Stock Market Contest

Story Contestants Buy Reviews

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Mister J. Arthur Colvin had always kept his own counsel. He didn’t like attorneys, consultants, or physicians and he especially loathed money managers. “Mismanagers,” he retorted to his personal assistant Irving when the latter made the mistake of suggesting that the Colvin Real Estate Group might place some of its profits with one. “Paid to squander. Make less on the upside, lose more on the down. Charge fees no matter what.”

Thus began the Colvin Group’s quest for a superior way to invest in stocks. Working with professors at the UCLA Anderson School of Business, the Harvard Business School, and other top business schools around the United States, the Colvin Group pitted 10 top business students against each other in a stock trading race to win $5 million in 15 years spanning 1995 to 2010.

Nobody knew at the beginning of the contest that the 15-year period would cover some of the most dramatic booms and busts in stock market history: the dot-com rocket and crash, the subprime housing bubble and collapse, the disappearance of “must own” companies, and unprecedented monetary stimulus. Into the eye of the turbulence marched 10 extraordinarily skilled investors chosen from more than 900 applicants. Each of the 10 specialized in a different market segment and employed a different style. In 2010, a battered but market-wise victor emerged to claim $5 million before the age of 40.

This is the story of a singular journey that defined character, drew clear distinctions among market approaches, and illustrated for spectators what it really means to plunge wholeheartedly into stocks.

There’s more than money at risk. This story shows how the market really works, and what it will do to you.


11/21/2011 | 5 stars | “GREAT. Entertaining and useful.”
Brian Donnelly

I cannot put this book down. It does something that very few other investment books have done for me…it is not a hard read and it does not contain any heavy finance, but what it does do is capture the tenor and feeling of various market years covering a decade and half that gave me a picture of what investors faced throughout different financial debacles. Listening to the stories of the intellectual and emotional reactions of the investors competing in this contest as they confronted the booming 90s and subsequent down-turn has really helped me with the clarity of my own thinking regarding investment decisions as well. The book reinforces the fact that some things change and some things really never change but watching how people under stress responded to various situations with changes to their investment rules or systems was enlightening to me. The parts of the book that explore the internal struggle of trying to follow rules and not letting emotions (greed, fear, etc) run wild are fascinating. I am young enough to have come of age in the 90s but was not old enough at the time to realize what a time of optimism and excitement it truly was for many people – the book does a great job from a historical point of view of capturing the feel of the periods involved as well. I have however actively traded and invested since 2005 so I can at least say that the gut wrenching investment decisions that some of the contestants had to make were really captured well. Like much of his other writing, it is educational but not narrowly focused on only finance and money, rather the book touches on the effect finance and money can have on people and the world at large. A good combo of entertaining and useful.

11/23/2011 | 5 stars | “The ‘Secret’ Edge to Investing in Stocks”
Mendell Gosnell

It will be no surprise to me when Jason Kelly’s recent book, “Stock Market Contest” hits the best sellers list. Although I am a busy small business owner I couldn’t keep myself from plowing through the book over the course of 3 days. The book reveals a unique look behind the scenes and into the lives of 10 different people who are knit together by the common thread that is the stock market. Mr. Kelly does a superb job of developing the characters over the course of the book in-to-which by the end you can’t help feeling a sense of connectedness with them. The book tracks 10 handpicked candidates to compete in a cunningly devised “experiment” called the stock market contest that runs over the course of 15 years like a dangerous river with all of its twists and turns and highs and lows and treacherous sections. The book covers the market time frame from 1995 thru 2010 which encapsulates everything from the raging bull market to the exploding era all the way to our not so distant housing bust and financial melt-down. The mastermind behind the stock market contest in the book has one glorious objective in mind…to uncover the hidden wisdom to gaining untold riches in investing in the stock market through the use of this tiny little secret. After 10 years into the contest only 4 finalists will make it into the final 5 year home stretch to compete for the ultimate prize and reveal the secret of how to make money in the stock market. Jason Kelly hits a home run again with this stellar read. It is my pleasure to recommend this book to any anDd all and especially to those traders and investors looking to gain an edge and be entertained all the while.

11/25/2011 | 5 stars | “Captivating and Extremely Interesting Read”
Kirk Madsen

Once again, Jason Kelly takes a concept that many people have a hard time understanding and makes it both fun and interesting in Stock Market Contest. This time, it is in the context of an absolutely enrapturing read centered around a truly unique contest. I downloaded the book on Thanksgiving night and here I am, still digesting the Black Friday leftovers, and I’ve already read the whole thing.

This is a page-turning, wild ride of a book. You really start to feel a shared sense of euphoria on the ride up to the top, and it becomes easy to understand how everything unraveled in the markets like it did in the last few years. Along the way, don’t be surprised if you learn a thing or two. While not intentional about its instruction, the book does certainly serve the purpose of teaching its readers by following the finalists on their way to windfalls and ruts – and the tremendous toll it takes on their lives. You really get a sense for how many profitable vehicles have come and gone in such a short period of time, and it makes you wonder what the next one will be. From the burst of the dot com bubble, to the rise and fall of subprime real estate and emerging markets investments, the financial boon presents itself to the protagonists time and time again. To learn from the finalists is to learn a valuable investing lesson: it’s a long and winding road, and you have to ride out every twist and turn to avoid veering off the path.

