Useless Investment Books

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chris319
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by chris319 »

Here's another useless one to avoid: "The Incredible Shrinking Alpha", second edition.

I was hoping this book would be an intelligent exposé of the shortcomings of actively-managed mutual funds. It turned out to be a big disappointment.

The first 20 pages of this awkwardly-titled book are spent rambling and bloviating and belaboring, the antithesis of "concise". You read a paragraph and find yourself asking, "what did he just say?". The writing is exceptionally poor; the book is rambling and overwritten. It was hard work staying awake through the first 20 pages, after which I lost interest and didn't care to slog through the authors' remaining verbiage.

I looked in the index, hoping to find a working definition of the word "alpha", and came up with naught. So here we have a book where the key word in the title is not defined in the book. Nice work.
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
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Taylor Larimore
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Taylor Larimore »

chris319 wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 5:05 pm I looked in the index, hoping to find a working definition of the word "alpha", and came up with naught. So here we have a book where the key word in the title is not defined in the book. Nice work.
chris319:

I believe every investment book should have an index so that when investors have a question they can quickly go to the book's index and find the page with the answer. All three Boglehead books have good indexes (which cost more).

Best wishes.
Taylor
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chris319
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by chris319 »

I believe every investment book should have an index so that when investors have a question they can quickly go to the book's index and find the page with the answer. All three Boglehead books have good indexes (which cost more).
"The Incredible Shrinking Alpha" has both an index and a glossary. The glossary has a brief, surface definition of alpha.
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JBTX
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by JBTX »

Taylor Larimore wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:55 pm Bogleheads:

One of the oldest(1986) investment books on our bookshelf was written by a University of Miami college alumni of mine, Martin Zweig. It is titled "Martin Zweig's Winning on Wall Street". It persuaded me to market-time with our investments-- It was "useless" and worse.

Best wishes.
Taylor
Jack Bogle's Words of Wisdom: "Stay the course."
I remember on Wall Street Week he was always considered one of the smart ones. I don't recall why. Probably because he just acted that way.
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chris319
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by chris319 »

I had Marty Zweig's book at one time. Didn't he have you flipping through books of stock charts?
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
Random Walker
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Random Walker »

chris319 wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 5:05 pm Here's another useless one to avoid: "The Incredible Shrinking Alpha", second edition.

I was hoping this book would be an intelligent exposé of the shortcomings of actively-managed mutual funds. It turned out to be a big disappointment.

The first 20 pages of this awkwardly-titled book are spent rambling and bloviating and belaboring, the antithesis of "concise". You read a paragraph and find yourself asking, "what did he just say?". The writing is exceptionally poor; the book is rambling and overwritten. It was hard work staying awake through the first 20 pages, after which I lost interest and didn't care to slog through the authors' remaining verbiage.

I looked in the index, hoping to find a working definition of the word "alpha", and came up with naught. So here we have a book where the key word in the title is not defined in the book. Nice work.
Very first page of the introduction: “alpha is outperformance against appropriate risk adjusted benchmarks”.

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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

chris319 wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 9:04 pm I had Marty Zweig's book at one time. Didn't he have you flipping through books of stock charts?
All I recall was his Zweig Fund which was launched with great fanfare had a mediocre track record in the early 90’s, not to mention it had high expense ratio which did not help those who invested in that fund.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by chris319 »

Very first page of the introduction: “alpha is outperformance against appropriate risk adjusted benchmarks”.
I stand corrected. A one-sentence definition of alpha which doesn't even appear in the index.

On page 5 the book devotes a third of a page to discussion of Roger Federer's tennis game.

Roger Federer's name appears in the index.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by hnd »

if an index included all the instances the main subject matter of the entire book was referenced, it would kind of be silly imo. a glossary entry seems appropriate and all that is necessary.

I did enjoy and recommend Swedroe's books that i've read. I believe I've read Wise Investing Made Simple and Rational Investing in Irrational Times.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by chris319 »

I did enjoy and recommend Swedroe's books that i've read. I believe I've read Wise Investing Made Simple and Rational Investing in Irrational Times.
This book was co-authored by Andrew L. Berkin. It's impossible to tell which author wrote what.

It's hard to imagine anyone writing a book that's more poorly written than "The Incredible Shrinking Alpha". I'm undecided whether to keep it, give it to charity or toss it.
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by BrooklynInvest »

"The Investment Biker" by Jim Rogers.

I ride motorcycles long distances and have been interested in investing since it came out so I thought "I might learn something about both subjects here." I was wrong on both accounts.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by chris319 »

Wise Investing Made Simple: Amazon price — $27.00

Rational Investing in Irrational Times: Amazon price — $79.06

After Shrinking Alpha, I'm not going to chance it on any more of Swedroe's books, especially when they would cost over $100.

If I don't get any more out of it than "own index funds", I'll pass.

