Is there stock advice in property guru's book recommendation?
The Kwok brothers of Sun Hung Kai Properties have an uncanny ability for calling the market's tops. They did so at the peak of the dotcom era, and not once but twice ahead of the current credit crisis through exquisite timing when they issued new company shares.
So when Raymond Kwok Ping-luen (right), a great bibliophile, recommended this week that young people read Peaks and Valleys by Spencer Johnson ahead of the Book Fair, people listened up - some thought it was an investment-advice book. Judging by the title, what else could it be about - tops and bottoms of markets, heads-and-shoulders patterns for technical stock analysis, right?
A secret aspirant to be the Oprah Winfrey of Hong Kong, Kwok has famously made his property company run a non-profit book club through which he generously gives literary advice and recommendations. He told people that Johnson's book had much to teach about optimism and the need to keep a positive outlook.
One embarrassed Post reader was among them. 'I checked out the business and investment sections at Page One and couldn't find it,' he said. 'It turned up in the self-improvement section. I think it's something like 'chicken soup for the soul of mountain climbers', about a troubled young man who lives in a valley but learns wisdom from an old man at the top of a mountain. Or was it the other way around?'
Johnson's central message seems to be the need to be optimistic at all times - not to let the good times go to your head or the bad ones get you down.
Come to think of it, that's a pretty good lesson for stock punters, too.