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Triumph of the Optimists, by Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton.    There is more valuable data in this comprehensive book than in any other that I have reviewed.  The authors, all from the London Business School, present 101 years of extremely useful data on stock, bond and treasury bill investments in 16 countries (namely Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States).  The title of this detailed 2002 work comes from the authors' conclusion that over the long run, those risk-takers who optimistically invested in stocks triumphed in investing.  Among other noteworthy topics, Dimson, Marsh and Staunton devote considerable effort to discussing what the "equity risk premium" (the difference between returns on equity investments and risk-free alternatives) has been historically, and they address arguments as to what it should be in the future.  Though not an inexpensive book at roughly $100, the dozens of revealing charts and graphs alone are worth the book's price.  In short, this book is without peer in terms of big-picture, international investment analysis.

ISBN: 0691091943
Format: Hardcover, 320pp
Pub. Date: January 2002
Publisher: Princeton University Press






"This book is history at its most challenging and illuminating.  The facts are astonishing, the presentation dazzling, the analysis brilliant, and the lessons profound."

Peter Bernstein