Still looking for a concise introduction to investing for young people that doesn't read like an ad for Vanguard.
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Random Walker »

chris319 wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 11:14 am Wise Investing Made Simple: Amazon price — $27.00

Rational Investing in Irrational Times: Amazon price — $79.06

After Shrinking Alpha, I'm not going to chance it on any more of Swedroe's books, especially when they would cost over $100.

If I don't get any more out of it than "own index funds", I'll pass.

Still looking for a concise introduction to investing for young people that doesn't read like an ad for Vanguard.
Larry Swedroe’s books are excellent, and I’m sure you can find them much cheaper than that. I’d strongly recommend you give them another chance. A really good one to start with might be Investment Mistakes Even Smart Investors Make And How To Avoid Them. I think it’s an updated version of Rational Investing In Irrational Times; pretty sure it’s a lot cheaper too than the prices you saw.

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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by chris319 »

Larry Swedroe’s books are excellent
"The Incredible Shrinking Alpha" certainly isn't.

Once burnt and twice shy, I'm not going to gamble any more money on Swedroe's books. I already know more about Roger Federer's tennis career than I care to.

For myself: I don't need a book that treats me as if I've never invested a dollar nor that regurgitates the same advice to "buy and hold index funds". Ralph Vince's first book, which I bought in 1991, is excellent. It opened my eyes and I still apply the principles.

For a beginning investor: a book that takes the reader step by step through the investing basics. J.L. Collins comes close but his book is insufferably longwinded and full of anecdotes. Kids today would put that aside in favor of a video game. Even I found myself skipping ahead to bypass his bloviating.

Actually, a YouTube video might be a preferable medium to convey this information.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by XacTactX »

When I graduated from university and I was working at Starbucks this husband and wife in their late 50's stopped by and told me that they're looking for someone who is motivated and interested in doing business with them. Without telling me what kind of business they did, they told me to meet them for coffee so I could learn more. The only information they would give about the actual business was this: The Business of the 21st Century by George Kiyosaki. The book was totally useless, it didn't give any information about how to sell products through an MLM, it just said "this is going to be a huge opportunity so you should get on the ground floor, don't wait!". Typical George Kiyosaki, all about mindset with no actionable advice. Then I met the husband/wife again and they told me they sold products for Amway, and I could buy products to sell to other people. In the required disclosures they told me that the average person who signs up makes around $1,200 in the first year of doing business, but "those people aren't motivated like you are". I did some more research and I realized that if I signed up for this I would basically be starting my own business to compete with established companies like Amazon, Best Buy, Kroger, etc. and it's like buying a lottery ticket. I never talked to them after that.

chris319 wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 11:14 am Wise Investing Made Simple: Amazon price — $27.00

Rational Investing in Irrational Times: Amazon price — $79.06

After Shrinking Alpha, I'm not going to chance it on any more of Swedroe's books, especially when they would cost over $100.

If I don't get any more out of it than "own index funds", I'll pass.

Still looking for a concise introduction to investing for young people that doesn't read like an ad for Vanguard.
Those books came out around 10 years ago and they might be out of print, that's why they're so expensive. All of the books written by Larry and his coauthors in the past 5-10 years sell for $10-20 each, or less for the Kindle edition. I really like "The Complete Guide to Factor Investing", "Reducing the Risk of Black Swans", "The Complete Guide to a Secure Retirement", and "Your Only Guide to the Right FInancial Plan".

Also, I think the information offered in The Incredible Shrinking Alpha is a lot more nuanced than buying Vanguard products or index funds. Larry/Andrew's main point is that old sources of alpha have been converted into beta because we understand sources of risk/return better than we did 40-50 years ago, or even 5-10 years ago. Index funds give cheap access to sources of beta such as size, value, and momentum. Vanguard is one of the best index fund providers and tons of Vanguard products have received Gold and Silver awards from Morningstar, but Larry/Andrew also recommend iShares, Fidelity, SPDR, and Schwab products.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Random Walker »

chris319 wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 1:02 pm I already know more about Roger Federer's tennis career than I care to.
The analogies between tennis and investing are very interesting and enlightening. Pro tennis is a different game from amateur. The key for weekend warriors is to avoid the unforced errors. Hitting cross court where the net is lower and the margin for error greater is analogous to keeping expense ratios low and passive investing. Blasting the ball at the lines like the pros sometimes do may be more analogous to stock picking and market timing :-)

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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by chris319 »

The analogies between tennis and investing are very interesting and enlightening. Pro tennis is a different game from amateur. The key for weekend warriors is to avoid the unforced errors. Hitting cross court where the net is lower and the margin for error greater is analogous to keeping expense ratios low and passive investing. Blasting the ball at the lines like the pros sometimes do may be more analogous to stock picking and market timing
I'm glad you find Swedroe's books useful and hope the information they contain contributes to your investment returns.