Regardless, this is a very well-written book from Jason Kelly that would be a terrific add to any library. It would also be an excellent cautionary tool for anyone who feels they’ve gotten a little bit too big for their britches or too cute with their investment decisions. The approaches vary as widely as the personalities, and it is no surprise that the results do as well.

11/27/2011 | 5 stars | “Well-Worth Reading”
Paul Langrock

This is a most interesting and unique story about stock market investing. Buckle up for a thrilling Bull and Bear ride through market highs and lows, and learn about investing all from the safe and secure seat of the reader. Although fictional, the lessons are factual.

Without revealing the story, it is about a businessman/investor Art Colvin of Colvin Real Estate Group who has proven that a wealthy long-term investor, like himself, can outperform overpaid professional advisers. His idea is to discover a simple, successful strategy “…to help regular folks do better in the market.” To do so, Colvin creates and underwrites a contest. He assembles 10 extremely bright, business school students from across the country for his “Long-term investment shootout”. The setting chosen by Kelly is a gem – the period of 1995 to 2010 – a time that contained more energy, excitement and emotion than most investors experience in a lifetime.

This book has a nice flow, making for an easy to read. I felt like I was right there in the trenches with the chosen ten.

I previously read just one Jason Kelly book, the non-fictional, “The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing.” It is stocked with market lessons. On multiple levels both of these books are well-worth reading.

11/27/2011 | 4 stars | “Memories of years as an investor”
Henry Mourad

What a story! Jason Kelly has a huge advantage by being in the thick of it as a newsletter writer. Not only he is phenomenal as a market investment letter writer, he is also a captivating book author. From the first chapter, I wanted to know about the contest and how it all ends. But what was most interesting to me was the market history and how it played in the scheme of the story. Being an old investor, I relived events like the bear market of 73 & 74, the savings and loan crisis, the Asian market collapse, the Long Capital Management investment algorithm that could not fail, and of course the Dot com bubble. Funny thing is with every event, I knew exactly where I was when I hit the sell or buy button. What I gleaned from the book though with all these crisis, the world never ended because here we are today in the soup again to face another crisis. The suspense carries till the end of the book. Good job Jason, your book is well written and ought to be read if for anything for readers to have a good time.

11/28/2011 | 3 stars | “You’ll want more”

Jason Kelly is a good author. You’ll want to read this book all the way through. Mr. Kelly did a great job building momentum and given an insight into each contestant. You can identify yourself with them and even pick your favorite.

This is not a “How to …” book, it won’t show you how to trade but it will show you what “seems” to work while trading. Unfortunately the rules of the contest did not include other markets,there were no contestants that focused on international markets or currency, both of which are things available to Joe public.

Please do not by any chance read the last page of this book, it has a very abrupt ending. I felt that there are still questions unanswered regarding participants that were eliminated. It may have been the author’s intention but without giving too much away, I simply don’t understand how come if through the books some figures were being mentioned he should have showed them all at the end.

I want to mention again that this is not a “How to….” book and certainly some actions taken by the contestants are too risky for a common investor, for them it wasn’t as the initial money was not put by any of them. They would have been more carefull if it was their money on the line.

11/28/2011 | 5 stars | “Figuring Out What and When”
Ron Onufer

Ten of America’s best and brightest, selected from prestigious graduate schools of business, vie for a $5 million prize. Whomever accumulates the most money from picking stocks over a 15-year period wins. Goal of the contest? Discover stock-picking strategies that can work for average investors. As the contestants find, it always comes down to knowing What, meaning good stocks at cheap prices, and the more-important When, meaning correctly guessing when the market will change direction to benefit one’s stock picks. Coming from diverse ethnic, economic and social backgrounds, the contestants form a microcosm of savvy investors. We learn a great deal about them from their dialogue with each other, their loved ones, their friends and business confidants. The contest begins in 1995, in the middle of the greatest bull market ever seen in America. The action, such as it is, carries these very brainy people through 15 years of events-of-the-day, many of which are headline news, but few of which actually move the markets. In the background, as a silent character, is the market itself. Inscrutable. Heart-breaking. Rarely an ally, always a worthy adversary that leaves many behind in a dusty heap. Jason Kelly uses the contest as a literary device to expound on what works and what doesn’t work to make money in the stock market. I was pulled along the timeline, unable to put my Kindle down, developing likes and dislikes for the contestants along the way. You might say I was invested in the story, because I was an investor over that period, too, and remember the few highs and many lows. If the market intrigues you, this book will capture you from the first chapter and sling you through 15 years to the end. Don’t be surprised if you learn a bit about investing along the way.

11/28/2011 | 5 stars | “Well Worth Reading”
Vilis Stomers

After reading the first chapter, I was hooked. Imagine being one of the ten young people just out of business school selected to compete in an investing contest that will last for fifteen years. At the start, you were given a $100,000 trading account in real dollars. And at the end of the contest, you get to keep everything you have earned in your account. And then there is the bonus, an additional $5 million to the winner. WOW!

One by one, you meet the individual traders and are taken into their lives, which are as diverse as they could be. One young man operates a family Christmas tree farm; another comes from a wealthy family of investors. And then you will learn about the lives of the eight others. Who will have the advantage?

