MANY BOOKS ON COMMODITY TRADING DRIFT into such related topics as board games and gambling. In The Education of a Speculator, the No.2 hardback on this month's best-seller list, Victor Niederhoffer draws on everything from monkeys to Moliere. And his chapter on sex puts pork bellies in a whole new light.

This 444-page autobiography takes its readers on a romp through the mind of a one-of-a-kind trading whiz. Those seeking a system to beat the market will be disappointed: Niederhoffer reveals none of the secrets that have guided him to a 32% average annual return since 1982. But he's generous with his insights on broader topics--including ''spexuality,'' the link between speculation and sex. There are also lots of amusing anecdotes--such as how hedge-fund giant George Soros, a Niederhoffer friend and customer, restored his nerve after the 1987 stock-market crash by drubbing the author in chess.

Loosely organized by topic, the book skips around--and so should readers, using the index. At times, Niederhoffer tries so hard to be clever that his message is muddied. But he lands some well-aimed jabs, too, such as nailing his fellow commodity-trading advisers for inflating performance figures. Even Niederhoffer finds the market a harsh mistress, and he spends much more time fretting about his losing trades than trumpeting his winners. Despite its amusing diversions, this is a cautionary tale for risk-takers of all stripes.


1. THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR by Thomas J. Stanley, PhD, and William D. Danko, PhD (Longstreet Press $22) How to live cheap and well--just like the rich do.

2. THE EDUCATION OF A SPECULATOR by Victor Niederhoffer (Wiley $29.95) A futures trader's insights on markets, music, and mastery of your opponents.

3. THE DILBERT PRINCIPLE by Scott Adams (HarperBusiness $20) The revenge of the cubicle dwellers.

4. DOGBERT'S TOP SECRET MANAGEMENT HANDBOOK by Scott Adams (HarperBusiness $16) Straight from the puppy's mouth.

5. AGAINST THE GODS by Peter L. Bernstein (Wiley $27.95) Risk management in the making of the modern world.

6. ONLY THE PARANOID SURVIVE by Andrew S. Grove (Currency $27.50) Intel's CEO describes how to turn crises into moments of opportunity.

7. WALL STREET MONEY MACHINE by Wade B. Cook (Lighthouse Publishing $24.95) Formulas to help you strike it rich.

8. THE BANKERS by Martin Mayer (Truman Talley/Dutton $29.95) Money, credit, and banking as it was and will be.

9. INSIDE THE TORNADO by Geoffrey A. Moore (HarperBusiness $25) Lore on marketing from Silicon Valley.

10. THE MOTLEY FOOL INVESTMENT GUIDE by David and Tom Gardner (Simon & Schuster $24) An online investment duo puts it on paper.

11. FINANCIAL PEACE by Dave Ramsey (Viking $21.95) Getting out of debt--for good.

12. WHAT WORKS ON WALL STREET by James P. O'Shaughnessy (McGraw-Hill $29.95) A statistical look at how investment strategies stack up.

13. THE WITCH DOCTORS by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge (Times Business $25) Sorting out the true management gurus from the fakers.

14. THE INTELLIGENT INVESTOR by Benjamin Graham (HarperBusiness $30) Value investing, as taught by the master.

15. THE BEARDSTOWN LADIES' GUIDE TO SMART SPENDING FOR BIG SAVINGS by the Beardstown Ladies' Investment Club with Robin Dellabough (Hyperion $19.95) Penny-pinching, from appliances to rental cars.


1. THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by Stephen R. Covey (Fireside $12) Habitually popular.

2. THE ERNST & YOUNG TAX GUIDE 1997 by the Tax Partners and Professionals of Ernst & Young LLP (Wiley $14.95) Sharpen those pencils.

3. J.K. LASSER'S YOUR INCOME TAX 1997 by the J.K. Lasser Institute (Macmillan $14.95) The clock is ticking.

4. THE 1997 WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE? by Richard Nelson Bolles (Ten Speed Press $16.95) The enduring job-search bible--with a new resource guide.

5. BUILT TO LAST by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras (HarperBusiness $14) How 3M, Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble, and others became standouts.

6. THE BEARDSTOWN LADIES' COMMON-SENSE INVESTMENT GUIDE by the Beardstown Ladies' Investment Club with Leslie Whitaker (Hyperion $10.95) Recipes for Four-Bean Salad, Five-Hour Stew--and 23% returns.

7. THE ROAD AHEAD by Bill Gates with Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson (Penguin $15.95) Microsoft's chief on the implications of the I-way, in a ''completely revised'' edition.

8. PERSONAL FINANCE FOR DUMMIES by Eric Tyson (IDG Books $16.95) Lighthearted primer.

9. GET A FINANCIAL LIFE by Beth Kobliner (Fireside $11) Hey, Gen-Xers--mutual funds and mortgages can be fun!

10. THE WALL STREET JOURNAL GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING MONEY AND INVESTING by Kenneth M. Morris and Alan M. Siegel (Fireside $13.95) Still more advice on money.

11. THE DISCIPLINE OF MARKET LEADERS by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema (Addison-Wesley $12) Consultants diagnose what successful companies do.

12. INVESTING FOR DUMMIES by Eric Tyson, MBA (IDG Books $19.95) From stocks to small business--with cartoons, too.

13. THE TRUTH ABOUT MONEY by Ric Edelman (Georgetown University Press $19.95) How to plan and invest, according to a financial columnist.

14. YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (Penguin $11.95) To achieve financial independence, restructure your life.

15. HOME BUYING FOR DUMMIES by Eric Tyson and Ray Brown (IDG Books $16.99) How to haggle over and finance your dream home.

BUSINESS WEEK's Best-Seller List is based on a survey of chain and independent booksellers that carry a broad selection of books on economics, management, sales and marketing, small business, investing, personal finance, and careers. Well over 1,000 retail outlets nationwide are represented. Current rankings are based on a weighted analysis of unit sales in February.

Reviews and more are available on Click on BW Plus



Updated June 15, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1997, Bloomberg L.P.
Terms of Use