Saturday, December 11, 2010

Getting past the holiday food coma...

I received a book yesterday from a publisher that was right in time for the holidays: Cooking Light Mix & Match Low-Calorie Cookbook: 1500 Calories a Day. As the holidays approach, I try more and more to eat healthily at a time when most of the food is anything but. I am not much of a cook but I figured I would flip through this book and see if there was anything I could conjure up for meals or that would help guide me through the maze of holiday eating. The book was full of great ideas and menus for those of us who are foodaholics.

The book actually reminds me a bit of Eat This, Not That!, as it provides good choices and bad choices for your daily meals. Most of the stuff, anyone should know, but it's good to hear it again. For example, at breakfast, the Cooking Light book tells you to eat a whole wheat English muffin with jam for 150 calories rather than the glazed doughnut for 200 calories. The recipes look great with such items as Marmalade French Toast Casserole for 389 calories a serving, Lumberjack Hash at 278 calories a serving and Greek Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto for 426 calories a serving. Everything looks simple to make and the book has large pictures and instructions that look easy, even for those of us who are cooking challenged.

Does anyone else out there have trouble avoiding a food coma or weight gain at the holidays? If so, how do you cope?


Friday, December 10, 2010

"Markets trade on human emotion, not logic."

This is a statement made by the author of a book I am reading entitled The Layman's Guide To Trading Stocks (it was sent to Glenn recently). I got out of the stock market months ago but have thought about getting back in at some point, so I thought this book might give me some tips. It definitely did. The author, Dave Landry, doesn't offer a system for buying and selling, but rather a "common sense approach to markets."

As I read through the chapters, a lot of Landry's advice rang true for me. He starts out stating that "You need to change the way you think about Wall Street." He highlights the myths and truths along with charts and facts to back them up. For example, Wall Street Myth #1 is: "The Market always goes up in the long term." How many times have I heard that? More often than I care to remember. Landry points out that markets do not always go up longer term. He gives examples:
Suppose you bought stocks in 1929 at the market peak. Provided you could have held through a 90% loss, it would then have taken you a quarter of a century just to get back to breakeven....

Let's say you bought stocks in the mid-1960's. Your return would have been almost zero until the market finally broke out in 1983, which was 17 years later...

So the market does not always go up in the long term and buying and holding does not always make sense, though that is often the prevailing wisdom.

The book also shares a number of "truths" about the market that make sense. One that I found interesting is that "The markets trade on emotions":

Stocks trade on emotions, period. They do not trade on reality. Stocks trade on the perception of reality, which is driven by human emotions. From the large institution down to the layman, the buying and selling of stocks is based on fear and greed--that is emotion.

So how do you read the emotions? You simply look at the charts.

Okay, at the charts statement, he might have lost me but he seems to have very clear and easy to follow charts about the market that make sense. The book is very easy to read, easy to follow and hopefully, will get me back involved in the market using baby steps or at least allow me to wade back in without losing my shirt.


Sunday, December 05, 2010

"Atlas Shrugged is a dot-by-dot four-color prophecy of the economic disaster and individual liberties threats we see today...."

I am reading a recent copy of The New Individualist that has an interesting interview with Anne C. Heller, the author of Ayn Rand and the World She Made. She discusses the five years it took her to write the biography and how difficult a job it was to find accurate sources and the time consuming research that went into the book. Heller is asked about the reasons for a revival of Rand's work and stated: "The main reason, however, has to be that from one perspective, at least, Atlas Shrugged is a dot-by-dot four-color prophecy of the economic disaster and individual liberties threats we see today and that Rand wrote about so brilliantly fifty years ago."

You can read more about Heller's work at her website

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