Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 05:13:59 EST From: Bapopik Subject: Wall Street Words (revisited) When the New York Public Library's Science, Industry & Business Library (SIBL) opened about a year ago, I had no desire to read every book in the place. In fact, I was perfectly happy to AVOID every book in the place--many of the books are jargon-filled snoozers. I've talked to several people about a WALL STREET DICTIONARY (a dictionary of American business based on historical principles), and they all think it's a good idea. Previous business terms discussed here include "Greenspan Effect," "irrational exurberance," "glass ceiling," "Super Bowl Index," "January Effect," "dead-cat bounce," "Dilbert," "moolah," "In God We Trust," "O. K." (described as a Wall Street term in 1839, and in constant business use since), "lame duck," "corner," "Black Friday/Blue Monday"--there have been a few. The dictionary I want to do will have all the words of American business--slang and standard, current and historical. From Washington Irving's "almighty dollar" to Oliver Stone's "greed is good" to "bulls" to "bears" to "cats" to "dogs" to "Asian tigers" to "origin of the dollar mark" to "technical analysis" and "P-E ratio." Everything. My interest started with the stock market drop at the end of October, when a former broker used the term "dead cat bounce." Then I said again, seriously, it might be time to buy, to which the former broker replied, again using slang: "Never catch a falling knife!" How many of these did she have?? I surveyed Barnes & Noble, the McGraw-Hill Professional Bookstore, and the Strand used books this week, and here's what's out there: WALL STREET WORDS by David L. Scott (1988, 1997 revised edition)--This is the revised edition? "Bull" and "bear" are on an equal footing with "dead cat bounce"--you'd never know the latter is a new slang term and the former ir almost 300 years old. No "Greenspan Effect" or "glass ceiling." Reads like a list that's available free on the internet. WALL STREET WORDS by Richard Marturi (1996)--An inferior WALL STREET WORDS. These Wall Street types can't even think of a new title?? RANDOM HOUSE WEBSTER'S POCKET BUSINESS DICTIONARY (second edition 1997)--Thankfully, Jesse Sheidlower's name is not on this. Has "dead cat bounce," but no "January Efect," no "Super Bowl Index," no "Greenspan Effect," no "Asian tiger," and no "cats and dogs." Only $6.99, though. DICTIONARY OF FINANCE AND INVESTMENT TERMS (Baron's, 1995)--Barron's has a number of these dictionaries, including a DICTIONARY OF BANKING TERMSand a DICTIONARY OF ACCOUNTING TERMS. This explains over 5,000 terms. It has "dead cat bounce" and "cats and dogs" and "January Effect" and even "Super Bowl Indicator." At 682 pages and $11.95, the best of its type. No "greed is good" or "Greenspan." (Not updated since 1995.) A good start for the bones of an historical dictionary. A DICTIONARY OF BUSINESS (Oxford paperback reference, 1996)--No one seems to have written this. Oxford is expanding this series and also has an Economics Dictionary. Has "dead cat bounce," but no "cats and dogs." Surprisingly, no "January Effect." At 538 pages and $14.95, it's inferior to Baron's, but still provides good bones for a better dictionary. THE ENCYCLOPEDIC DICTIONARY OF BUSINESS TERMS by Mary A. DeVries (Berkley paperback, 1997)--Looks like it might be good for some secretaries. A compilation of stuff ("definitions from 32 fields"), none very impressive. Only $6.99 for 498 pages, though. THE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DICTIONARY AND REFERENCE by Lewis A. Presner (Wiley, 1991)--Overprices hardcover at $49.95 for 486 pages. Only book of this type that has a bibliography! It appears to be international, all right, but it doesn't seem to work for any country. Probably didn't sell at all. WALL STREET SLANG: HIGH STEPPERS, FALLEN ANGELS, & LOLLIPOPS by Kathleen Odean (Dodd Mead, 1988)--Out of print, but two copies are left at the Strand for $9. I checked the Library of Congress, and this is the ONLY book on Wall Street Slang!! It's 10 years old, and doesn't have "dead cat bounce" or "Greenspan Effect." The lack of "kiting" is surprising, but otherwise a nice job. No illustrations. It has a few "Napoleons"--I have items about the origin of "Napoleon of Finance." Updated and combined with Barron's, it's a start for a real dictionary. I went to NYU; NYU is in New York City and has a School of Business that is well funded by Robert Tisch. A crosscheck of Bobcat with the NYPL and RLIN catalogs shows that it's missing about half of the books it should have. (HIGH STEPPERS, for example.) And there aren't that many. That's about it for available financial word books in the Business Capital of the World. Is there room for another? I might be missing something, but check OEDS for "junk bonds." (Personal note--I'm leaving for the weekend and can't reply immediately.)