26 January 2009

Review: The Wallstrip Edge by Howard Lindzon

Investing books run the gamut from bad to Mad and from the solipsistic to the sophomoric. Most are wasting your time with hackneyed investing tips ("buy low; sell high") or the author's idea of the latest hot stocks. Such books seem designed to get you to watch the author's nightly TV show or to buy their next book.

In short, creating noise.

"Noise is the investor's worst enemy," Howard Lindzon says to open his book, The Wallstrip Edge: Using Trends to Make Money -- Find Them, Ride Them and Get Off. "It leads to fear, anxiety, and countless investing mistakes."

Lindzon tells his readers to turn off the TV, stop reading the financial headlines, and to ignore hot tips from friends, family, or your neighbor's dog. Rather, Lindzon, creator of Wallstrip.com the web-based video program that mashed pop culture and the stock market, offers an alternative approach.

It's a simple premise: stocks that have hit an all-time high and are showing signs of growth are likely to go up before they go down. For many, this is counter-intuitive: how can what appears to be an expensive stock be a good bet for an investment? Why don't I just buy a lower priced stock so I can buy more shares?

Lindzon suggests that jumping on a trend on the way up, riding it until it begins to show signs of slipping, and managing your price threshold can lead to greater success than traditional approaches to stock market investing.

He's a good writer, as readers of his popular blog are aware. And he has as much fun at his own expense as a stand-up comedian. But don't let the class clown image fool you, Lindzon is a smart investor and business man with a string of successes, Wallstrip and Golf.com among them.

His latest venture, StockTwits, builds on his own advice to connect to and leverage a network of people you trust to help you stay on top of trends, creating conversation rather than noise.

And staying on top of trends is important in today's rapidly changing investing landscape. The trouble with many investing books is that things are changing so fast that what is a high-flying stock when the author is writing may have tanked by the time of publication.

Certainly you can point to some of the stocks Howard Lindzon discusses in The Wallstrip Edge and say the same thing. Actually, even Wallstrip is no more; CBS, which bought the property from Lindzon in 2007, recently pulled the plug on the program.

But Lindzon suggests it's not about individual stocks, but the opportunity and, if you stay focused on the all-time high list, you'll always find an opportunity. The glass is half full and new trends always emerge. You simply need to pay attention.

Sound advice from a seasoned pro. And worth the price, which by the way costs about as much as a share of $CBS stock at its 52-week high.

(Disclosure: I am Long Howard Lindzon and StockTwits.)

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