If someone had their retirement money in the market as a passive investor, how would they do? It turns out that for this fifteen-year time frame, and with the contest finishing at the end of 2009, the Dow gained only 172%. That $100,000 would now be worth $272,000 if it were invested in an index fund. Could you do any better? Could the ten contestants do any better and could they beat the Dow? And could anyone turn this starting cash into a million dollars? Or maybe even more. The answer will surprise you and show you what a skilled investor can do with the right approach. The last chapter is especially riveting as you witness the battle between the finalists in the remaining days of the contest. You will be on the edge of your seat as you root for your favorite.

Whether you are a seasoned investor or just beginning, this book will give you insights on the different approaches each of the ten contestants used. While the reader does not have to be an expert in trading, they should have a basic understanding of how the stock market works. Terms such as shorting stocks, MACD, moving averages and other technical indicators are referenced throughout the book.

I found the book most enjoyable and highly recommend it. You might also consider his instructional book “The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing.” Well done, Mr. Kelly!

11/28/2011 | 5 stars | “Captivating!!! Must read for anyone interested in stocks or the economy!”
Ivan M. Bland

I was very excited about this book, and it did not disappoint. Skip the rest of this review and just read it.

I have to say this is one of the most exciting and well written books I’ve read. If you are interested in the stock market, the economy, or just would like to read about a 15 year stock contest, it’s a riveting ride from start to finish. Even though it’s not a “how-to” investing book, you will learn a huge amount, just by the sheer history of the market covered, investing techniques from each of the contestants, etc. Both the dot com bust and housing bubble are covered, including the exciting bull market of the mid nineties. If there’s anything was disappointed in, it was the way some of the contestants maintained impressive gains- the top dogs had some key information from inside people, which is discouraging to an individual investor like myself. A key theme of successful investing is to “know a sector” like the back of your hand. Indeed, each contestant had a very strong trait (real estate, financial companies, oil) but some of them were very successful based off of inside information or from talking to friends who happened to have very good connections to important information! I won’t elaborate because I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you read the book, you’ll see what I mean. This isn’t Jason’s fault, as he just wrote the story, but I guess I feel disappointed because I was hoping for solid fundamental investing (ie buy quality companies and hold) to triumph. It’s hard to be an individual investor, especially in this market, and I was kind of hoping for a Disney ending. One thing that I noticed was that the contestants seemed to voice a lot of Jason’s opinions, straight from his other book “Financially Stupid People Are Everywhere: Don’t Be One of Them.” Not a big deal, as he has good points, and I liked that book a lot, but it seemed to undermine the credibility of characters slightly (I found myself asking, did that character really say that, or did Jason find a good spot to plug his opinion?). Or, maybe it was indeed the character, and great investors think alike.

Fantastic book. Not only a fun read, but I learned a lot about the past 15 years, investment strategies, etc. If you’ve enjoyed his other books, you will definitely like this one. A must read for any investor. Well done Jason!!!

11/28/2011 | 4 stars | “Definitely worth reading if you are interested in trading or investing.”
Evan Fabico

Jason’s other book, The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing, was the very first book I read about the stock market, a year and a half ago. It was the perfect introduction to the subject, and sparked a love for the stock market that changed my career path from law to finance. Jason has a knack for taking potentially dry and arcane subject matter and making it exciting to read, which in my mind is the hallmark of a great storyteller.

In light of this, when I heard that Jason had come out with a new book about a stock trading COMPETITION, I knew I had to read it. If Jason could make explanations of price-to-book ratios readable, this story had to be a page-turner.

Suffice it to say that my expectations were met. Stock Market Contest is a riveting book. Normally I read in bed at night to help ease myself into sleep, but this book kept me wide awake. I had to talk myself into putting my Kindle down around 3 a.m. just so I could get some rest.

And as with any good story, behind the drama are lessons for the reader. While this is not an explicit “How To” book, one can learn quite a bit about what works (and what doesn’t) in the stock market by studying the trials and tribulations of the 10 contestants. People who have experience trading or investing in stocks will surely find themselves nodding their heads knowingly on several occasions throughout this book.

Definitely worth reading if you are interested in trading or investing.

11/28/2011 | 4 stars | “You will not be able to put it down”
Dan Coiro

As a subscriber to the Kelly Letter, I was familiar with the writing style of Mr. Kelly & truly enjoyed the “journey” through this e-book. He has a unique style and wonderfully brought out the personalities of all the contestants. I found myself identifying with a couple of the contestants and feeling the stress they were feeling while agonizing over whether or not their strategies were going to hold and take them to the finish line. If you want to know what the life of an investor/trader is like, read this book. If you want to know whether or not it is important to concentrate on a particular segment in the market, read this book. If you believe it is not important to have a solid network of able bodied investment help then this book may change your mind. I would have liked to see more details of the strategies used but that wasn’t the intent of the book.

11/29/2011 | 4 stars | “Half Stock Book, Half Novel”
Ed Ampuero

Stock Market Contest is not what you’d expect from Jason Kelly if you’ve read his previous books on investing. Previous books by Kelly are best classified as “how to” books describing specific strategies that can, for the most part, be directly implemented into your portfolio. If you’re looking for another “how to” book, this isn’t it! I’m assuming this was not for lack of effort, but not really the purpose of this book. This book provided a light description of multiple investing strategies without getting into the fine details.