Different strokes for different folks.
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by chris319 »

This board gets a lot of posts where Mom & Dad (or grandma & grandpa) are nearing retirement or are already retired. They love their AUM advisor who is sticking it to them with high-ER funds and commissioned vehicles. They are unsophisticated and hands-off of their own finances, and leave everything to their advisor. They might be the ideal audience for some of these books if for no other reason than they blow the whistle on high expenses. I have an aunt who is in this category. She could be doing a lot better for herself but she loves and trusts "her guy". I see my brother and SIL starting to head down this path with their AUM advisor. They are intelligent people and perfectly capable of making their own decisions, so I stay out of it.

The first thing a salesman must sell is himself. :moneybag
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by hnd »

chris319 wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 11:14 am Wise Investing Made Simple: Amazon price — $27.00

Rational Investing in Irrational Times: Amazon price — $79.06

After Shrinking Alpha, I'm not going to chance it on any more of Swedroe's books, especially when they would cost over $100.

If I don't get any more out of it than "own index funds", I'll pass.

Still looking for a concise introduction to investing for young people that doesn't read like an ad for Vanguard.
you can find both on ebay for under 5 bucks. (where i buy 90% of my books)

For me wise investing made simple was just that, but it basically says own index funds as the application. Motley fool had a book that I believe would fall inside the scope of a book that doesn't just say own index funds and is for beginners. I think its called their investment guide or something.

Outside of index funds and stock picking, active mutual fund purchases are very personal IMO and hard to write about.

Many of these books do sometimes seem like they are all saying the same thing anymore thats for sure. index investing, "getting your fair share" will seem stupid to most young investors. When we were younger, we thought the moment we could buy some stocks and bonds, we'd be rich people! buy sell buy sell, we are riiiich! And i know for sure that when I was a cocksure 20 something yr old kid, someone told me we should just buy boring ole index funds and get what the market gives us, i laughed in their face!

Someone gave me my first financial book. it was 99 New Rules of Money by Rick Edelman. I mentioned it in my first post in this thread. He basically talks about how horrible index funds are. mediocre returns full of companies that were not great, etcetc. I remember sitting in a meeting as we were discussing the creation of our new retirement plans using Oppenheimer funds (very young company at the time). I was 26. A few more financial saavy members of the meeting were livid that we'd be buying front loaded funds when we could easily make as much if not more buying sp500 funds. These were older guys and all us young idiots were like morons!, these funds have beaten the sp500! why do you want us to do something so stupid like investing in index funds!"

today ric edelman is an index fund guy and a 80/20 boglehead portfolio like those guys in that meeting suggested would of netted us all an additional 2% on our investment the 10 years we did the other plan. (now use a 401k plan that mostly uses indexes)
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by hnd »

chris319 wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 2:39 pm This board gets a lot of posts where Mom & Dad (or grandma & grandpa) are nearing retirement or are already retired. They love their AUM advisor who is sticking it to them with high-ER funds and commissioned vehicles. They are unsophisticated and hands-off of their own finances, and leave everything to their advisor. They might be the ideal audience for some of these books if for no other reason than they blow the whistle on high expenses. I have an aunt who is in this category. She could be doing a lot better for herself but she loves and trusts "her guy". I see my brother and SIL starting to head down this path with their AUM advisor. They are intelligent people and perfectly capable of making their own decisions, so I stay out of it.

The first thing a salesman must sell is himself. :moneybag
I know plenty of people who could do this themselves who use an advisor as well. They don't have an advisor to pick the funds for them they have an advisor to convince them to not pull out when things get dicey. I believe as we age we become more cognizant that we are prone to make emotional judgement errors and sometimes those errors can cost millions. I know a guy who invested on his own. a person you'd have a few conversations with and assume was fully capable of doing this himself. he pulled his entire retirement at the bottom in 2009 and lost basically the entire recovery. Today he says he'd gladly pay someone $10k a year to keep him from every doing that again. Because if he had had an advisor in 2009, it more likely he'd be paying them $20k a year instead happily.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by abuss368 »

I was donating books recently to our library. Looking at this thread had me thinking just how much information is out there. Often not the best information.

This thread had a lot of titles that unfortunately read too!

Stick with the Boglehead recommendations. It simply works.

Best.
Tony
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

How to avoid financial tangles, by Kenneth C Masteller. Great name for a book. It was just okay. The version I read was a bit dated.

Ready Set Retire, by Ray Lucia. It was okay. His “buckets of money” philosophy later came under legal scrutiny but he won his challenge.

Personal Finance for Dummies was ok.

The WSJ Guide to Personal Finance was ok.

The Money Game by Adam Smith… well…

But the life changing books were
The Millionaire Next Door,
Your Money or Your Life,
Your Wealth Building Years and
Getting Rich in America.

The Number was pretty good too, although the tone was too cute.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

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jhsu802701 wrote: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:48 pm
chris319 wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:46 pm 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."
You're the first person I've ever heard of who did NOT like that book.

