"What's all this talk about credit?" asked the Broker's wife as they settled down to coffee and cigarettes after dinner...
THIS IS ONE of the finest books ever written about money.
Smitley wrote Popular Financial Delusions in 1933, when the world was in the depth of the Great Depression. He had started out on the New York Stock Exchange, but gave it up to buy a bookshop on Wall Street, and he became an expert.
Better still, he understood markets – and he had a bigger collection of pithy phrases than the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. The result, gathering together a series of columns he wrote in The Financial World and The American Banker in the early '30s, is useful knowledge, brilliantly presented and easily assimilated.
The book is a collection of about 70 sections, each of which stands on its own. None has any reverence for the sacred cows of the investment world. From the investment trust to the mortgage, to the pension, bank deposit and – yes – even Gold; one after the other Smitley skillfully slices them up, and shows them for what they so often are.
Very instructive and very amusing. But surprisingly difficult to find a copy of! It's been out of print since the late '80s, leaving would-be readers with a price ticket of $60 and more today.