Reform: Center Stage

Brown_JoshuaI’m relatively new to the world of Twitter, or as some have dubbed it, the Twitterverse. And one of the things that participants will often do (usually on Fridays) is share lists of resources (their “tweeps”) where they find value, entertainment or some combination thereof. I’ve been constructing my own “Follow Friday” list (stay tuned) but wanted to take a moment to commend a colleague on a moment that remains oblivious to way too many people.

First, I was quite taken with the balance of humility and pride on full display when Josh Brown recently encountered and shared a moment with Art Cashin.

But that’s not THE moment. For me it was a fleeting moment (a few days ago) on CNBC’s Fast Money Half Time segment. The moderator was grilling Joe Terranova about some “call” that he’d made a while back and he was … somewhat relentless. In fact, the discourse resulted in Joe saying “I was wrong” more than a few times. The moderator seemed to take a small measure of sadistic enjoyment while rubbing salt. As it teetered on awkward, the camera panned to Josh. Slightly paraphrasing:

“Hey. Hold on. Our business is a humbling business and the market takes no prisoners. We get things wrong. We extract lessons and try to do better. We’re in this together and frankly, I respect that Joe is willing to share that he was wrong and how his outlook has evolved. It’s an absolute demonstration that he’s really in this business and I think we all need to respect our colleagues as we all try to achieve success.”

And somewhere, a pin dropped.

Backstage Wall Street (A version of my Amazon book review from March-2012)

Having been involved in investment education and research for nearly 20 years, I think Josh has a timely, transparent message of hope. Seriously, the book is a little like Boiler Room and Gordon Gecko meet Jerry Maguire.

Continuing on the cinematic theme, I’ve only read a few books in my lifetime in one sitting. One was Alien. Another was Babson’s Brad Perry’s tome Winning The Investment Marathon and Jurassic Park was a pretty enthralling read also. I can now add Backstage Wall Street to the list. I’m not sure which one was the most frightening, when I finished Alien I didn’t want to turn out the lights.

Backstage is equally unsettling and Josh lays a foundation and history as he describes the “evolution” of Wall Street and the grinding of sausage. I actually think Josh Brown is part of a potential re-awakening of investing as it once was (or was at least intended to be) … a people’s capitalism with a potential outcome that would make Sigourney Weaver proud.

A rudimentary return to principled capital markets … a New Reformation is clearly in order. If you’ve been investing for some time but harbor reservations about the way things are, this might be Chapter One of a new day. If you find investing terrifying when it comes to your 401(k), you might find some relief that there are some advocates and champions for the way things ought to be.

Is there hope?

I think so.

I’m not sure who plays Josh in the movie, but it’s not Vin Diesel or Charlie Sheen. For the sake of millions of afflicted investors and citizens out there, reform at will.

Thanks, Josh.

P.S. For those who want to play along, my Twitter address is @manifestinvest. Joshua Brown’s is @ReformedBroker.

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