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Winning the Loser's Game: Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing
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Winning the Loser's Game: Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  366 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews

"Winning the Loser's Game is considered by many to be a classic analysis of investing." Financial Planning

The premise of the bestselling Winning the Loser's Gamethat individual investors can achieve far greater success working with financial markets than against themhas grown increasingly popular in today's hard-to-predict markets. The latest edition of this concise yet c

Hardcover, 182 pages
Published March 14th 2002 by McGraw-Hill (first published February 1st 1998)
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Sep 18, 2008 Mark rated it it was ok
A short book with lots of difficult vocabulary about investing that concentrates too much on institutional investors especially through the beginning of the book. Ellis highlights a few central themes at the beginning about risk, returns, and portfolios with similarities to the points of Bernstein and Malkiel, but he explains in doing so how your investment manager should be watched. Ellis notes investment managers who happen to do very well, should be doing so within the predetermined risk tole ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Eric rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Obviously the author was a successful investor. However, this book is a load of crap. He is a paid shill for Vanguard, American Funds, and T. Rowe Price (he does disclose in the book). His mantra is that active asset management doesn't work and the best funds are the cheapest. Being an investment professional, I have yet to find any of the "cheap" funds from Vanguard anywhere near the top 25% in performance. His incessant harping on indexing as the only way to invest doesn't answer the question ...more
Feb 17, 2012 Steven rated it really liked it
For me personally, there was nothing new in this book that I haven't already read elsewhere. So while I didn't particularly enjoy it, I would recommend it for the average person who has a retirement account and needs to learn some basics. It contains some very basic and prudent investing advice. The basic premise is to invest properly, you must act like an amateur tennis player and make less mistakes. Professionals win points with their skill - amateurs lost fewer points than their opponents.

Apr 22, 2008 Raghu rated it really liked it
Recommended to Raghu by: Raj Rajendran
Reading this book in 2008 may probably make some people feel as though it is not saying anything new. It emphasises a number of things that have become common wisdom nowadays - that you should invest in index funds, not try to beat the market but focus on beating taxes and inflation, that almost 75% of the fund managers underperform the market etc..etc.
But that does not make the book a boring one. To me, it makes an interesting argument as to why we should not try to beat the market. In the 1960
Jun 06, 2010 Anthony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in controlling their own financial future
Recommended to Anthony by: internet
The value in this book is that it presents the arguement that index funds are a better long term investment than actively managed funds, in a clear, concise, easy to read, common sense approach. He explains how over the years, investment managers have turned the "winner's game" into the "loser's game". The major markets have become more efficient as more information is instantly absorbed by teams of highly educated, highly motivated, smart investment professionals. The author argues that over th ...more
I like the portrail of investing as a "losers game"--not a game that can't be won, but one which is usually decided by the loser faulting rather than the winner exhibiting superior skill or talent (pp. 1-6). Interesting that it hasn't always been this way, though. In the 1960s institutions did only 10 percent of the public trading; now they make 90 percent of all NYSE public trades (pp. 10-11). The advantage the professionals once offered is now gone--not because they "lack skill or diligence", ...more
Sep 14, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Confirms how difficult it is to beat market indexes. Advocates using ETF's over picking individual stocks.
Jonathan Perez
Dec 28, 2014 Jonathan Perez rated it really liked it
I decided to read this book after seeing it referenced several times by Howard Marks in his own book The most important things. As many other reviews have said, it is a good reminder of the relevance and power of simply avoiding mistakes, passive investment and compounded interest. I especially liked the chapter about Mr Market and Mr Value. Simply explained and so true. That made me want to learn more about his achievements at Yale alongside David Swensen. I also wonder how he would qualify War ...more
Nov 19, 2015 Khari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was about how to make profit in different ways. The author spoke on finding ways to beat the market. He said how professionals do better off and some aspects than individuals. Next, people who put themselves out their and take risks go further as investors people who don`t they will have a more challenging time in getting that profit. So, you always have to find ways as an investor to make the most profit you can to have good living for yourself.
This book was good because it teaches yo
Oct 26, 2013 Sean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charley Ellis's message should resonate with investors: minimize transactions costs and superfluous fees, maintain a long-term investment horizon founded on a well-reasoned investment policy, tune out noise, and benefit from the profound effects of time and compounding on portfolios.

Ellis also highlights the use of trusts as a tax minimization technique to transfer wealth, which will help wealthy readers with succession planning.

Overall, I recommend this book to one starting out in investing.
Brentley Campbell
May 20, 2012 Brentley Campbell rated it really liked it
Really this book is more of a 3.5 stars but a lot of it is better. Charles Ellis clearly explains how the market fluctuates and gives great advice to individual investors. His concept of the institutional investment game being a loser's game is definitely true, however, one can always play a different game and not invest in just the S & P. However, for investors who do not have all of their time to dedicate to investing, going with a great value manager (if you have enough money to invest) o ...more
Jun 06, 2013 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a nutshell, don't buy stocks buy stock indexes NOT managed funds. You'll never lose over the long run. This is an enlightening book especially for individuals making their own long term investing decisions for retirement, as many regular folks are doing. It's well written and keeps the non-professional reader engaged and reading till the end. Some interesting points: even if you are retired, keep a long horizon as your investment goal, high costs of money management eats into stock fund gains ...more
Nov 21, 2013 Hong rated it liked it
Individual investors should invest in equity-based index funds around the globe, have a time-horizon of decades and follow explicit, well-thought policies. T-bills, bonds, real estate, commodities and mutual funds are poor investments compared to equities.