What this book does provide is a great description of the 10 different characters and their rationales for personal strategies. After the first few chapters I predict that you will start to relate to one or another contestant based on your personal feelings about particular industries or investing styles. The characters in the book have a very wide range of risk tolerance, the author did a good job about personifying the complete range of characters from the typical hot-shot seeking explosive growth to the ultra-conservative investor spending most of his time on the sideline.

The best part of the book was being able to anticipate all the crazy market events from the last 15 years knowing that some strategies are going to end up in a train wreck… or do they? The biggest take away from the book is that news happens all the time, but the trick is identifying what news is big enough to move markets. After reading this book, you’ll find that the market will typically stay its course regardless of the news… “until it doesn’t”.

11/29/2011 | 4 stars | “Exciting read”
Toni Borrett

This book is a very good read, exciting even! It really describes the highs and lows of investing in the stock market. It describes how 10 very different students from different walks of life trade the market over 15 years for a $5 million prize pool. Reading the stories of the intellectual and emotional reactions of the investors competing in this contest as they face booms and busts clarifies the psychological aspects of investing. The book reinforces the fact that it is important to know your market and not spread yourself too thin. It shows the gamut of emotions that can be felt while trading – greed, fear etc. Mr Kelly’s style is conversational while being educational; there is no financial jargon; this book can be read by the novice or more experienced trader/investor. If I had a criticism it would only be that the strategies of the contestants have not been laid out in fine detail, so if you want to read a book to give you a method for trading, this one is not it, but it never purports to be. The reader can deduce a basic structure for each of the strategies however. I couldn’t put it down!

11/29/2011 | 5 stars | “Stock Market Contest”
D. Allan Woods

The year is 1995, and a well-to-do, self-made man wants to know, can the stock market really be beaten? He instigates a contest involving the funding of $100,000 each for 10 contestants from various backgrounds. Each contestant is then artfully brought to life by Mr. Kelley, showing how they deal in tactics and emotion with some of the most tumultuous years the stock market has ever seen, 1995-2010. You’ll find that you become attached to certain characters, even rooting them on as the contest proceeds. This book adds an emotional layer of depth not often seen in other books on investing and finance. You’ll have an insider’s view into how each dealt with the tech bust, the ensuing sub-prime mortgage fiasco, and it even includes how the participants dealt with the implosion of our banks, and the resulting plunge of the entire market in 2008. This is all interesting because we see not just the technical skills and investment strategies each contestant employs, but also the powerful psychological forces that every honest with himself/herself investor faces, greed and fear. In fact, how these contestants and each of us manage our emotions is just as important as any strategies we employ in seeking alpha! The end result of the contest is that the contestants can keep their money, (some did quite well, some were not as adroit). However, the winner receives a bit of a bonus, FIVE MILLION DOLLARS! The psychology of the market and how damaging it can be is once again skillfully displayed by Mr. Kelley as he describes the contestant’s push to the finish, even as they have to deal with some huge losses in the not so distant time-frame of 2008. What these contestants learn about themselves and the market, are definite lessons that each of us can employ to our own advantage in investing. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say be sure and don’t peek forward to the end until you actually get there. What you’ll find during this entire adventure is entertainment, the psychology of investing seen on a deeper emotional level than other books, and a little bit about the actual strategy that each contestant employed. However, this is not a “How To Invest,” book. I highly recommend that those who have the additional interest in a how-to-invest book, check out, “The Neatest Little Guide To Stock Market Investing.” (2010 Edition). You might find yourself highly entertained and engrossed within the contest and contestant’s lives in “Stock Market Contest,” but then your whistle is wetted on how to actually go about outperforming the market. Mr. Kelley’s guide on how to invest is also written with the same aplomb, but gives you all those technical details you need to beat the market. It makes for a great one-two punch! Get excited about beating the market, then learn how!

11/29/2011 | 4 stars | “Stock Market Contest is a valuable addition to your investing bookshelf”
Walter Lewis

Jason Kelly has a unique style and approach, which brings a valuable perspective to the reader. I first read Jason’s “The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing”, and was impressed with the value per page I got out of the book. For the dollar, that book is packed with information which is actionable way. People often say information is power, but for my dollar the ability to act on that information is the real key.

I wasn’t sure f I would like “Stock Market Contest”, after all reading about a contest doesn’t seem like the type of thing that can add value to your investing, and I have fiction to read for pleasure.

Where this book delivered was in the psychology of the investors, and the character study that provides the narrative of the book. Where his other book focused on the mechanics this book focuses on the real killer of gains in the real world, and that is your own head. Reading about the trials these people faced will add value to your investing particularly when coupled with the “Neatest Little Guide..”.

Overall I was left with the feeling of encouragement, that given the right motivation, and sound practices, that spectacular results are possible despite what efficient market theorists tell us.
The only thing I would have liked, which is missing is a better wrap up of all the contestants in the end.

