Toward Rational Exuberance by B. Mark Smith
The Evolution of the Modern Stock Market

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The True History, and Dangerous Myths, of the Modern Stock Market.

The stock market is big news now, influencing every aspect of the modern economy. Accepted wisdom has it that the market will provide retirement security for anyone willing to diligently save and invest.Yet many people can remember a time when the stock market was little more than a primitive insiders' game, viewed by most Americans with skepticism and suspicion. In Toward Rational Exuberance, B. Mark Smith, a professional stock trader with two decades of practical experience, tells the fascinating story of how this stunning transformation occurred. Smith traces the evolution of popular theories of stock market behavior, showing how they have become widely accepted over time. He also clarifies some of these theories -- such as the notion that the market is often susceptible to speculative "bubbles" that will inevitably burst -- and explains how they are based on faulty interpretations of market history. The central thesis of Toward Rational Exuberance is that the modern stock market is the product of a dynamic evolutionary process; it cannot be predicted by extrapolating arbitrary historical standards into the future. It is only by understanding the way the modern market has been created that today's investor can begin to understand the market itself.


About B. Mark Smith

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B. Mark Smith is the author of Toward Rational Exuberance: The Evolution of the Modern Stock Market (FSG, 2001). He was a professional stock trader for two decades, first with CS/First Boston, then with Goldman Sachs. He lives in Manhattan.
Published May 30, 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 352 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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He manages to chart the great currents that surged through the market, from 1901 (when the stock market was a “battlefield on which highly personalized conflicts between financial titans such as Hill, Harriman, and Morgan, as well as dozens of lesser combatants, were played out”) to the current e...

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While at first glance this seems a well-written but familiar history of the United States stock market, between the colorful characters and scandals Smith deftly details the practical and historical workings of the stock market from 1901—when it was "a primitive insider's game"—to the present dow...

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