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The Elements of Investing

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  840 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
'The Elements of Investing' hacks away at all the overtrading and over thinking so predominant in the hyperactive thought patterns of the average investor. The book offers investors a set of simple, but powerful thoughts on how to challenge Mr. Market at his own game, and win by not losing.
Hardcover, 154 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by John Wiley & Sons
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Sep 14, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing
If you only read one book, ever, about investing, make it this one. A slender volume, I read it today in one sitting. I picked it up on the recommendation of Bill McNabb, the CEO of Vanguard Group. Anyone who's talked to me for more than 90 seconds about finances knows that I am an unabashed Vanguard fan.

The author Burton Malkiel is most famous for his book "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" which basically posits that asset prices move randomly and defy prediction. I saw him at a conference rece
Kit Pang
Dec 03, 2014 Kit Pang rated it really liked it
Quick and to the point.

"Best friends of any investor"
-Dollar-Cost Averaging

Jan 23, 2012 Plot2themoon rated it it was amazing
This book is perfect for the person who has no clue. I have just stepped into the investment world myself, and can barely ever get past the first sentence because I don't understand the vocabulary. It is like a whole new language, and this book is the perfect introduction. Everything is explained simply and gives you a basic understanding and a good list of warnings. Once you finish there is a nice list of other books you can read. Every word written in backed up in some way, and if the authors ...more
Chung Chin
Elements of investing is a straight-to-the-point how-to invest book. In this book, the two authors do their very best in dishing out simple advice to investors. Simple, but not easy. Because while the advices are simple, the execution is anything but.

This is a great book that would be suitable for investors at all stages of their life as well as investing knowledge. If you're just starting out, I think this will be a fantastic book to introduce you on the mental models to have. For more sophist
Mar 10, 2012 Philip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those looking for simple investment advice, particularly those just beginning.
Malkiel and Ellis combine their investment experience and share the basic "elements" of investing with us, inspired by the same concept Shrunk and White used to streamline key writing principals into the book Elements of Style. Their main concepts are: 1) Save, and save NOW. 2)Index your stocks and bonds (their main theory is that as a long-term investor it's virtually impossible to "beat the market," so buy mostly low-cost index funds instead of large numbers of individual stock shares. 3)Diver ...more
George Odisho
Feb 14, 2016 George Odisho rated it it was amazing
This book is intended for those who are new to investing or who have made financial mistakes and are wishing to write those wrongs.

I'm 27 years old, contribute 16% of my paycheck to my 401k (in which my company's match of 3% is also added), take advantage of my company's 6% yearly profit sharing contribution that is directly transferred to my 401k in the beginning of every year, maximize the contributions to my own personal Roth IRA every year and have contributed a considerable amount of my own
Derek Postlewaite
Aug 09, 2015 Derek Postlewaite rated it liked it
Shelves: finance
I borrowed this book from the library to get a bare bones understanding of investing. Bare bones instruction was the stated objective of the authors. Mission accomplished. Some of the biggest takeaways: index funds outperform traditional mutual funds for one reason only--low expense ratios. Next, take advantage of tax deductions on investments. For example, the authors say that a person of moderate income (although they don't put a number on moderate) can invest $5,000 in an IRA, deduct every do ...more
Patrick Neylan
As the authors themselves state, this book is short and simple and can be read in the time it takes to watch a football match (less, if your idea of football is the American kind). Most investment books run to 400 pages, and are ideal for the dedicated, knowledgeable investor. Some people have castigated this book for its simplicity, but there is a place for it.

