Book review: Commodities Rising

Date: 01 Dec 2006


Even the heading “Commodities Rising” is enough to make most of you choke on your rice crispies. One adviser I mentioned the book to said “no they aren’t!” But keep the faith, it’s a book that explains how they can rise and its funny.

Jeffrey M Christian is an ex journalist who has arguably devoted his life to understanding commodities. He explains painstakingly and in an enticing style the problems that investors have with commodities.

He explains that common problems are that investors always rush in when they see everyone else doing it (a classic way to lose money), that some expert investment managers often don’t understand the topic enough to advise sensibly and everyone goes long instead of short. The reason? Because we are all eternal optimists and don’t want to believe that things really do go wrong.

As a gung-ho, give-it-a-go finance writer, I can testify to its simple AA Gill style (never use a complicated word if you can use a simple one).

Its interesting: you learn stuff about oil and also about perpetual myths like: there are secret stocks of oil all over the world.

Jeffrey says firmly “there aren’t.”

He also makes one other keen assessment: ask a question and get ten different answers from experts. Like many things in finance, it’s a good amount of guesswork and a confident manner that win the day.

I don’t imagine Commodities Rising is going to beat a limited edition Hugh Heffner off the shelf but as an education from the leading expert on this topic, you would definitely look like you did your homework with that in your man-bag.


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