Book Review: Winning on Wall Street by Martin Zweig

I just finished reading this book and am excited to share my review of it. The book was so motivating and eye-opening, and is really different from most of the investing books out there. I’ll explain more in my Martin Zweig’s Winning on Wall Street review below.

The chapter on Fed monetary policy was packed with so much useful information that I plan to re-read it often (chapter 4). The book is a perfect compliment to everything I learned in The Intelligent Investor. As I am learning along the way with my readers, I see the importance in having a cash element to your stock and bond portfolio.

As Ben Graham stresses a healthy balance between stocks and bonds in your portfolio, I see myself improving on that idea by adding a percentage of cash to the mix. The exact numbers can fluctuate depending on market conditions, which you can only understand by reading this book.

winning on wall street review

I consider Martin Zweig’s Winning on Wall Street as a book for more advanced investors, and I wouldn’t recommend beginners try to read it. That being said, it doesn’t take away from the power of this book. I think all beginners should take the steps I recommend, and then examine reading this book afterwards.

You wouldn’t start running before knowing how to walk, and this isn’t a “how to walk” book. But, this book should be required reading for anyone wanting to invest significant money in the stock market.

Book: Winning on Wall Street Review

Strength of Argument: 9.5/10
I rank this so high because Winning on Wall Street had unique perspectives on the market and investing. While most books just cover stock selection, Zweig used a large portion of his book to explain how and why markets become bulls and bears. Zweig taught about the impact of interest rates, reserve requirements, and the discount and prime rate.

The book’s findings are backed with a substantial amount of data and testing. Zweig isn’t afraid to compare multiple ideas and results among different indices, fully examining all different possibilities throughout the book. He shows honesty and transparency throughout the book, and presents his results with simple graphs and charts.

Martin Zweig’s Winning on Wall Street covers everything from macro issues to minute details that many investing authors might look over, such as the difference between a weighted and unweighted index. While I don’t fully agree with Zweig’s rejection of dollar cost averaging and his endorsement of market timing, I do believe I can incorporate every part of his strategy into mine.

For example, I can use market timing to shift the the percentages in my portfolio to take advantage of his indicators without losing the opportunity to be invested at all times. Because of this, Winning on Wall Street deserves every point of the 9.5 given for strength of argument.

Powerful Stories: 8/10
Having gotten to read many investing books throughout the past year, I’m starting to get numb to the stories from investing authors. They all sound the same. They all talk about the great winners. To be fair, there isn’t really another great way to tell these stories, and the stories do their job.

In Martin Zweig’s case, he does a good job at not only talking about his best trades, but also mediocre ones as well. He talked about a trade that got stopped out, and suddenly rose right after he sold it. I believe this adds to his credibility more than the other success stories, plus the fact he posted his recommendations to his subscribers in The Zweig Forecast.

His stories were all good and effective, but none of them blew me out of the water as being special. Yet, he had many of them and they were well placed in helping to the learning experience. Because of this, powerful stories gets an 8.

Readability: 10/10
To me, this book was a page turner. Zweig immediately caught my attention by aligning with my value investing principles right from the start. By chapter 4, I was already hooked and eating up every word. Winning on Wall Street’s chapters are short and sweet when they need to be, and longer at just the right places. Sometimes “less is more” and that’s all I need to say about readability.

Actionable Content: 9/10
As you can imagine, there was actionable content for every part of this book. Zweig does a good job of distancing himself from the reader at times, in order to emphasize that every investor needs to make their own decisions. He’s not trying to hold your hand throughout the process, and I appreciate how he explains how he does things and then explicitly says that you should do what’s best for you.

The only knock I have on actionable content is that a beginner might feel overwhelmed if this is the first book they have picked up. Additionally, the book is not a complete guide for an investment strategy, rather is quite focused on market conditions and trading. It’s a perfect supplemental book, and with it’s easy readability you have no reason to not have it on your bookshelf.

The X-factor: 9.5/10
I can’t help gushing about this book, and rightly so. After a string of mediocre investing books that didn’t excite me (and trust me, there’s nothing more boring than reading these), I finally stumbled on a book that challenged my ways of thinking and opened up my mind to various ways to improve on my strategies.

Like pepper is to salt, I believe this book is the perfect compliment to a value investing approach centered on The Intelligent Investor. They are both opposing strategies, but taking from each can really give you the best of both worlds.

Total (out of 100): 95 
I highly recommend this book. It ranks #2 in my list of top 8 investing books. You definitely should read it.

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