Although I disagree with Peter Lynch on some things, I regard _One Up On Wall Street_ as required reading for all investors. While most of the great investors have specialized in one particular approach, Peter Lynch has been eclectic enough to succeed with a wide variety of approaches, including turnarounds, cyclicals, asset plays, value, slow growth, stalwarts, and fast growth. He shows that there are multiple good approaches to pick stocks but that you need to know your stocks at least as well as a car dealership knows its cars. If you don't understand what you own, you'll all too easily be scared into selling just because the stock price jiggles downward or the Wall Street gossip machine has a bearish narrative about your stock.
I thought Lynch's books were excellent, I enjoyed them a lot. I think now I would read them to understand how portfolio management works. Did apply what Lynch taught but I never met with his success as a stock picker. Lynch also was in a different era when stock picking had more of a chance. Today the markets are much more efficient and the internet revolutionized the availability of information to the average investor. He also started his tenure at Fidelity Magellan at almost the bottom of the markets and at the bottom of the public's interest in those markets.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

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chris319 wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:03 pm I'm sorry, but the times I've seen Peter Lynch on TV or YouTube, he just comes across as smug, like "if you can't pick 10-baggers from the companies in your own neighborhood then what's wrong with you?". Or "I invested in Dunkin Donuts and made 20 times my investment. It's just that easy and anyone can do it".

Having seen the wisdom of Bogle's teachings, Lynch's preachings strike me as so much baloney.

Lynch was one of my favorite guests on Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser. He was anything but the way you characterize him. I found him to be humble, self-deprecating and wrote in a very understandable manner. He also had a fun and enjoyable way of explaining things. After retiring, he and his wife devoted themselves to philanthropy. I wonder if you have actually read his books at all or ever watched his interviews. It seems like you are just relating what you heard second hand.

I have to tell you that he doesn't say it is easy. What he does say is that the success of local stores can give you insight into stocks you might want to research. He doesn't say to just buy the stock of the stores wherever you see long lines or have exciting products. It is a starting point. I think his books made it pretty clear that he did extensive research including company visits and management interviews. He also had a team of analysts that helped him.

What you are describing is what I call "Buffettizing". That is where Warren Buffett will describe more complex concepts in short, understandable paragraphs and Buffett makes it sound like what he does is easy. But that is to give a short explanation to laypeople in a way they can understand it. If you want more detail, you can read his annual shareholder letters on the Berkshire-Hathaway website. Lynch is doing the same thing. In an interview, where you have just a few minutes, you aren't going to be able to go into much detail.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by hnd »

A lady in our church died and a good friend was executor of her estate. the estate sale is over and they are coming this week to clear everything else out before the home is sold. he handed me a box of financial books last night. all from the 80's and 90's about winning with stocks and yearly mutual fund catalogs.

2 books i kept and will donate the rest. Marin Zweig's Winning on Wall Street, and Matthew Lesko Investors Information sourcebook.

The reason I kept the Matthew Lesko book is a reminder to me about what you had to do in order to invest in the 80's and early 90's. people make it seem like it was just as easy as it is today to pick mutual funds and stocks. this had addresses where you could request SEC information by mail and hope to God you got a response.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by secondopinion »

nedsaid wrote: Sun Feb 13, 2022 7:52 pm
chris319 wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:03 pm I'm sorry, but the times I've seen Peter Lynch on TV or YouTube, he just comes across as smug, like "if you can't pick 10-baggers from the companies in your own neighborhood then what's wrong with you?". Or "I invested in Dunkin Donuts and made 20 times my investment. It's just that easy and anyone can do it".

Having seen the wisdom of Bogle's teachings, Lynch's preachings strike me as so much baloney.

Lynch was one of my favorite guests on Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser. He was anything but the way you characterize him. I found him to be humble, self-deprecating and wrote in a very understandable manner. He also had a fun and enjoyable way of explaining things. After retiring, he and his wife devoted themselves to philanthropy. I wonder if you have actually read his books at all or ever watched his interviews. It seems like you are just relating what you heard second hand.

I have to tell you that he doesn't say it is easy. What he does say is that the success of local stores can give you insight into stocks you might want to research. He doesn't say to just buy the stock of the stores wherever you see long lines or have exciting products. It is a starting point. I think his books made it pretty clear that he did extensive research including company visits and management interviews. He also had a team of analysts that helped him.

What you are describing is what I call "Buffettizing". That is where Warren Buffett will describe more complex concepts in short, understandable paragraphs and Buffett makes it sound like what he does is easy. But that is to give a short explanation to laypeople in a way they can understand it. If you want more detail, you can read his annual shareholder letters on the Berkshire-Hathaway website. Lynch is doing the same thing. In an interview, where you have just a few minutes, you aren't going to be able to go into much detail.
This reminds of a saying that goes something like this: an expert does not brag about what they know; they just cannot understand why others do not understand what they think is simple.