11/29/2011 | 5 stars | “Stock Market Contest”
Robert Crocker

Great concept, executed wonderfully! Jason’s audience does not pick up a book without intending to take away valuable ($) lessons. Somehow Jason manages to squeeze in a few laughs on the side. I wasn’t sure what my takeaways from this book would be exactly, but it yields greater returns than I ever would have anticipated. This book grants insight into 15 years of investing from the best of the best.

Don’t underestimate these kids! The time frame which this book takes place in covers some of the best and worst days the market has seen in history and the contestants manage themselves beautifully. By following these investors through their trials and tribulations, one gets invaluable knowledge of how to best play the game regardless of its condition. One is able to observe/learn the best strategies, when to use them and how to proceed when the rules don’t apply. I am no professional investor myself, but you will definitely feel as though you are one after experiencing this book.

Many books will teach you about what metrics to look for, the makeup of those metrics and when to implement them. An understanding finance is a must, but one can easily pigeon hole themselves if they are unable to clearly relate their analysis to the bigger picture. Now, you may be saying “well, what is the bigger picture?”. Don’t ask me! Read this book and learn from the pros. You will be amazed the amount of knowledge gained from this read.

11/29/2011 | 5 stars | “A stock investment page turner? Yes!”
Angelo DiNardi

I’ve read other books by Jason Kelly and have enjoyed the content and his writing style. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from him in this book — less instruction and more story, but I gave it a try.

The result: I couldn’t set it down and read it in two days. Every page leaves you in suspense of what the outcome is going to be. Suspense in a book about investing — totally unexpected!

To me, the best part of the book was that after I finished I not only had enjoyed the read but gained some good lessons to apply to my own investing.

11/30/2011 | 4 stars | “Great Book!”
Tony Shortridge

Who doesn’t hate having to pay exorbitant fees to stock brokers for their dubious advice about stocks? When to buy? When to sell? What the market is going to do short-term, long term? If it isn’t clear to the reader already, there are no market gurus-just brokers/money managers making money off your portfolio, win or lose. If you’re a wealthy man, why not start a contest, give $100,000 to 10 business school contestants from different backgrounds and describe their tactics and emotions over the crazy stock market from 1995-2010. Believe it or not, this is an investment book that deals with emotion of participating in the stock market. The book describes the highs and lows that success and failure bring; along with the individual psychological make-up that each contestant bring to their investments, resulting in a book which is more interesting than most dealing solely with investments and finance. The book describes how the contestants deal with the rise and fall of the boom, the heady real estate market and the mortage/sub-prime meltdown, the market plunge in 2008 and the banking disaster. Each contestant demonstrates his/her investment strategies and we follow the resulting greed, fear, questioning and desire for a safe harbor that every investor has felt. This isn’t a “how to invest” book, (if that is what you’re looking for, check out Mr. Kelley’s “The Neatest Little Guide To Stock Market Investing.)”, this book is more about managing emotion, holding the line, and what the contestants learn through competing in the game, all of which are easily applicable to any investor.

11/30/2011 | 5 stars | “Exciting finance book — for real”
Anthony Miletic

After reading most of Jason Kelly’s books and being a longtime subscriber to his newsletter I was very excited when his new book came out. Stock Market Contest is an easy read that gets you into the mindset of ten of the brightest finance students this nation’s colleges have to offer. Being an avid investor with no time to do my homework (typically a horrible combination) I usually gravitate towards books that focus on the psychology of money and investing since most of my investing life has been post 2004. The contest is simple and is something that every investor wishes was done before so that they could get an “edge”. Needless to say there is no secret but hard work and nerve wracking decisions that need to be made on a constant basis. For me it opened a window into the lives of these people and allowed me to take a walk in their shoes. I still maintain my future goal of becoming a self sustaining investor once my own system is engineered but until then I can be happy knowing that the life is not as easy as the movies make it seem. Another great book from Jason.

11/30/2011 | 4 stars | “Entertaining way to learn how to navigate the financial markets”
Vince Ferguson

I have previously read Mr. Kelly’s “Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing,” which is a great guide to surviving and thriving in the markets (and one that would have saved me from some big losses had I read it many years ago). This newest book perfectly complements the “Neatest Little Guide” by telling the actual “story of the markets” over the past fifteen years in a unique way that is truly ingenious, yet highly educational. It’s an entertaining read, but will inevitably instill in the reader a level of understanding in the markets and their complexity that would be difficult to get in any other way. The past fifteen years in the markets have been dangerous, yet filled with opportunity, and offer the perfect lesson in investing intelligently. This book tells the story of that turbulent period through the eyes of 10 contestants in a stock market contest that will test each of them more than they can realize. In telling his story, Mr. Kelly has created an entertaining book that is really far more educational than you might imagine. If you lived through this period as an involved investor who pored over the financial news and reports regularly, then much of the detail included may seem a bit redundant. But for those who had other things to do and who didn’t follow the markets on a daily basis, or for anyone who wants to re-live the amazing time period while being entertained, this book is perfect.

All in all, this book will be appreciated by the novice as well as the expert investor, and perfectly summarizes in an entertaining way how to navigate the markets successfully. It puts on display the various approaches that work, and those that don’t, and allows the reader to choose what would work best for him or her.

