Best possible understanding of the Street - for a non-career, non-streeter.

To any and all: Don't shoot me for asking this. (I posted it in Hedge FunHouse as it seems you boys [and girls] make the most moolah and probably know more than most)...

I'm a non-wall street guy. I'm NOT trying to get a career on the street (would be great, would be nice - but I'm too old and not educated in it). I simply want to get the best possible understanding of how everything works top to bottom - but beyond that, who the players are ...who makes the money and just an over all "blueprint" of everything one can self-educate themselves on to figure out how it all works. Sure wikipedia is out there - but let me say I've considered taking some of those "training" classes like the IBI (I've heard pluses and minuses so - again- put your gun away) ... mainly to get in depth knowledge without having to go to Harvard biz school... or anything really that's the "career" path.

If any of you read the free Stratfor.com stuff (geopolitics, and such - some finance) ...the way they explain how nations and cultures and the world inter-relates with each other ...and how it all works on the chessboard - it gives you a much clearer understanding on why things flow the way they do. Something similar but as indepth as possible would be ideal. Just toss me a bone in the right direction. I'm a technology guy - and pretty happy in it ... I've just learned if you don't get money and finance you may not realize when your company or clients etc. may no longer exist the next day ...but again, if you do have sound advice please don't couch it in "well if you're in technology - what you want to look at is" ...I'm really looking for a comprehensive understanding, not tailored to my industry.

Hey, thanks in advance ... and if you do feel the need to shoot the noob, then at least point me toward a forum that might help out before you pull the trigger.

J.

Comments (12)

May 23, 2010 - 12:36pm
Gekko21, what's your opinion? Comment below:

For a general blueprint of the different functions/areas of Wall Street read Vault's Guide to Investment Banking. It covers all the different areas of Finance, the lingo, the day-to-day, ect.

http://www.amazon.com/Vault-Career-Guide-Investment-Banking/dp/1581313063/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274633398&sr=8-2

Is this what you were looking for?

"Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, for knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA."
  • 1
May 23, 2010 - 12:56pm
jonnie101, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks Gordo -

It's a sure start! I suppose something written along the lines of the geo-politics book "The Next 100 Years" - but from a wall street point of view - might work in conjunction. For example, in that book it's not just factual data about countries and cultures - but more like "this country has no appetite for war with that country because so and so and such and such. So the probable outcome will be an alignment with their new ally in... " etc. etc. ... so imagine something like "Goldman Sachs will be less likely to get involved in so-and-so because of the way they came off in the media in mid-2010 ...therefore, they are much more interested in" blah blah. Something less than news, but more than data, if that makes sense.

Again, thanks - helps to have a beginning direction from folks in the know .

J.

Best Response
May 23, 2010 - 1:27pm
PaperTrail, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Bottom line is its about straight cash homie. Does GS really care about what the media says? Deep down, the answer is no. They realize that if it snowballed into a big enough ordeal though, it could impact their bottom line so they are doing what their clients want to see and "cooperating" with the gov't.

Trying to look x amount of years into the future is probably not worth anyone's efforts right now. Wall St. has been driven by making a profit on "new" securities and thus is always trying to introduce a unique product for their clients. Sounds like you'd like to get a sense of what this might be? I honestly don't know and doubt many people do.

All in, countries are much different from banks so I would guess there's really not a source that is comparable to this stratfor.com stuff. As mentioned, the Vault guide might serve as a reference but its more of a factual guide than an outlook into the future. I'd say read the WSJ, get a good sense of what is currently going on, and then formulate some of your own opinions as to where things could be further down the road. Tuning into CNBC to compare some of your ideas could be interesting then.

May 23, 2010 - 2:47pm
jonnie101, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Not sure I get all of this - but seems the bottom line may be "Players today ain't players tomorrow" and such. So perhaps what would be best is a book/course on how it all works - then watching the news on who's doing what. Wasn't trying to predict the future though, was just using the stratfor thing as an example of how things interelate.