But some people are successful and they do want many others to share their joy; but sadly, the stock market does not work that way.
Passive investing: not about making big bucks but making profits. Active investing: not about beating the market but meeting goals. Speculation: not about timing the market but taking profitable risks.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by bondsr4me »

I have two books that are worthless except I do use them as door stops....

Jake Berstein's "The Compleat Day Trader" and "The Compleat Day Trader II".

I can't believe I was so stupid as to waste my hard earned money on this crap.

But, that was before I discovered Jack Bogle and Vanguard.

RIP Jack...you're an American Hero and Legend to many of us BH's.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by firebirdparts »

I must say I was very pleased to see the e-trade baby coming out of retirement per the super bowl commercial. He never wrote a book, but if I want to get bad investment advice, that's who I'd like to get it from. Best commercials ever.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by oldmotos »

We started an investment club in 1996 which is when this book came out: "The Beardstown Ladies' Common-Sense Investment Guide: How We Beat the Stock Market - And How You Can Too"

Later it was revealed that they counted their contributions as profits and that was how they claimed to beat the market!

Our club still meets monthly - typically we spend 10 minutes to select a stock to buy and then 2-3 hours of eating, drinking beer and shooting the bull.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by bondsr4me »

oldmotos wrote: Mon Feb 14, 2022 12:50 pm We started an investment club in 1996 which is when this book came out: "The Beardstown Ladies' Common-Sense Investment Guide: How We Beat the Stock Market - And How You Can Too"

Later it was revealed that they counted their contributions as profits and that was how they claimed to beat the market!

Our club still meets monthly - typically we spend 10 minutes to select a stock to buy and then 2-3 hours of eating, drinking beer and shooting the bull.
+1....I remember them....
I also remember a time when CNBC would do live shots from a "day traders" operations.
they were all lined up behind their computers, staring at the multi-screens setup...
I'm not sure if it was Ron Insana doing the CNBC piece or who it was....

I just wonder how many of them went broke.....

I sure am glad I found Jack Bogle.....or I would have probably gone broke too.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by NAVigator »

I "decluttered" about 5 years ago and found I had about 50 investment books that were in the worthless category. I considered donating them, but didn't feel right about passing on bad information. Most of them I was able to recycle and those I couldn't were tossed. I saved all of the BH-type books and began reading them again. Sound advice is timeless and timing advice is not.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by ExcireFoto »

"Book called "Dual Momentum Investing: An Innovative Strategy for Higher Returns with Lower Risk" by Gary Antonacci

Absolute garbage, it advocates trend following based on 12 months moving average on major indices. Of course, the backtests shown in the book works beautifully over 2001-2002 and 2008 recessions.

Anyone following this method will get whipsawed all the time and literally lose money in a raging bull market (not to mention high taxes and very high turnover)."

Imak,

I've experimented with the Dual Momentum (DM) model for 5.5 years and find the model wanting. The last two years provides a good test as 2021 was an excellent year for equities and 2022 has been the opposite.

I've found one variable that is difficult to overcome and it is luck-of-review day. I set the four DM portfolios to be reviewed every 33 days so as to rotate them through the month and to vary the day of the week when each is updated. The 33-day review period also avoids the wash sale rule.

As a group, the four managed to nearly double an aggressive growth iShares ETF, but lagged the total U.S. Equities market by a factor of four. Not good.

One of the four DM portfolios managed to outperform the S&P 500 by one-half percentage point over the past two years, but none of the other three came close. This is what I mean by luck-of-review-day.

Gary Antonacci recommends using a one-year look-back period. This reduces portfolio churning, but is slow in picking up quick down-turns such as we experienced in the early months of 2019.

Another performance comparison I use is a Schwab Intelligent Portfolio or a Robo Advisor portfolio. Only one of the Dual Momentum portfolios performed better than the Schwab portfolio. On a risk adjusted basis, only one DM portfolio bested the Schwab Intelligent Portfolio.

Excire
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by ExcireFoto »

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:05 pm
had the motley fool's foolish four. that's now defunct.

never read the Beardstown Ladies Investment Guide, but that's pretty useless (recalled).

there's probably too many to count.

i'll throw the kyosaki books in there too (rich dad, poor dad). concepts more than anything in those rather than any actual practical advise.
Totally agree. I particularly disliked Kyosaki's first book as he disrespected his father, an academic.

On the other side of the coin, I recommend William Bernstein books and I highly recommend "The Elements of Investing" by Malkiel and Ellis. Key elements are: Save, Index, and Keep It Simple. All the ideas align with Bogleheads philosophy.

