Backwards Learning

Per Marc Andreessen’s recommendation, I’ve been perusing the Wall Street Journal the last few weeks. To say there’s a lot I don’t understand would be an understatement. There are a lot of fundamental things I don’t understand about the world, the stock market, finance, and business. For example, what exactly does the Dow Jones Industrial Average measure? How is it calculated? How does a company get added to that average? What causes stock prices to change? I don’t even understand the concept of buying and trading shares of a company anyway.

Realizing that I need to back up a few steps, I picked up The Guide to Financial Statements which I’m slowly making my way through. Last night I picked up Investing for Dummies. Finally a book written for me!

In retrospect, I’m not sure I’d do it differently. By working backwards and starting at the deep end I have a better idea of what to focus on now that I’m learning the basics. It’s a pleasure getting those “Aha! Now that makes sense” moments. Given that I read a quarter of Investing for Dummies a few years ago and don’t remember any of it, I think this method will help me connect the dots in a more practical, memorable way.

2 thoughts on “Backwards Learning

  1. Hi Matt,

    Considering the state of the economy at present, you should not be feeling badly about yourself. So called “greater minds” have no idea how the economy works. The latest information is that the $700 billion was a number someone made up for the “bail out.” They thought it sounded like a high enough number. I took remedial arithmetic in high school and I know that’s not even close to bailing us out.

    Maybe that number would have been more believable if “they”–whoever “they” are–said $699, 432, 078.32. That might have sounded like someone calculated something.

    Perhaps in a few weeks when you’ve finished “Investing For Dummies,” you’ll be able to bail us out of this mess. You couldn’t do any worse. lol


    P.S. I found you through Michael Cheney.

  2. Connie,

    What a surprisingly thoughtful comment.

    I’ve learned a bit since I wrote this post, but the only real difference is that now I know how much I don’t know– and I might not even know that!

    I looked up this Michael Cheney guy and see he had a post that mentioned a Swiss college kid named Matt Mazur. That’s not me ;)


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