Monthly Archives: May 2012

Version 1.1 now available to read/download for free

Version 1.1 of eBook is now available. You can read it or download FREE here in most eBook formats, including audiobook.

To do this, you need to join this website to be able to access that page (terms/privacy).

New contents listing is here. The changes in v1.1 have all come from user feedback. It is much appreciated. The main differences are:

  • More examples added of monkey competitions in chapter 3
  • Section on why monkeys are so clever is extended
  • New sections on: risk of ruin, pound cost averaging, structured products, and performance of other types of bonds
  • Reference to latest IMA report on hidden fund charges
  • A few typos and errors fixed eg tax on Accumulation units

New to site? Want to know more about the book, then listen to the author talking about it below.

“Where are all the big ideas?” The MoneyWeek Challenge

Not sure if you’ve seen it, but Merryn Somerset Webb opened up a challange this week in her blog post entitled: “Where are all the big ideas?“.

Her main theme is that lots of people are expecting some magical solution to the economy in Europe, but there seems a lack of solutions that are going to help countries like the UK get out of this mess. As she says:

“Much of Europe and the UK seem to think that you can buy growth. They are, we keep being told, voting for prosperity not austerity. But you can’t just vote for prosperity. Life doesn’t work like that. You have to create it. And, given the overriding problems of the West – debt and unemployment – you can’t just create it by borrowing more and spending more….Right now the populations of the one -time developed economies of the West are very vocally demanding real change. It is beyond us why their governments don’t have a real go at giving it to them. All your big ideas below please.”

Writing Monkey with a Pin, has got my brain going. I wonder if the answer is to inspire the nation with a competition. Here is part of my reply to Merryn’s challenge:

“What is needed is to review the whole system afresh with a blank sheet of paper. We set up a competition with a significant prize open to all academics, students and anyone else who has a view. Competition objective: If you were creating a new system now for the best 21st century society, what would it be and how will it work?

The competition needs to inspire the whole nation’s imagination, not just the few that are currently involved in the political process. Think high profile Apprentice style TV competition with the best teams fighting it out to create the blueprint for making Britain great again. It needs buy-in from Jo Public and their involvement.”

I assume MoneyWeek don’t think this is such a daft idea either, as they’ve just added reference to it in their weekly news roundup:

What do you think?

More evidence of the smartness of Monkeys

A big thank you to Andy Bowden who tipped me off about another experiment showing the prowess of chimps and random stock picking. Although just a one-off test unlike the Wall Street Journal experiment I quote in the book, it is interesting.

In 1993, Expressen a Swedish newspaper actually trained a real chimp called Ola to throw darts into the newspaper and over a period of one month followed his prowess as a trader and compared it with a bunch of experts. As ever, you can guess who won.

The sad thing to note, is that it looks like Ola then got his P45 and there now appears to been a campaign to free Ola from the small cage where is he now abandoned in Bangkok. Maybe it should have been the experts traders who lost, who were put into the cage?

In Googling this, I also found another earlier experiment reported in the Daily Mail back in 2002. The then 4 year old Tia Roberts selected her shares by putting all the names in a bucket and throwing them into the air to pick the winners. Again, needless to say, in the competition versus a seasoned investor and an financial astrologer, she was the only to show a profit after a week.

Both will be in V2 of my book. If you know any other examples, please let me have them.