Barton Biggs – Wealth, War, and Wisdom


In Wealth, War, and Wisdom, legendary Wall Street investor Barton Biggs reveals how the turning points of World War II intersected with market performance. Biggs will help the 21st-century investor comprehend our own perilous times as well as choose the best strategies for the modern market economy.

“The wisdom of the markets” prevails, even in the most turbulent of eras: the British stock market bottomed out just before the Battle of Britain; the U.S. market turned at the epic Battle of Midway; and the German market peaked at the high-water mark of Germany’s attack on Russia. Those events turned out to be the three great turning points of World War II – although at the time, no one and no instrument except the stock markets recognized them.

Biggs skillfully discusses the performance of equities in both victorious and defeated countries, reveals how individuals preserved their wealth despite the ongoing battles, and explores whether or not public equities were able to increase in value and serve as a wealth preserver.

Biggs also looks at how other assets, including real estate and gold, fared during this dynamic and devastating period, and offers valuable insights on preserving one’s wealth for future generations.

Author: Barton Biggs
Narrator: Erik Synnestvedt
Duration: 11 hours 49 minutes
Released: 8 Mar 2007
Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC
Language: English

User Review:

rose cumbersome

Wealth, War, and Wisdom by Barton Biggs was informative as well as entertaining. Its main thesis was that wealth could often be preserved in the face of war and other calamities. As a student of both history and the economy, I was not disappointed in the book. Biggs’ account of World War II and the Korean wars (in all their tragedies and glories)was detailed. He related specific battles and events of the wars with an accounting of the stock market’s performance in that specific country during that time period. (Of course, the underlying belief that the equities market is rational and responds reliably to political and social events continues to be debated.) In his conclusion, Biggs gave explicit recommendations regarding the content and proportion that one’s holdings should take in the face of calamity. He also recommended the means by which to hold onto one’s money in case the barbarians (in whatever form) contrived to strip the wealthy of their wealth. He further cautioned the reader to learn to recognize the appearance of black swans, which presumably herald the need to change one’s investment strategies. The author’s breadth of knowledge and research was exhaustive. Since I am not wealthy and thus have little to lose, reading the book was an academic exercise — but it was also informative and thought provoking.