Excire
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Lawrence of Suburbia »

I've read a few. One that comes to mind are Your Money Or Your Life by Dominguez & Robins; actually had lots of good advice about the concept of "enough", and living a frugal, savers' lifestyle to get to a place where work is optional (and volunteering for your community). Where they lost me at the time, back in the late-'90s, was in making one's sole investment vehicle Treasury bonds. Also, they argued that inflation was a myth! (Probably a good argument to make if you're promoting the 30-year Treasury as one's sole investment.) But in retrospect, given this was in the middle of a 40-year bull market in bonds ... Joe was probably right.

Another was The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias, which may have had some good advice in it; but had the advantage of being a really fun, entertaining read. The crucial chapter (if there was one) was titled "What To Do If You Have The Misfortune To Inherit A Million Dollars" or something like that; I think he recommended one put half in an S&P 500 index fund, the other half in Treasury bonds, take the dividends and interest to live on. And don't buy a boat.

I certainly took that latter bit of advice to heart ...

Edit: just noticed the "Useless" part of the thread title. Neither of my cited books were useless.
Last edited by Lawrence of Suburbia on Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

ExcireFoto wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 3:04 pm
arcticpineapplecorp. wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 9:05 pm
had the motley fool's foolish four. that's now defunct.

never read the Beardstown Ladies Investment Guide, but that's pretty useless (recalled).

there's probably too many to count.

i'll throw the kyosaki books in there too (rich dad, poor dad). concepts more than anything in those rather than any actual practical advise.
Totally agree. I particularly disliked Kyosaki's first book as he disrespected his father, an academic.

On the other side of the coin, I recommend William Bernstein books and I highly recommend "The Elements of Investing" by Malkiel and Ellis. Key elements are: Save, Index, and Keep It Simple. All the ideas align with Bogleheads philosophy.

Excire
agreed.

regarding disrespecting his father, I didn't read it exactly that way. I saw it more like he was saying his father was not entrepreneurial and kept rising the ladder in his area until he couldn't rise anymore and worked himself out of his job. I think as he rose the ladder he eventually had to get into more political appointment type jobs (and eventually lost his job when the political tides changed and he was let go), whereas his friend's dad (rich dad) was more diversified in businesses, real estate, whatever, and didn't have to depend upon the kindness of a boss (because he was his own boss).

i remember hearing on Michael Kitces' podcast one guest said he felt like holding a single job was much riskier than having your own business. Having multiple clients meant that if one or 10 clients fire you, you've lost some revenue, but you'll survive (because you have lots of other clients). On the other hand if you get fired from your job you're toast (because it's just 1 job, not mulitple jobs where 1 loss wouldn't matter. Losing 1 job if it's your only job means you lost 100% of your revenue. If you have your own business and lose 1 client out of 100, you've lost 1% of revenue, not 100%). So I felt like kyosaki was saying something similar: don't depend on a job, rather be diversified and have lots of opportunities rather than put all your eggs in one (job) basket.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by chris319 »

Since starting this thread I have watched one of Peter Lynch's videos on YouTube which is supposed to be a primer on investing. More specifically it is a primer on stock picking, as if that's the only way to invest. True to form, Peter rattles off an endless list of rules for stock picking. The problem is, the viewer will never remember all of Peter's many rules of thumb when the video is over. He also expects the lay person to be able to make sense of a company's annual report.

He doesn't guide the viewer into mutual funds, such as the one he himself managed. Add to that his boasting about some of his best stock picks such as Dunkin Donuts. Throughout the video there is his usual undercurrent of "being a good stock picker is easy" as if any lay person can beat the market and be the next Warren Buffett. In short, his video is just as useless as his books.

If you're going to teach the masses to invest just point them to index funds, but Jack Bogle already has that territory covered. Building a portfolio comprised entirely of individual company stocks is passé given the time-tested efficacy of index funds.
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Capster1 »

Acquirer’s Multiple. I felt the book was pointless.
I read a book to learn how if a ratio is under a certain number, the stock is a buy. Meanwhile, the tables showed he underperformed using the multiple, doh!
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Caduceus »

I thought Rich Dad, Poor Dad was atrocious. I read it at Barnes and Noble a long time ago for free, so at least was not out any money.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Taylor Larimore »

Bogleheads:

May be of interest:

He has read over 250 investing books. He recommends these three funds.

Best wishes.
Taylor
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by abuss368 »

I read too many Donald Trump business books years ago. I now understand they all said the same thing from different ghost writers and were a waste of time and money.

I found much better investment and business books recommended on this forum!

Best.
Tony
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by protagonist »

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?

Though I pretty much agree with this, that is because I also pretty much agree with their collective investment philosophy, and I have learned a lot from them in the decade or more that I have been following this forum. For that I owe thanks to those you mentioned above.

I particularly chose the word "philosophy", since there is no solid "science" behind investment methodology....much relies on faith given an always uncertain future.

And our mutually , mostly shared philosophy can be explained in a manner of minutes , really. There is nothing particularly abstruse about it. I've done it successfully several times with my friends...it isn't "rocket science" (an aside... I love that antiquated expression, especially since a "rocket scientist" I know told me that rocket science is actually kind of simple....)

