Useless Investment Books

Discuss all general (i.e. non-personal) investing questions and issues, investing news, and theory.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Norsky19 »

chris319 wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:46 pm Have you ever bought an investment book that turned out to be useless? I sure have.

The first investment book I ever bought was in the late 1980's, written by none other than Charles Schwab. At least his name is on it; I don't know if it was ghost written. I was thinking Charles must know something about investing having started a discount brokerage. I was so naive, what did I know? I came to find out there was no "there" there. Nothing you could sink your teeth into as far as developing an actionable investment plan. I think I returned the book.

Then I bought "One Up On Wall Street" by Peter Lynch. Lots of vague advice. Short of spending 23 hours a day pouring over financial statements, he suggests looking at a company's parking lot to observe the number of cars parked there. Well, OK, assuming there is such a company within a reasonable distance of your home. Not in that book, Peter gave some of my favorite stock-picking advice "Never buy stocks that go down". Yes, he actually said that. I can imagine a scenario like this: "Hello, Mr. (or Ms.) Broker? I'm thinking about buying XYZ. Is it going to go down?" Mr. (or Ms.) Broker says, "Let me pull up my stock chart of the future which is available only to stockbrokers. Yes, it's going to go down. I'd stay away from it."

I am reminded of a scene from The Addams Family. Gomez is frantically reading his ticker tape and says, "Morticia! Consolidated Fuzz just hit 212. I sold it for 6; saved all that tax". Morticia thinks he's "brilliant". Peter Lynch's book went right back to the book store.

There was something called "Computerized Investing" by AAII. This reinforced my notion that given today's computational horsepower just sitting on your desktop and enough historical data, you could figure out what made stocks go up and develop a trading system. Was I naive!

I still have my copy of "Portfolio Management Formulas" by Ralph Vince. It changed my thinking about leverage.

I wish Jack Bogle had come to my attention in those early years.

What investment books have you found to be useless or nearly so?
I saw many of those same books and then picked up "Personal Finance for Dummies" by Eric Dyson/Tyson???...about 24 years ago and followed all his advice. Worked out well!
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by bikechuck »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:11 pm Why would anyone on this forum read books about investing when they have access to regular posts from such investment gurus as nisiprius, grabiner, livesoft, Kevin M, Taylor Larimore, Rick Ferri, and others?
I have spent a ton of time on this forum but recently read John Bogle's "The Little Book of Common Sense Investing". I found it helpful because it is well written, persuasive and having read it, it will help me "stay the course" even more so than my visits to this forum.

Books like this have their place.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by hnd »

I read books that challenge what I believe on multiple subjects and books that reaffirm why i believe what I believe. I also read books on subjects i'm not completely sure about.

The worst book that shaped my initial investment thoughts was New Rules of Money by Ric Edelman in 1998. One of the rules which is also if i remember correctly the longest rule written about in the book was how terrible SP500 index funds are. line of reasoning? "there are over 100 available, if its so great why do we need more than 1!??" He also complains about the sp500 being basically made up and how companies are added doesn't mean they are good to invest in.

the word on the street is that in the 23 past years somewhere a long the line, he's figured out that index funds are better in the long run.

I was also given Rich Dad Poor Dad and and it felt like I was reading a motivational book designed to give me confidence in selling Advocare or Quixtar.

Everyday Millionaire by Chris Hogan I felt like was written by someone who has no real understanding of how investing, markets, etc etc work.

I'll also be honest, but Buffets Essays I was told I HAD to read. and I found it incredibly boring didn't even make it a 3rd of the way. Like i made my way through The Intelligent Investor by mr Graham and didn't really find it that awful.

I find many books to be kind of rehashes of the "live within your means and invest in index funds" which can get monotonous but I still ike to remind myself. I too liked Peter Lynch's book.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by chris319 »

I'm still waiting for a Peter Lynch devotee to tell us about an investment made following the guidance in one of Lynch's books and how that investment fared.

So far no takers.
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"250 Investment Books"

Post by Taylor Larimore »


I have read over 250 investment books. Some books were very helpful; others somewhat helpful; and others gave terrible advice. Overall, they helped me learn what works and what doesn't. The result is my long and financially secure retirement.

I have condensed the best advice I know in The Bogleheads' Three-Fund Portfolio. It is available at Amazon with 4 1/2 Stars reviews. All royalties go to "The John C. Bogle Center For Financial Literacy."

Best wishes.
Jack Bogle's Words of Wisdom: “It is the power of words and books—explaining and dramatizing great ideas and articulating high ideals—that is the greatest weapon in the missionary’s arsenal.”
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by sid hartha »

All the Harry S. Dent books. Completely useless. Unless you need a good laugh.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 »

chris319 wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:47 pm I'm still waiting for a Peter Lynch devotee to tell us about an investment made following the guidance in one of Lynch's books and how that investment fared.

So far no takers.
I bought Chrysler, Pier One, Occidental Petroleum, Coca Cola, Sysco, Intel, Merck, and Florida Power Stock in the 1990s. I started buying stocks because I found Lynch’s book at a garage sale for 1 dollar and read it.

Occidental Petroleum went to ten times what I paid for it. The others did ok.

Later I read Bogle. I compared my returns to the S & P 500 and the S & P won. So now I buy index funds. I also stopped going to garage sales.
John Bogle: "It's amazing how difficult it is for a man to understand something if he's paid a small fortune not to understand it."
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