Saturday, November 17, 2007

Great Gifts for Finance Geeks - Part II

As promised, here are some more ideas (in no particular order) I had that I'm sure the financial analyst/hedge fund manager/business school student or other finance geek in your life would appreciate this holiday season. Ok well if it's a hedge fund manager you're buying for, you might want to stick with the items in Part I. These are more inexpensive than the extravagant items I had in Part I.

1) A subscription to the Harvard Business Review - I don't have one myself, but I try to get to the library once every couple of months to check out the review and see if there's anything in it that interests me. For those of you who don't know what it is, the Harvard Business Review is a thick, glossy magazine that comes out once a month and costs $99 for a one year subscription (yes, that's north of $8 an issue). It has a bunch of articles written by people, primarily academics and consultants, about general business and managment issues. I consider reading the HBR as a form of "continuing education" for people who work in the business field.

2) A way to get more out of Microsoft Excel - most finance geeks know their way around an Excel spreadsheet very well. In fact, if they call the office their home away from home, Excel is probably their home away from home away from home. Despite being so familiar with the program, many don't know the powerful programming language called VBA (VisualBasic for Applications) that they can use to get Excel to perform mind-bending tricks that save huge amounts of time for finance geeks and their companies alike. John Walkenbach is my favorite authority on the subject, and presents it with rigor and enthusiasm. Depending on which version of Excel the person has, you might want to check out one of the following:

4)The Office DVDs:

I didn't catch on to this show until season 3, so it was a real treat to buy the first couple of seasons on DVD and catch up with them all over the course of a couple of weekends. Ok, so it's not particularly finance-based, but I figured I better put something fun on here in case you wouldn't feel comfortable giving someone what amounts to and Excel textbook as a gift :).

5) The best medium-duty shredder I could find.

This thing still works like a charm for me, and I am still really glad I paid close to $100 for a good one rather than getting one of those cheap ones that can only handle one sheet at a time. If you know someone who could use a shredder or an upgrade, this is highly recommended. What finance geek worth his/her salt doesn't know the threat of identity theft and the importance of destroying sensitive documents. The link above the picture is a pretty lengthy review I did on this shredder a while ago. This thing still eats unopened junk mail (complete with fake credit card) for breakfast.

6) Pretty much anything from This site doesn't cater to finance geeks in particular, but it has plenty of items for the wider "geek" audience, ranging from the utilitarian laptop bed desk to the whimsical computer-controlled USB Missile Launcher.

So there you have my $0.02 on what to get a finance geek this holiday season.

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