Fifty Years on Wall Street; Tap Dancing to Work


Henry Clews: Fifty Years in Wall Street (1907)

You may not love financial history as much as I do, but you will enjoy reading about the following themes:

  • The characteristics of winning and losing speculators
  • Wall Street during periods of war
  • How operators attempted to “corner” the markets for individual stocks
  • The causes and consequences of Wall Street panics
  • The influence of Wall Street on national politics
  • How individuals like Jay Gold, Daniel Drew, and Commodore Vanderbilt made their fortunes.

Book: Fifty Years in Wall Street (1859 to 1900) Thanks to a generous contributor.  The book is worth reading for a feel of Wall Street during the 19th Century and for learning that human nature does not change especially on Wall Street.  Add this to your Reminiscences of a Stock Operator from the last post You now have reading material on Wall Street (1850 to 1930) from the speculators’ point of view.  Place this in your financial history section of your learning library!

Gilded Age: and the Panic of 1857 

 The Life of Warren Buffett: Tap Dancing to Work

Ok, I am burnt out on Buffett! And, I don’t think this is the best book on Buffett–better to spend the time on Snowball (soon to be posted), but I don’t censor, I leave it up to YOU, dear reader, to decide. See Amazon Review below:

A review: I was very much looking forward to this book – to be able to read a comprehensive and organized treatise on Buffett’s many philosophies and strategies. What a disappointment!

Be warned that the book is nothing but tidbits and random bits and pieces of articles written about him (and a few by him) over the last 46 years.

But don’t expect to learn anything you probably already didn’t know.
Any normal person wanting to learn about what really makes this man tick, and what his investing philosophies and strategies are, would do better to read Alice Schroeder’s comprehensive and impressive biography of Buffett – “The Snowball.”

I received the dropbox keys to a treasure chest of 80 books so I will parcel out over the next few weeks.  

If you find any books that helped you become a more insightful investor, then please let me know so I can share with the group. Thanks.

6 responses to “Fifty Years on Wall Street; Tap Dancing to Work

  1. Accounting for Value (Columbia Business School Publishing) Stephen Penman (Author)

    The Art of Value Investing: How the World’s Best Investors Beat the Market
    by John Heins (Author) , Whitney Tilson (Author)

    Just two books that were of interest and could help others. John (

  2. I love your site and hate to be a downer but do you think it’s really fair to the publishers and authors of these books to be giving them away?

    • You bring up a good point. I actually think having a library of titles will help the authors. Libraries have existed for many years but still people buy books. Those who really enjoy the book will want a hard copy. Printing out a book is more expansive than the hard copy. See

      The goal is if I had a room of investing books and people could come and borrow them for as long as they like. People don’t have to download the books, they can just click on the link and read what they want or see if the book will help them. So I am simply trying to duplicate a public investing library amongst friends. I think only three people read the blog–you, my Mom and me.

    • Dear Ragster:

      Also, information begs to be free.

  3. Don’t sell yourself short, John. I think quite a lot of people find value in your blog but are most probably lurkers.

    Sharing books is a bit questionable but then again, it really depends. Some good investing books are sometimes out of print and those on Amazon are selling at astronomical prices, like Seth Klarman’s book, Margin of Safety.

    IMHO, the greatest value I find in this blog are:
    1. John’s own opinion and perspectives on things. It’s really hard to find people that take a long term perspective and willing to share their honest opinions without any vested interest.

    2. Highlighting important events and opinions of great value investors. No doubt, there’s plenty of information on the web, but sometimes too much information is just as bad as too little. This reminds me of how lawyers and investment bankers overload IPO prospectus’ with so much goobledegook that it’s virtually incomprehensible to the common investor.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

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