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Weekend Book Review, by Richard Gill

Cover of  by Brian Marber

"The author of the book, Brian Marber, must have looked at millions of charts over his career. He has been a technical analyst since 1963 and during the 1970s and 80s was voted by institutional investors as the Number 1 technical analyst in the City for six years in a row. So if anyone would be able to persuade me over to the dark side it would be this seasoned veteran.

The first main chapter of the book, funnily enough the Glossary, is perhaps the most useful. Marber explains the main terms used in technical analysis, in an informative, if rather off-beat manner. The simpler terms, such dealer, brokers and bottoms, are given the opinionated Marber treatment, while the more complex vocabulary, which would be less well known to the fundamental analyst, is explained in more detail. Marber then goes into the theory behind technical analysis and in less than a hundred words tries to completely discredits fundamental analysis as a method of research.

Okay, so I think charting is cobblers. I still read the book and after chapter 1 the rest of the book then follows on from on what price leads to and how this is depicted in charts. Marber explains how trends, support, resistance, patterns, indicators, candlesticks, and the like, can be used to predict where the price will be in the future. The finer details of each individual technical theory and technique are beyond the scope of this review but after a thorough read of 11 chapters of Marber's work I can only come to one conclusion. Sometimes technical analysis works and sometimes it doesn't.

Whether you do or do not support Marber's arguments you have to admire the author's informative and irreverent style which makes this book stand out from other, dry, text book style volumes on the subject. The book is also very well laid out, with short snappy paragraphs complimented by clear and colourful graphs. Marber's decades of experience in the field will provide a useful reference for the chartists among you, with the amusing anecdotes and stories of his career in finance well worth the price of the book alone. If you want to learn more about charting, my view is that it will not make you a better investor, but if that is not a deterrent, this is a good book on the voodoo science and my fundamental analysis is that this is a SPECULATIVE BUY."

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