Book Review: Beating the Indexes by Bill Feingold

A book about convertible bonds may not strike one as being particularly related to trading. There are aspects to it, though, which definitely fit. That’s why I decided to have a look at Beating the Indexes by Bill Feingold.

The first part of the book is a bit scatter shot. It has the primary focus of outlining the problems with indexing – not so much investing in an index fund as the practice whereby fund managers attempt to match their performance to and index. To that end there are definitely some interesting points made and discussion topics mentioned. It’s just a bit of a mixed bag overall, with the author wondering down a few varied paths along the way.

For example, there’s a chapter which walks the reader through the author’s experience in the convertible bond market. It’s meant, in some ways, to present the key ideas in a case study fashion. I’m not entirely sure it’s successful, though. I think that will largely depend on the reader.

There is a really good chapter which reviews all the key nomenclature, concepts, metrics, etc. involved in bond market investing in general and convertibles in specific. That is smack in the middle of the book and from there on the text becomes much more direct and focused.

Chapter 8 is titled “Enough Already…How Do Convertibles Actually Work?”. This is pretty much exactly how the reader may be feeling at that stage having waded through the first several chapters. Thankfully, the author does get on with it and goes into different types of convertible trading/investing approaches and what to look for in them. This is that part of the book I think most readers would be buying the book to get.

So I guess the bottom line is that this is a book with some quite good parts, but with a lot of stuff which is likely of minimal value.

Make sure to check out all my trading book reviews.

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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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