Thanks...

J.

May 23, 2010 - 9:59pm
Gekko21, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Vault is more factual and is designed so that you know all the different divisions of an investment bank and how it operates. If you would like to know more about an individual company then your best bet would probably be to read a book about the company.

Reading a book like "The Partnership: The Rise of Goldman Sachs" or "The House of Morgan" gives you a perspective of what it was like to work at these places as well as some history of how they became so dominant.

Of course, reading the WSJ and Economist is a way to see how it all comes together.

"Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, for knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA."
  • 2
May 23, 2010 - 10:27pm
Bottles and DCF Models, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think this site does a great job of giving perspective on the BB's and how they operate within the respective divisions of each house. Of course you might need a fundamental understanding of the business, which is where the Vault Guide might help. But once you really have the basics, this site is golden. If you spend 20-30 minutes a day browsing WSO, you'll get more out of it than reading any book, IMO.

  • 1
May 24, 2010 - 9:29am
jonnie101, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks Fellas ...

Yup - having an overview of how everything works would probably be a solid place to go ... found both other books (Gold/Morgan) on my Iphone (kindle app) ...quick other question ...all of this pertains to investment banking ...what about all the other financial instrument type houses out there? Or does everything branch from that tree? Probably a silly question ...but one take-away I got during the whole "financial crisis" was that there seem to be a limitless amount of financial products out there ... for example the one hedgefund manager who somehow bet against the housing boom with some kind of insurance derivitive who-knows-what that most people didn't even know about. So where do you go to get a comprehensive listing of "everything that's legal that's available"?

And lastly - yes - this site great ... any discussion board worth its salt is only as good as the "players" that go to it - and it seems you've got a lot of solid people here with lots of activity. i'll be scouring it for some time to come.

Enough of the noob quesitons - thanks for all the info guys...

J.

May 24, 2010 - 12:46pm
Gekko21, what's your opinion? Comment below:
jonnie101:
Thanks Fellas ...

Yup - having an overview of how everything works would probably be a solid place to go ... found both other books (Gold/Morgan) on my Iphone (kindle app) ...quick other question ...all of this pertains to investment banking ...what about all the other financial instrument type houses out there? Or does everything branch from that tree? Probably a silly question ...but one take-away I got during the whole "financial crisis" was that there seem to be a limitless amount of financial products out there ... for example the one hedgefund manager who somehow bet against the housing boom with some kind of insurance derivitive who-knows-what that most people didn't even know about. So where do you go to get a comprehensive listing of "everything that's legal that's available"?

And lastly - yes - this site great ... any discussion board worth its salt is only as good as the "players" that go to it - and it seems you've got a lot of solid people here with lots of activity. i'll be scouring it for some time to come.

Enough of the noob quesitons - thanks for all the info guys...

J.

No book can give you a complete list of products, but Vault guide does a little about options, bonds, stocks, ect. Obviously, each group will have different products/instruments.

Below is a download for Hull's book which is the industry standard textbook on derivatives.

http://www.4shared.com/document/6Sg4Qrvw/Options_Futures_and_Other_Deri.... http://www.4shared.com/file/Gd-zkVDU/Options_Futures_and_Other_Deri.html

Also, if you would like to learn more about the FX Market, Tim Weithers' book Foreign Exchange is an excellent source of information. Tim is a professor and trains UBS's analyst classes about FX.

To answer some of your questions about the "insurance instrument". Paulson took out CDS on subprime mortgages. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_default_swap

Also, if you want to learn more about HF and different products. (Make sure you scroll to the very bottom of the page) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedge_Funds

"Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, for knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA."
  • 2
May 24, 2010 - 1:29pm
PiperJaffrayChiang, what's your opinion? Comment below:

we take advantage of the uneducated masses and then turn a big ass profit for the shareholders. HAHA

========================================= We are excited to formally extend to you an offer to join Bank of Ameria
May 24, 2010 - 7:54pm
jonnie101, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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