The best lesson for investors is that the market is smarter than they are and that simple activities, including saving that is funded b
Jan 18, 2010 Scott rated it liked it
Shelves: money, 2010s
It wouldn't take much of a magnet to hold this pamphlet to your refrigerator door. Malkiel and Ellis promise to keep it simple, and being men of integrity, they have kept their word. If you've read anything else at all by these two investment pioneers, then you'll not find anything new or especially surprising in this book. It's value lies in its convenience, since it distills their basic tenets -- save early, shun credit card debt, invest in index funds, use your company's 401(k), open an IRA - ...more
Jan 28, 2010 Kentridge marked it as to-read
Chapter 1: Save
This is the chapter I wish I could drum into my daughter’s head: if you could start saving and investing early in life and keep it up you’ll have no financial worries. As it happens, Canadians can start saving at age 18 with the new TFSAs. Since most teenagers are unlikely to come up with the maximum contribution of $5,000 by themselves I suggest all the parents out there fund at least the first year on their behalf, marking the event with a copy of The Elements of Investing.
Jeff Walden
Mar 18, 2012 Jeff Walden rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people not familiar with personal finance
Malkiel (of A Random Walk Down Wall Street: Completely Revised and Updated Edition fame) and Ellis present the very basics of investing in a short, compact form. And I do mean very basics. Anyone more than slightly informed about personal finance will likely be familiar with everything in this book: save money, cut your expenses, don't have credit card debt, invest your money, don't try to beat the market, use index funds, hold onto them for the long run. (Maybe I missed something in there, but ...more
Thurston Hunger
May 02, 2010 Thurston Hunger rated it liked it
Of the many ways I need to grow up, taking better care of my financial health even tops taking care of bodily health. The book as advertised can be read in about two hours, and conceivably even quicker if you skim through for the indented recaps.

Thanks to Todd for pointing this one out to me, and his assessment that this would be a great book to read in your 30's is true. Spread out risk! Across companies (full-market mutual fund, if not full-market, full-world)...and across types of investment
Todd N
Dec 29, 2009 Todd N rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finance
Xmas 2009 present. This is one of two excellent overviews of investing that were published this year. (The other is The Investor's Manifesto by William Bernstein.) Malkiel is famous (at least in our house) for writing A Random Walk Down Wall Street, and co-author Ellis wrote a book I've been meaning to read, Winning The Loser's Game.

The two of them teamed up to write a simple book on investing, a la Strunk and White's Elements of Style. It's a very simple book that covers a lot of topics succinc
Ken Kugler
Apr 16, 2013 Ken Kugler rated it it was amazing
This book is a must for those who would like to understand investing. It is a easy to read book that does not speak so far above you that you have to keep a dictionary around. Burton Malkiel speaks to you, not above you. Even the title tells you it will be easy to read. He took the title from the Elements of Style and applied it's simplicity to investing. He breaks down investing so even if you do not really understand a lot of terms you will walk away feeling empowered and ready to read more.
Kristie J.
Nov 07, 2015 Kristie J. rated it it was amazing
If you only read one book about investing, this one should be it. I listened to the audiobook because my library only had the audiobook on CD (3 CD's long) and not the printed book. Many of the concepts I already knew from reading other investing books (like Suze Orman's books), but they are solid, important concepts for managing your finances. I really appreciated that the book was short and to-the-point and mentioned specific funds to look for. I would like to read more investing books, but mo ...more
Christopher Durand
Feb 04, 2016 Christopher Durand rated it it was amazing
I've always thought that a random walk down wall street was one of the best investment books ever written, but found that it may be too in depth for your average investor trying to make sense of their 401k. This book remedies the problem by being concise and easily read in a afternoon. It hits all of the major points and should sit on everyone's bookshelves. High school students would be served well by reading this before they graduate and for any college student Its a must read. Far too many pe ...more
Oct 09, 2011 Ulysses rated it it was amazing
Unless you're a you're a financial genius who never worries about the performance of your investments, I highly recommend that you read this little book-- it will do wonders not only for your state of mind regarding your current investments, but also in helping you invest more intelligently in the future (hint: it's far, far simpler and easier to do so than you probably think it is). It's a shockingly quick and easy read (150ish pages, written in "plain English"; takes only about three hours to ...more
Apr 24, 2013 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good short overview of the basics, as the subtitle "Easy Lessons" implies. It's a good starting point for a young adult.

However, if you already know the basics, you are unlikely to learn anything new. If you know you shouldn't carry credit card debt; if you know you should spend less than you earn; if you know you should diversify and use index funds and rebalance ..... then you already know what this book has to say. Still, it is certainly worth a skim, or as a gift for a high school
Dec 14, 2014 Kfhoz rated it it was amazing
Confirming what others have said, this is an excellent place to start if you are just beginning in investing. Very good gift for a young person just getting out of college.

Even if you are a bit further along in investing, hearing these authors confirm what others are saying will help give you confidence to proceed.