11/30/2011 | 5 stars | “Another great book”
Charles J. Burkett III

I just finished reading my copy of Stock Market Contest, and to be honest I couldn’t put it down. Jason Kelly does a wonderful job of telling the story, and establishing connections with each of the characters invovled. I was amazed at the insites of the young investors invovled, and how well they new the market.

Looking back, they were making calls that were hitting pretty close to the mark of what came to pass. They picked some of the best stocks, each person had an intimate knowledge of their particular segment of the market.

I really feel the contest proved what it set out to prove, and all of the people involved were winners, they showed there is a better way to invest in the market, and that anyone can acutally do it. Perhaps not to the degree that these people did, but at the same time, they faced one roller coaster ride on the market between 1995 and 2010.

I don’t know anyone who investes that wouldn’t be interested in what this book has to say and teach us. It brings home something my grandfater and father said to me a long time ago. If you are going to invest in the market, then invest in what you know, and know it well.

The bottom line is this is not only a informational book, it is also a great story. It was very entertaining, and didn’t read like it was recapping the event, it made you feel like you were part of it as it happened.

11/30/2011 | 5 stars | “Entertaining education”
Barbara Carey Leonard

When I first picked up this book, I thought, ‘Oh, this isn’t what I expected. It is a story, not an educational book about the stock market.’ Boy, was I wrong! It is about 10 business students, over a period of 15 years in a contest to produce the most reliable ‘system’. A ‘system’ that an average person could use and understand. I have been in the market for those respective 15 years. Boy,did it bring back emotional memories. It was a wonderful review of hind sight. In between what I remembered experiencing were many myths and stories about how to beat the market (i.e In in November, out in May, etc.) . Also, some wise sayings of the elders who had been through previous market volatility. It was entertaining education to watch the different personalities attack the contest: the high risk taker, the slow but steady, the ones who were heavily vested in the fields they knew well (or thought they did)and the ones that had trouble changing tack when the wind changed. We have all been there as one or more of these personalities at some time. It was a charming read, throughly enjoyable, will probably be one of the few books I will keep and read twice. If only, to remind myself not to make the same mistakes again. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the stock market. There is a life time of insight between the ‘pages’. (I read in on my Kindle until I dropped my Kindle and broke it. Then I had to finish it on my Android phone. I couldn’t put it down.)

11/30/2011 | 5 stars | “The second most important book I read about the market”
Howard Marcalle

I had this book in my “to read list”, just because I find “The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing, 2010 Edition” to be a great book, which I have read in two editions.

This one also proved to be a great book. Once you pick this book up, you won’t be able to put it down, you get hooked and have to read it all, once I started reading it, I got glued to it for four days.

It shows all the feelings, pressure, self doubt and stress that a group of contestants and every investor goes thru when risking ones economy trading stocks. It shows how hard it is sticking thru a strategy, and most important of all, what really works in the market. You get totally connected with all the contestants and go thru all the ups and downs, it is very exciting. Reliving the very hard times in year 2008 was really tough, and knowing that many had the foresight to see what was to come, and then having lived thru them, knowing that people this smart made profits gives the rest of us a look at the broader picture of the market.

I wished the contestant in my sector of business won, but didn’t. At least my pick got extraordinary results.

Tomorrow I am going all Cash, and start researching to come up with a real strategy for my investments.

11/30/2011 | 5 stars | “Excellent Investing Retrospective”
Arthur Ling

“Stock Market Contest” by Jason Kelly is a fascinating and enjoyable look back at the market from the turbulent ’90’s bull market and subsequent “dot com” bear market all the way to the market peak and our current financial crisis. The story is written as a contest between 10 young traders and their respective trading strategies over a 15 year span encompassing all the ups and downs that so many of us have gone through. It is a totally engrossing read and I felt it was like “Forrest Gump” meets Wall street the way the story led us through all the historical events that served as a backdrop to this 15 year investing period.

The emotional experiences that each of the traders go through will resonate with most traders and is the actual point of this story. It is this emotional aspect that is so rarely discussed that separates this from a typical investing advice book. Most instructional books on the market are a technical breakdown of the mechanics of the market, but it is actually the emotions of fear and greed that is much more important in determining a good trader. Withstanding the emotional roller coaster and the all-consuming nature of investing would have me dissuading most people from trading.

This combined with Jason’s other books on finance and investing make up a complete course in investing. Well done.

11/30/2011 | 5 stars | “The market is up, the market is down, but I couldn’t put this down.”

It’s so readable. But then, what did I expect from Jason Kelly? Jason, the author of a great book for beginning investors called “The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing” has done it again with this book , “Stock Market Contest”. I found myself unable to stop turning the pages. It’s a good thing I am already on Christmas break after finishing finals. I saved this for my leisure reading. Yes, it’s that much fun! But it’s not just fun. I am learning a tremendous amount about wise investing. One of the ways in which I learn the best is stories. That makes sense, when you think about it. People have been learning from stories for thousands of years. They worked long before the scientific method, any other method, or any technical manuals existed. Here, a story works once again, where more technical books filled with jargon might fail. The book will hook you from the beginning, I predict you will be on the edge of your seat to see what happens when 10 mere students are each given 100,000 dollars to invest over a fifteen year period. What to know who wins? I won’t tell. Be sure to read the true story for yourself.

