Buy – Don’t Hold by Leslie Masonson is called a investing book, but I’m tempted to put it in the trading category.Â It depends on how you prefer to define the difference between the two. The book’s subtitle is “Investing with ETFs using relative strength to increase returns with less risk”.Â Using relative strength makes me think trading, but there are definitely elements of the approach outlined in the book which speaks toward what I would probably think of as investing.Â In anyÂ case,Â as I noted in The Essentials of Trading, I look at trading and investing as being functionallyÂ the same thing, with perhaps a philosophical difference in approach.Â I’ll leave it to the reader to make their own judgement.
This book is largely a practical text focused on application. The author outlines a very specific strategy for deciding whether the stock market is to be considered in an uptrend, downtrend, ranging, or turning. His “dashboard” comprises a collection of indicators which are very much technical analysis oriented. They include market breadth indicators, sentiment readings, and some basic price studies. The scoring of the indicators provides the user a market reading from which to develop a strategy. From there, Masonson moves on to picking the best trading/investment vehicle based on relative strength readings. In other words, it’s very much a top-down approach.
On the plus side, the author is very good about explaining the various methods he employs in his strategy. He suggests specific tools (most free, some paid, but not necessarily required) and walks the reader through applying things. On the negative side, much of the first third of the book is dedicated to proving how bad an idea buy-and-hold investing is -Â definitely overkill there – and I thought in general the writing could have been better. Also, while Masonson does demonstrate the value of the dashboard indicators he uses, he doesn’t actually show a good historical look at how the overall strategy would have done. Still, it’s a book which can certainly provide the fodder for research and development for those interested in longer-term stock market trading/investing and/or asset allocation between and among markets.
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About the Author
John Forman, author of this blog, has traded for more than 20 years, is a professional market analyst, and authored The Essentials of Trading. He is an active participant in trading forums, consults for trading related businesses, as published literally dozens of trading articles, and has been quoted in a number of books and in the media.
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