But, in all fairness, there are other philosophies out there, and though most of us disagree with them, I encourage a new investor to explore all options and think for themselves. In my humble opinion , investing should be a "philosophy" (open to debate) but should not be a "religion". I don't follow "gurus" (and for that reason I have always had a problem with the term "Boglehead").

Sadly, most of what I have read, even among authors who for the most part are diehard "Bogleheads", still, to a large extent, use past performance (largely cherry-picked) data to justify their conclusions....and even if past performance is predictive of future performance (highly controversial at best when dealing with complex nonlinear systems), the past data is limited enough to make statistically valid predictions virtually impossible. There are very few authors I know that address those issues honestly....Mandelbrot and Bernstein come to mind. I have read, I think, one book by Bernstein and I haven't read Mandelbrot, though I am familiar enough with chaos and complexity theory, and with his contribution, to grasp the concept. Really that is enough.

I have read a number of other investment books by other authors early in my investment history. In retrospect I haven't found that they added anything substantial to my understanding. But I had to read them in order to come to that conclusion. I just found that my inherently skeptical nature resulted in me questioning most of their assumptions. Imho, one could get a better understanding of the markets by studying STATISTICS and SCIENTIFIC METHODOLOGY (to be able to critically evaluate what you read or hear!) , before you read more investment books. For those not well-versed, Nate Silver's popular book is not a bad simple primer on evaluating predictions . I prefer to read books about other subjects than investing that actually add to my understanding of them rather than just to "rizar el rizo" (an expression I learned in Venezuela....literally "to curl the curl", or to complicate something that is inherently simple).

When I do have a specific question, I turn to answers from people like the ones you mentioned above in this forum (all of whom are much more knowledgeable about specifics of investing than I ever intend to be), I listen, and then come to my own conclusion.
Last edited by protagonist on Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:58 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Nicolas »

JBTX wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 8:27 pm
Taylor Larimore wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:55 pm Bogleheads:

One of the oldest(1986) investment books on our bookshelf was written by a University of Miami college alumni of mine, Martin Zweig. It is titled "Martin Zweig's Winning on Wall Street". It persuaded me to market-time with our investments-- It was "useless" and worse.

Best wishes.
Taylor
Jack Bogle's Words of Wisdom: "Stay the course."
I remember on Wall Street Week he was always considered one of the smart ones. I don't recall why. Probably because he just acted that way.
I enjoyed watching Martin Zweig on W$W. Louis Rukeyser seemed to hold him in high regard. He kind of predicted the crash of ‘87. On the show just before the crash he said he was “worried”. Later I learned he had purchased the most expensive penthouse apartment in NYC, at least at the time.

But Marty wasn’t my favorite guest on that show. My favorite was John Templeton, that investor extraordinaire, a pioneer of international investing. He was always so irrepressibly optimistic. I felt glad every time I saw him.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by protagonist »

Nicolas wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:20 pm

I enjoyed watching Martin Zweig on W$W. Louis Rukeyser seemed to hold him in high regard. He kind of predicted the crash of ‘87.
A bit off-topic, but how well did he do predicting the 1999 dot-com bubble? Or the crash in the early 2000s? Or the 2007 housing bubble and the 2008 crash?
In other words, was his success consistent or just lucky?

At the height of the cold war, around 1980, I read a prediction by an "expert" (I forget his name) that the Soviet Union would peacefully collapse around 1990. It seemed amazingly brilliant, until you read his other predictions which seemed similarly crazy at the time, and actually were.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Nicolas »

protagonist wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:32 pm
Nicolas wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:20 pm

I enjoyed watching Martin Zweig on W$W. Louis Rukeyser seemed to hold him in high regard. He kind of predicted the crash of ‘87.
A bit off-topic, but how well did he do predicting the 1999 dot-com bubble? Or the crash in the early 2000s? Or the 2007 housing bubble and the 2008 crash?
In other words, was his success consistent or just lucky?

At the height of the cold war, around 1980, I read a prediction by an "expert" (I forget his name) that the Soviet Union would peacefully collapse around 1990. It seemed amazingly brilliant, until you read his other predictions which seemed similarly crazy at the time, and actually were.
I know. If you make enough predictions one of them will eventually come true. Elaine Garzarelli made her career predicting that crash. She was seen as prescient. That was the last time she was right.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by chris319 »

Nicolas wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:20 pm
JBTX wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 8:27 pm
Taylor Larimore wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:55 pm Bogleheads:

One of the oldest(1986) investment books on our bookshelf was written by a University of Miami college alumni of mine, Martin Zweig. It is titled "Martin Zweig's Winning on Wall Street". It persuaded me to market-time with our investments-- It was "useless" and worse.

