I am glad you did not put away the book after the first couple of pages. It would have been a very big mistake.
" if it is not to your liking. Instead, focus on the "content" which is full of valuable advice from the highly respected founder of Vanguard. This is a small sample of his teachings in the book:
"Index funds eliminate the risks of individual stocks, market sectors, and manager selection. Only stock market risk remains."
"Common sense tells us--and history confirms--that the simplest and most efficient investment strategy is to buy and hold all of the nation's publicly held businesses at very low cost."
"Each doller initially invested in 1900 at an investment return of 9.5% grew by the close of 2005 to $15,062."
"Academic studies suggest that if you are a typical investor in individual stocks, your returns have probably lagged the market by about 2.5% per year."
"The classic index fund that owns this market portfolio is the only investment that guarantees you your fair share of stock market returns."
"The brokers, the investment bankers, the money managers, the marketers, the lawyers, the accountants, the operations departments of our financial system are the only sure winners in the game of investing."
"Croupiers of the financial markets take in something like $400 billion each year from you and your fellow investors."
"The lower the costs that investors as a group incur, the higher rewards that they reap."
"Fund investors are confident that they can easily select superior fund managers. They are wrong."
"It is dangerous to apply to the future inductive argument based on past experience."
"Occam's Razor: When there are multiple solutions to a problem, choose the simplest one."
"The beauty of a cap-weighted index is that it automatically adjusts to changing stock prices and never has to buy and sell stocks for that reason."
"Common sense tells us the obvious; while owning the stock market over the long term is a winner's game, beating the stock market is a loser's game."
"The gross return in the stock market, minus intermediation costs, equals the net return earned by investors as a group. If the data do not prove that indexing wins, well, the data is wrong."
"We investors as a group get precisely what we don't pay for. So if we pay nothing, we get everything."
"It's amazing how difficult it is for a man to understand something if he's paid a small fortune not to understand it."
"By and large, fund managers are smart, well-educated, experienced, knowledgeable, and honest. But they are competing with each other. There is no net gain to fund shareholders as a group."
"The miracle of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs."
"Most managed mutual funds are astonishingly tax-inefficient."
"Investment of $10,000, 1980-2005:
Index Fund....Managed Fund
"Don't look for the needle--buy the haystack"
"The average fund portfolio manager lasts just five years."
"Of the 355 equity funds in 1970, fully 233 of those funds--almost two thirds--have gone out of business. Only 24 outpaced the market by more than one percentage point a year--one out of every 14. Let's face it: These are terrible odds!."
"In fund performance, the past is rarely prologue."
"Every single firm in the fund industry acknowledges my conclusion that past fund performance is of no help in projecting the future returns of mutual funds."
"Studies show that 95 percent of all investor dollars flow to funds rated four or five stars by Morningstar."
"A mutual fund portfolio continuously adjusted to hold only Morningstar's five-star funds earned an annual return of just 6.9% between 1994 and 2004, nearly 40 percent below the 11.0% return of the Total Stock Market Index."
"On average, the 10 top funds in the 1997-1999 bull market were outperformed by 95% of their peers in the 2000-2002 bear market that followed."
"In a study prepared for Fidelity Investments covering the 10-year period 1994 to 2003 inclusive, broker-managed funds had the lowest ratings relative to their peers of any group of funds."
"Merrill Lynch funds were 18 percentage points below the fund industry average."
"Of the 35 newsletters (tracked by Hulbert) that existed in 1980, only 13 are still in business today. Only 3 outperformed the market."
"Index funds endure, while most advisers and funds do not."
"I can recall no large fund organizatin making the immediate conversion from a load to a no-load distribution system since Vanguard took that drastic and unprecidented step 30 years ago."
"Rule of thumb: Turnover costs equal 1% of the turnover rate."
"Funds in the low-turnover quartile have consistently outperformed those in the high-turnover quartile for all equity funds as a group, and in each of the nine style boxes."
"The index fund's risk-adjusted return: 194%; average managed fund: 154%"
"If low costs are good, why wouldn't it be logical to focus on the lowest-cost funds of all--index funds that own the entire stock market?"
"The case for the success of indexing in the past is compelling and unarguable. -- What the index fund has going for it is, as I have often said, "the magic of simplicity in an empire of parsimony."
"All index funds are not created equal."
"Since that lonely first S&P Index was formed in 1975, a staggering total of another 578 more index funds of all sizes and shapes are now in operation."
"S&P reports that the international index outpaced 80% of actively managed international equity funds over the past five years."
"But while investing in particular market sectors is done more efficiently through index funds, betting on the winning sectors is exactly that: betting."
"It may not be as exciting, but owning the classic stock market index fund is the ultimate strategy."
"Among intermediate-term taxable bond funds, the low-cost index fund is truly a superior performer."
"A $10,000 initial investment in the Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund grew to $14,478 over the past decade, versus $13,785 for its average peer. Among 190 comparable funds, it ranked number 7."
"There are now financial entrepreneurs who believe, I'm sure, sincerely (if with a heavy dollop of self-interest), that they can create indexes that will beat the market. Interesting!"
"Even if the modest margins claimed in the past were to repeat--which, I believe, is highly unlikely--these back-tested hypothetical returns would be significantly eroded, if not totally erased, by costs."
"From 1937 through 1967, growth mutual funds rather consistently trumped value mutual funds. Never think you know more than the market. Nobody does."
"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan. Stick to the good plan."
"Put your dreaming away, pull out your common sense, and stick to the good plan represented by the classic index fund."
"The ETF is a fund designed to facilitate trading in its shares, dressed in the guise of the traditional index fund."
"Early in 2007, 343 ETFs were on the drawing board, soon to be launched. This stampede suggests a new investment fad. Such fads have rarely enhanced the well-being of investors."
"The turnover of Spider shares (S&P 500 ETF) is running at a 3,600% annual rate. The turnover for the NASDAQ Quibes is even higher, at 6,000% per year"
"Betting on hot sectors (emotions) and paying heavy costs (expenses) are sure to be hazardous to your wealth."
"If you like the idea of sector ETFs, use the appropriate ones, don't trade them, and use them in the right way--sparingly, and only to diversify your portfolio."
"While I can't say that classic indexing is the best strategy ever devised, your common sense should reassure you that the number of strategies that are worse is infinite."
"While I favor the pristine and classic all-U.S.-stockmarket and all-bond-market approach, there are perfectly reasonable alternative strategies.
"Although foreign stocks account for about one-half of the world's market capitalization, I recommend that they account for no more than about 20% of your own equity portfolio."
"The all-U.S. bond-market portfolio remains the bond investment of choice."
"Inflation-linked bonds provide excellent protection against the long-term erosion of the purchasing power of the dollar, particularly in tax-deferred accounts."
"Asset allocation is almost universally considered the most important determinant of your long-term investment return."
"My favorite rule of thumb is (roughly) to hold a bond position equal to your age--or maybe even your age minus 10%."
"With intelligent asset allocation and sensible investment selections, you will be prepared for the inevitable bumps along the road and should glide right through them."
"The real money in investment will be made not by buying and selling, but of owning and holding securities."
"Owning business in the aggregate through an all-market index fund is the consumate risk-reduction strategy."
"While common sense would suggest that the owners of the fund should be in the driver's seat of fund operations, they have been consigned to the rumble seat, essentially powerless and voiceless."
"So do your best to diversify to the nth degree; minimize your investment expenses; and focus your emotions where they cannot wreak the kind of havoc that most other people experience in their investment programs. Rely on your own common sense. Emphasize all-stock-market index funds. Carefully consider your risk tolerance and the portion of your investments you allocate to equities. Then stay the course."