(NOT QUITE) WALL STREET GIBBERISH, 2009 THIRD QUARTER NEWSLETTER

Normally I use this occasional feature to expose spoken or written “wisdom” that is technically correct, but is also misleading and potentially harmful to investors’ financial well being. This time I was motivated by a Wall Street Journal article about a woman in England who has been on a thirty year campaign for “Plain English” to make business and government writing understandable and to eliminate confusing and ambiguous text. For example, instead of a bank talking about a “maximum debit balance,” they should say the “most that can be owed.” Or the Fed and Britain’s central bank say they will be doing “quantitative easing” when it would be clearer to say they are adding money to the economy.

In that spirit, I found a humorous list of famous book titles and what they might be if written in today’s hype filled environment:

Original: The Wealth of Nations
Revised: Invisible Hands: The Mysterious Market Forces That Control Our Lives and How to Profit from Them

Original: Walden
Revised: Camping with Myself: Two Years in American Tuscany

Original: The Theory of the Leisure Class
Revised: Buying Out Loud: The Unbelievable Truth About What We Consume and What It Says About Us

Original: The Prince
Revised: The Prince (Foreword by Oprah Winfrey)

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