Best wishes.
Taylor
Jack Bogle's Words of Wisdom: "Stay the course."
I remember on Wall Street Week he was always considered one of the smart ones. I don't recall why. Probably because he just acted that way.
I enjoyed watching Martin Zweig on W$W. Louis Rukeyser seemed to hold him in high regard. He kind of predicted the crash of ‘87. On the show just before the crash he said he was “worried”. Later I learned he had purchased the most expensive penthouse apartment in NYC, at least at the time.

But Marty wasn’t my favorite guest on that show. My favorite was John Templeton, that investor extraordinaire, a pioneer of international investing. He was always so irrepressibly optimistic. I felt glad every time I saw him.
Ask Marty Zweig, "where are the customers' penthouses?"

I had Marty Zweig's book but no longer do. Didn't he have you flipping through page after page of stock charts to pick stocks? IIRC there was no science to it, as in "eenie, meenie, miney, moe". I suppose flipping through pages of stock charts is a step above Peter Lynch's counting employee cars in a company's parking lot.

Two of my favorite quotations of all time:

After the October, 1987 crash on Wall $treet Week: Louis, if you haven't borrowed money to buy stocks, you don't have anything to worry about. -Sir John Templeton

"Never buy stocks that go down." -Peter Lynch

Before I buy a stock, I call Peter Lynch and ask him if the stock is going to go down. If he doesn't know, I call the stock exchange. If they don't know, I get out my Ouija board :mrgreen:
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by doobiedoo »

chris319 wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:46 pm 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. ...
There is such a company. It's called Costco.
Costco parking lots were packed 20 years ago. They are still packed today.
I started buying COST 18 years ago.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by EZ James »

I saw "Financial Self Defense" by Givens on a table at Costco 35 or so years ago, skimmed it and threw in my basket. But after reading the cover story and the message in the back I concluded it was nothing more than bait to join his institute or society of some kind. I gave it away without reading it.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by chris319 »

doobiedoo wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 3:29 am
chris319 wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:46 pm 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. ...
There is such a company. It's called Costco.
Costco parking lots were packed 20 years ago. They are still packed today.
I started buying COST 18 years ago.
Did the parking-lot count influence your initial decision to buy COST?
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by Nicolas »

chris319 wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 2:41 am
Nicolas wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:20 pm
JBTX wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 8:27 pm
Taylor Larimore wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:55 pm Bogleheads:

One of the oldest(1986) investment books on our bookshelf was written by a University of Miami college alumni of mine, Martin Zweig. It is titled "Martin Zweig's Winning on Wall Street". It persuaded me to market-time with our investments-- It was "useless" and worse.

Best wishes.
Taylor
Jack Bogle's Words of Wisdom: "Stay the course."
I remember on Wall Street Week he was always considered one of the smart ones. I don't recall why. Probably because he just acted that way.
I enjoyed watching Martin Zweig on W$W. Louis Rukeyser seemed to hold him in high regard. He kind of predicted the crash of ‘87. On the show just before the crash he said he was “worried”. Later I learned he had purchased the most expensive penthouse apartment in NYC, at least at the time.

But Marty wasn’t my favorite guest on that show. My favorite was John Templeton, that investor extraordinaire, a pioneer of international investing. He was always so irrepressibly optimistic. I felt glad every time I saw him.
Ask Marty Zweig, "where are the customers' penthouses?"

I had Marty Zweig's book but no longer do. Didn't he have you flipping through page after page of stock charts to pick stocks? IIRC there was no science to it, as in "eenie, meenie, miney, moe". I suppose flipping through pages of stock charts is a step above Peter Lynch's counting employee cars in a company's parking lot.

I never followed him and never read his book. I just watched him on TV. It was pure entertainment for me, I never missed a show. I didn’t have much money back then so I wasn’t picking stocks. I was invested in the Magellan fund, 20th Century Seiect (no minimum), and my employer’s stock through payroll deduction. Lucky me or I would’ve likely lost a lot of money.

Two of my favorite quotations of all time:

After the October, 1987 crash on Wall $treet Week: Louis, if you haven't borrowed money to buy stocks, you don't have anything to worry about. -Sir John Templeton

Yes, I saw him deliver this line, wonderful man!

"Never buy stocks that go down." -Peter Lynch

Before I buy a stock, I call Peter Lynch and ask him if the stock is going to go down. If he doesn't know, I call the stock exchange. If they don't know, I get out my Ouija board :mrgreen:
:D
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Re: Useless Investment Books

Post by abuss368 »

doobiedoo wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 3:29 am
chris319 wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:46 pm 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. ...
There is such a company. It's called Costco.
Costco parking lots were packed 20 years ago. They are still packed today.
I started buying COST 18 years ago.
Many years ago when we were investing (perhaps speculating is more appropriate) with individual stocks, we picked Costco.

It was one of the best performing stocks we ever owned.

Best.
Tony
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
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