid investor, there are potential riches to be made when companies go under. Explore the field of distressed investing through the successes of two masters: David Tepper and Seth Klarman. Learn how to seize opportunities by buying what others don't want or must sell under duress. x
  • 21
    Motorcycles, Gold, and Global Commodities
    Travel with the commodities specialist dubbed the Indiana Jones of finance." Since retiring from the Quantum Fund at age 37, Jim Rogers has toured the world, scouting out opportunities in emerging markets. Learn how to break into commodities trading, and get Rogers' tips on what to look for in a foreign market." x
  • 22
    Private Equity Innovators: KKR, Blackstone
    Turn to private equity and leveraged buyouts (LBOs), exploring notable deals by two stars of field: Henry Kravis and Stephen Schwarzman, including Kravis's famous takeover of RJR Nabisco in 1988. Though you may never do an LBO yourself, you can invest in private equity firms that are publicly traded. x
  • 23
    Four Women Who Moved Financial Markets
    On average, women are better investors than men, with the patience, self-control, and risk-consciousness that are crucial to success in the financial world. Study four female top investors: Hetty Green, Linda Bradford Raschke, Sonia Gardner, and Leda Braga-each with a different approach to building wealth. x
  • 24
    Becoming a Great Investor
    Survey the shifting fortunes of one famous company that over the course of a century made it appeal to almost every type of investor covered in this course. Then go through a detailed checklist that reveals the investment approach that matches your outlook and resources. Finish with one final great investor! x

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John M. Longo

About Your Professor

John M. Longo, Ph.D.
Rutgers University
John M. Longo is a Professor of Professional Practice in the Finance & Economics Department at the Business School of Rutgers University. He has also been visiting professor of finance at EMBA-Global—the joint Executive MBA program of Columbia Business School, London Business School, and The University of Hong Kong. A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Professor Longo earned an M.B.A. in Finance and a Ph.D. in Finance from...
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Reviews

The Art of Investing: Lessons from History’s Greatest Traders is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 20.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is one of my favorites! I can hardly stop watching it so I can make it last.
Date published: 2017-03-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Best Bought as a gift for my son. He has since asked for more courses.
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from well presebted and understandable. Very helpful for those interested in learning investing.
Date published: 2017-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enabling and Enriching I found the parallax view of investing seen as historic necessity and endeavor from the vantage of very successful investors/ traders extremely insightfull. I am myself a necessary investor of my own retirement and taxable funds, and help such as this is extremely appreciated. I know from acquaintance that Great Course financial offerings are also used as training for major banks (employee post academic) to ensure that recent hires understand real world basics; and this offering is on the list. Coverage includes all asset classes, strategy (analysis) styles, and risk factors. Coverage targets investing concepts historically and by persona, giving investing financial concepts coupled to the historic "Traders" that used them; and the historic time periods and problems that drove the solutions. Explainations are provided about investor tools such as the Morningstar style grid, alpha, beta, leverage percent, P/E, open funds, closed funds, and the various risk and fundamentals numbers on all investment tools and brokerage sites. Also, "fundamental", "technical", "secular/ short term", "reflexive (social feedback)", "multi strategy", "futures", "distressed asset", and "quantitative (modelling)" analysis as well as "leveraged buyout" and "private equity" strategy are introduced. I haven't found this range in other Great Course offerings, or investor readings. Longo's engaging, campy, fun, yet professional presentation is easy to disgest; but provoked my desire to search further in depth. The chapters can be viewed out of order, since concepts are re- explained as needed (although historical context may be lost). As an example of Lango's good humor, he reports a "distressed asset" strategy investor by the name of David Tepper, from Pittsburgh, keeps a pair of brass cachobies on his desk, and rubs them for luck every day. (Yinz seez a minority "Stillers" owner, huh?) Tepper is "not afraid to go back and work in the steel mills". For corresponding feminine taste, there's market mover Hetty Green, the wicked "Witch of Wall Street"; and Lango notes research that shows women do marginally better than men at investing, even without desk ornaments. "The Art of Investing" stands on its own in depth and usefulness. The offering is not only chock full of investor "war stories", but also has summarized research findings about what really works. However, the offering is easily great complimentary material, and perhaps works best supplemented by deeper dives (that can be supplied by other Great Courses offerings) and other basic starting material and readings. I found the material is not "basic" investing, as the Fullencamp Great Course offerings are. What's explained is more advanced "strategy" and "analytic" styles, advanced risk concepts like "moats", "portfolio theory", "index funds", from the standpoint of what motivated the successful investors that invented and used the concepts. I gained a much better understanding of the numerous leverage and derivative forms, and "hedge funds". The offering assumes a knowledge of basic investing terms, and offers no helpful glossary. To be fair, Fullencamp's "Financial Literacy" recommends "investopedia.com" instead of having an actual glossary. There is minimal math (as contrasted with Slezak's Great Course offerings), just the concepts in context. A familiar book that provides more academic depth and concrete conceptual investment categorization would be "Expected Returns" by Antti Ilmamen, missing from Longo's bibliography. The academic depth recommendation by Longo is "Investments" by Bodie et al, which I've ordered. The companion course guidebook "Suggested Readings" references the literature that the great "Trader" investors produced, and targeted readings. I feel somehow more enabled and figuratively enriched. Helpful, indeed, in my efforts at more literal enrichment.
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Over priced for the value received The entire course could be understood by reading the book that accompanied the disks. The content was good but the delivery was 20th century. We just had the speaker talk to the camera with a few photos. The state of the art of on-line learning has become so much more interesting and effective that your mode of presentation has become antiquated.
Date published: 2017-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Start to Active Investing I purchased this course because of my desire to learn what the great pillars of the investing world did to revolutionize the everyday norms of investing, learn from their strategies (what worked and what did not) and hopefully...obtain more of an idea of what kind of investor/trader best fits my personal strategy and profile. This course dramatically increased my knowledge and understanding of securities beyond a level that I ever imagined. I'm very new to investing in securities, so much of this information is new as well. I really liked how well this course and instructor not only gave definitions of terms like Derivatives, different types of Special Situation Investing (e.g. Spin-0ffs, LEAPS, Rights Offerings, etc), he gave superb examples to help solidify the understanding of the savvy and build the knowledge of the neophyte. I had no idea that securities investing went so much deeper than stocks and bonds. I also liked how this course gave a history of the great investors and revealed how their upbringing, family business/work/challenges/education and workplace encounters all factored in to what made them so successful in their spheres of investing. So much to say... I'm just blown away. Thank you, Great Courses Team, for putting together such a great work. Much appreciation.
Date published: 2017-03-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Course not worth the cost. Dull presentation and material of little practical value. Save your money.
Date published: 2017-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just started listening to this course. So far, very good! Would recommend it.
Date published: 2017-02-27
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