11/30/2011 | 4 stars | “Terrific story, much investing wisdom”
Mark Ashley

This fictional account starts with a “long-term investment shoot-out” sponsored by the head of a real estate company who’s so cantankerous and so fed up with money managers “getting it wrong at every turn or offering nothing useful” that he sets out to find a better way to make money from stocks. And he’s ready with some serious bucks. Each of ten “smart kids” hand-picked from top U.S. business schools gets a hundred grand to manage over the course of the 15 years ending in 2010. The goal: develop a winning strategy…and grow the trading portfolio that each contestant will retain at the end of the contest. The person with the highest portfolio value after 15 years will also win an extra $5M.

Yeah, too bad it’s fiction. But it’s a useful and interesting way to portray a variety of approaches to investing and follow them through recent events that might or might not affect those strategies. Jason Kelly connects them to characters who grow and change through the story as they respond to market volatility (or don’t), adjusting their strategies along the way (or not). It’s hard not to root for some characters (and strategies) over others as you (and they) get more caught up in the contest and their lives.

It’s a fast read that I’ll want to repeat so I can better compare and understand these investment strategies…even though in the end the top performers do take a common approach. Next time, I’ll keep Kelly’s Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing nearby as a reference.

The story is terrific, while the dialog is often awkward and hard to believe. But much wisdom seeps through, which the story gives real life to: “One of the first things you learn about stocks is that doing what makes you feel bad is often the right thing to do.”

11/30/2011 | 5 stars | “Exciting and Informative”
Friend of a Friend

Stock Market Contest is both an enjoyable and an informative read. The book is written like a good contest story should be, keeping you abreast of the action and the emotions of each participant while not giving away too much about their performance too early in the game. What makes it so interesting is that a typical reader already knows half of the story: what the major market events have been in the last 15 years. Knowing what market sector each participant is focused on as well as the major market events that occurred in recent history keeps you wondering if they will be able to weather their impending storms or if they will be caught in the downsides that spelled doom for so many other portfolios. It is pretty incredible to read the contestants’ market commentaries and see just how often they were able to predict events that the average investor was blindsided by. From a storytelling perspective alone, this book is worth the time.

But the real beauty of the book is in the lessons to be taken away about investing. Several themes are consistent among the competitors, and they are themes that every investor can use: avoid emotion, ignore sensationalism, and stick to sectors or strategies that you are most familiar with. As a very novice and very small-time investor, the thought of putting hundreds of thousands of dollars into the market is downright terrifying to me. But here are ten people who were able to use ten completely different strategies and beat the Dow over one of the wildest 15 year periods in history. It goes to show that success is possible if you use discipline and are committed to understanding your chosen strategy.

Overall the book does a good job of explaining both the technical and the emotional side of investing for the ten competitors. I know after reading about their experiences that I would not be able to handle the stress of living for the market and being wholly invested in it for an extended period. However, I think that the principles exhibited by the contestants will help me to improve my own strategies for the amounts that I do put into stocks.

12/1/2011 | 5 stars | “Stock Market Contest”
Anyanwu Doro

Thank you , Jason Kelly, for writing one of the most thrilling books I’ve read. The book recounts the 15 year stock market contest between ten business students. The book is amazing in that it follows the contestants and their stock investment strategies for 15 years. With $100,000, 15 years, and a 5 million dollar prize, they weather stock booms and bubbles. During this period we saw the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma, the death of Princess Dianna, the presidential sex scandal, the dot com bubble and other seemingly world shaking events. I lived through these big news events, too. I remember where I was during my life at those times. This book intertwineds these events, the contestants’ lives, the contest and the stock market. The result is thrilling yet very personal for the contestants and the reader. Whoever said the stock market is boring needs to read this book! Kelly educates us all about strategies and the market with his recount of this amazing contest. There needs to be a movie about this contest based on this book. What a great true story from which we can all benefit!

12/13/2011 | 5 stars | “Compelling”
Hospital Cop

I have always liked Jason’s stock books so I thought I would give this one a try. I did not except much. I was very surprised. This book is hard to put down. It is written in a style that will pull you in to the narrative and keep you there. Informative and a great review of the markets in the past 15 years. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in investing into the stock market, or who want a modern business history lesson.

12/29/2011 | 5 stars | “Excellent book”

Really enjoyed this book – a very easy read and lots of investing wisdom contained within. It was inspiring to see how well these contestants performed with a little common sense and a deep understanding of their sector. Truly a great contest and story.


  1. Posted March 22, 2012 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    Will this be coming out in paper format, I only see kindle version.

    • Posted March 26, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      For now, it’s only in eBook format (not just Kindle, however). We may offer a paper version later this year. If you’re on the free list, you’ll receive notification. Thanks for asking!

  2. Evan
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    Is this a true story? I looked up the names of the contestants and couldn’t find any account of them online, nor of the contest. Or did you change the names for the book?

    I was really interested in following up to see what the contetstants are up to now.