Both of the authors have less conservative asset allocation preferences than others I have read, such as John Bogle, so it is useful to compare and ind what works for you.
Oct 05, 2013 Jon rated it liked it
A short decent book on investing stressing three major themes: 1) Saving, 2) index investing and 3) tax efficiency.
Robert Malkiel (Random Walk Down Wall street) and Charles D. Ellis (Winning the Loser's Game) are adamant proponents of the efficient market hypothesis (EMH) and the book should be read with this in mind.
The advice given is solid for the average investor or just for anyone who wants to fret less about savings and investing and just want to get it over with and move on.
Benjamin Sigrist
Mar 27, 2010 Benjamin Sigrist rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-read-again
I love small concise books... I read through this in a little over an hour. Granted, much of the terminology was familiar to me and that helped me to speed through faster.

5 chapters... Save, Index Funds, Diversify, Avoid Blunders, Keep it Simple. Distilled down to the essentials but not seeming to lack in detail. This is a book that cleared a lot up for me concerning investing and I feel much more confident in the subject.

Definitely a book to buy and read again.
Jan 26, 2016 Gavin rated it it was amazing
Malkiel and Ellis distill the best practices of sound investing in this short, easily understandable book. If you are just looking for good practical investment advice, this book is a fine one to turn to. If you are not satisfied with the advice itself and want a better understanding of why practices like indexing and diversification are best practice, try Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Street instead.
May 18, 2010 Marius rated it it was amazing
A simply excellent book. Short, readable, understandable and filled to the brim with common sense investment strategies which will keep you focused on the long term. Whether you are a novice investor (as I am) or a professional money manager, I dare you to not find this book immensely useful. If you have teenagers about to go off to college, put this book in their hands and demand them to read it.
Jun 22, 2014 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. You can read through the whole thing in a few hours. With a pleasant, conversational writing style, the authors cover some absolute basics regarding how to take care of your finances. I actually read this first when I had very little money, but since my financial success I've reread it, followed their advice pretty closely and I'm happy with what I've done. Recommended.
Mar 22, 2011 Aubrey rated it really liked it
I love how concise this book is. No frills, no gimmicks, just to the point. Some great advice is given in addition to re-pounding in the basics. Being in the early stages of investing (really, just in the mode of thinking of my what my investing game plan will be) I appreciated Melkeil and Ellis's simplicity and found it easy to understand. I'll definitely be taking their advice on with me.
Jul 18, 2010 Art added it
Probably the most basic, truthful guide for the unsophisticated individual investor to avoid the major pitfalls of investment decision-making. Its title is a genuine effort to be as practical an investment guide as the legendary "Elements of Style" of Strunk and White was in the art of clear writing in English. Anyone who needs to invest their hard earned savings must, must, read this book.
Jan 01, 2015 Stefan rated it really liked it
I have been wanting to educate myself more on investing (I really would like to retire before 65, more time to read: -) ) and this book is a great starting point for grasping the basics. The material is not dry nor too condensed to leave a beginner with more questions than answers. If you are looking to learn more about personal investing this book is a good place to start.
Mar 27, 2012 Dave rated it it was amazing
This is my strong recommendation for the beginning investor. It's a quick read - no more than 2-3 hours - but cuts through a lot of the FUD out in the market to lay out the key points every investor should know. And it's authors are world class - Malkiel and Ellis have written some of the most famous investing books out there. This book just condenses it down into its key points.
Allison Arthur
Apr 22, 2014 Allison Arthur rated it it was amazing
I got The Elements of Investing from the library, but I'm definitely going to have to purchase a copy and give it a permanent home on my office bookshelf. Investing outside of my 401(k) has always intimidated me, but now I feel ready to dip my toes in the water and see how it goes. This book is full of great tips and guidelines, and I can't wait to put them to good use!
Feb 10, 2016 Deas rated it really liked it
This book describes the 5 elements of investing in a very simple and well presented manner. It then gives lessons and strategies on how to plan for retirement with many US account types being explained. The elements of saving, indexing, diversifying, avoiding blunders and keeping it simple that this book teaches will stay with me for years to come.
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“Predicting the stock market is really predicting how other investors will change estimates they are now making with all their best efforts. This means that, for a market forecaster to be right, the consensus of all others must be wrong and the forecaster must determine in which direction-up or down-the market will be moved by changes in the consensus of those same active investors.” 4 likes
“Nobody knows more than the market.” 0 likes
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