  3. Brett
    Posted January 2, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Hello Jason,

    I just finished your book Stock Market Contest. I enjoyed reading this book very much, and could not put it down. I learned a great deal of how people invest in what they know. The book made me realize that I need to learn a lot more about investing, and more importantly has gotten me more excited to want to learn more. I probably need to go back and reread your other book The Neatest Little Guide To Stock Market Investing. For example, before reading the contest book I did not understand much about shorting the market. I might of missed this or did not understand the meaning in your book on Stock Market Investing. I also just purchased a couple more of your books that I wanted to read. The only thing I would of changed in the book is the ending. The ending was to abrupt and left me with questions, and wanting more.
    I’m also a subscriber of your letter, and following your plan. Does this mean that I can expect the same returns as the contestants in your book performed? I could only pray and hope. Lol

    • Posted January 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for the enthusiastic comment, Brett! I’m afraid I can’t guarantee returns like the ones achieved in the contest. Part of what made the contest worth writing about was the amazing skill of the finalists, their compass for profits. It’s exceedingly rare. Most of us should content ourselves with slightly outpacing the market using trusty systems like my 3-pct quarterly growth formula in Tier 1. Let’s keep at it, though. Maybe we’ll achieve a quarter or two of runaway profits a la Eric Thompson Wallace’s legendary Q42009 performance. Wow!

  4. Toni Borrett
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    Really enjoyed reading the book but was a little surprised to get to the end and not find out exactly what each contestant’s strategy was. Most of them are identifiable to a degree but the finer points of their strategies are not easily worked out. I don’t necessarily want to adopt one of their strategies, but I would have thought that having followed their ups and downs throughout the 15 years, we deserved to know exactly what they’d done. Especially as they had to reveal their strategies at year 10 and stick to them. Anyway, the book was a very good read.


    • Posted November 25, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Toni, for reading the book and for your comment.

      While the strategies aren’t presented line-by-line in a bullet list, I think they become clear as the story continues. We see which sector each of the contestants focuses on, and come to know the way they find companies in spirit if not by letter. We may not know the exact price-to-sales ratio a contestant prefers, for example, but the main finding of the contest makes it obvious why we don’t need to know that, right?

      I don’t want to reveal it here in case somebody who hasn’t finished the book reads this. However, you know from speeches by Walt Pinkney and Art Colvin what they consider to be the main finding, and part of that main finding is that details of different approaches are beside the point if somebody is following the most important lesson of market success. If somebody is doing that, they’ll automatically know which numbers matter and which don’t — which is precisely the art and science of success in stocks.

      Thank you, again. I’m happy that you considered the book to be a very good read!

  5. Ron
    Posted November 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    Let me know when it goes into print. Just like something to hold in my hand while reading…and turning back a page or so to review what I read earlier.

    Thanks for keeping us informed with the newsletter…

    • Posted November 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Will do, Ron, and you’re most welcome for the newsletter. Prior to the book appearing in print, you could hold an eReader in your hand while reading — and they even enable you to go back a page!

  6. Lake Superior John
    Posted November 19, 2011 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Jason: Which bookstore in Canada will carry your book? Thank you.

    • Posted November 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      I’m hoping Plume publishes SMC and, if so, it should be available in all the same stores that sell The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing.

  7. Joe
    Posted November 19, 2011 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    Love your books, Jason. Is this one going to come out in paper form? I guess I’m a slow adopter because I don’t have an e-reader and I still love holding a book. You know, like when I’m on the bus here in LA.

    • Posted November 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Joe! I believe SMC will find its way to print once I send it to my agent and Plume, the publisher of The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing. A good portion of the reading public still loves and craves paper. I, too, like the feel of a paper book, and even the smell, and can’t wait to hold the printed version of SMC in my hands one day.

      In the meantime, don’t let your lack of an eReader prevent you from experiencing this riveting story. Look over the free reading apps from Amazon to find one that works on whatever device you have. Whatever you used to leave your comment can serve as your “eReader” with one of the apps, even your phone. The ones for PCs and Macs, for example, are beautiful and you can move all your books from one device to another easily with a couple of clicks. When you eventually get an eReader, it’ll be a snap to move your books over. They’re getting cheaper all the time. I think they’ll become like calculators someday: available in grocery stores for $10 or $20.

      The reason I’m seeking reviews from pre-pub readers in the Kindle format is that it’s secure, unlike PDFs, which seem to always end up online somewhere for free.

  8. Tim Hand
    Posted November 19, 2011 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    Hi Jason,

    I’m not very computer savvy, but I would love to have a signed copy of your book to show all my relatives and friends. I’m a subscriber to The Kelly Letter and plan on being one for a long time.


    • Posted November 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      The ability to sign a book is one tradition that’s disappearing with the rise of eBooks. Maybe it’ll help keep printed books around longer. I hope so. One thought I’ve had for eBooks is to print postcards with the book’s cover on one side and space to sign on the opposite side. Then, people who wanted a signed cover card to go with their eBook could send a nominal fee to cover printing and mailing.

      In the sense of time and access to the author, this could provide an improvement over the traditional way of receiving a signed book by showing up at a public event with the author. For really famous authors, most people never get a chance. Maybe signed book cover postcards could help make eBooks more personal to a wider audience than traditional books were.

      I’ll keep you “posted” (ha!) on this.

      The good news for you is that I’ll be sending SMC to my agent and Plume early next year once pre-publication reader reviews are in. It’ll be available in print in stores eventually.

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