Too much on why mutual fund sucks and why it is important to diversify. "it is more rewarding to study investment history than to study the present", I wish to find a detailed discussion on the great depression, the high interest r
Dec 18, 2013 Dana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a little hard to get through in the middle of the book, as it largely seemed to repeat itself, but we'll worth it in the end. His closing chapters were eloquently written and the repetition, however annoying, did serve the purpose of really drilling in your head that index funds are the way to go. I ended up settling for ETFs, but this book was responsible for leading me there and I am quite pleased with the outcome.
Rich Williams
I couldn't decide between 2 or 3 stars. While I agree with main premise of the book (low cost index funds), it was very repetitive. The style is pleasant and easy to read but saying how you can be a winner, your unfair competitive advantage, the investor's dream team, etc. make it read like the sorts of investment books I avoid. A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Malkiel and other books by Swensen and Tobias present more compelling cases for the same philosophy.
Feb 09, 2016 Jon rated it liked it
While Ellis' book is a classic and it indeed walks you though why trying to stockpick is a loser's game other books such as Ferri's or Bernstein's are more suited if you want actionable advice on how to invest.

There is alot of IPS, investment policy statement recommendations in the book. For some, this may be a tad boring.
Mark Thomas
Apr 26, 2015 Mark Thomas rated it really liked it
Excellent book about investing. Very accessible to those who may not be monetary experts. Clear cut, concise and easy to follow instruction on how to invest in ways that minimize risk, keep expenses lower and to yield returns that can meet the individual investors needs.

Recommended to me by a friend. A good suggestion...that I'll pass along to you.
Nov 05, 2013 Loren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great "case for indexing" book. In addition, Ellis gives some sound advice investing advice. For me, personally, it was a good reaffirmation of everything that I believe/know about investing. In fact, if anything, it helped me expand my perspective and time horizon even further. I'll probably re-read it when times get tough.
B Kevin
Apr 25, 2015 B Kevin rated it it was ok
Shelves: financial
A recommended read for beginning investors. If you have been studying the markets for any time, there is nothing new here: 1) You can't beat the market, even most professionals don't; Usine indexing; Keep expenses low; Don't try to time the market;
Apr 30, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it
Makes a compelling argument for ditching expensive, fee-based, ineffectual actively-managed investments for low-cost market index-based mutual funds over a long-term investment horizon (20+ years.) Maybe a bit too "financial-ese" for some, but worth getting your head around.
Bought this book as it came up in a search in relation to UK tax (I know...zzzzzzzz), but unfortunately the tax information in here was quite light but the content in relation to investing, creating and managing a diversified portfolio is really good.
monica sinclair taylor
Every investor should read this book

Straight forward sound advice on investing for the long term. Charles Ellis illustrates his investment principals that apply to every investor in this book.
Ryotaro Nagasawa
As reviewed "A must re-read", I just skimmed through for the first time. Concisely written and the message is crystal clear. A must-have and must-read as highly praised when it comes to investing, along with Intelligent Investor by Ben Grisham, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, etc.
Pyoungsung Choi
별 2개와 3개 사이에서 고민했으나 결국 별로라고 생각해서 2개로 결정했다. 책 구성이나 내용이 나쁘지는 않았다. 하지만 효율적 시장가설에 기반한 도서들이 다 그렇듯 모든 인간이 합리적인 결정을 한다는 기본 가정부터가 틀린 채로 시작하니 거기서 이야기는 발전이 없다. 그냥 인덱스 펀드 가입해서 장기보유하라는 것이다. 그 외에도 기존 다른 인덱스펀드 예찬론자들의 책에서 본 내용에서 크게 이 책만의 차별성도 없었다. 마지막으로 지은이가 세계 최대의 인덱스펀드 운용사 뱅가드의 이사다. 뭘 더 이야기하겠는가?
Jan 14, 2015 C rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Generic but important advice found within this quick read. The main idea: skip active management and assemble your portfolio with index funds. If you are looking for specific asset class allocation advice, that is not found in this book.
Just because you have an IRA or 401K doesn't mean you're an investor. Regular investments in a balanced portfolio of global index funds is the only way to save for retirement. Anything else is entertainment or gambling.
Anita M.
Apr 27, 2015 Anita M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the most exciting investing book I've read, but it is packed with great advice and extremely well written.
Andy Plonka
Apr 24, 2016 Andy Plonka rated it really liked it
Shelves: src
Finance is not my game, but I did get the essence of the author's thoughts on investing money with which I have already complied. My money is in the hands of a trusted financial investor.
Jul 07, 2008 Rob rated it really liked it
Very good conceptual and non-technical book about long term investing strategies for the individual investor.
Julian Bu
Mar 08, 2014 Julian Bu rated it it was amazing
makes the case of passive investing with data, cogent rationales, and authority. a classic for both active and passive investors.
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Charles “Charley” D. Ellis (born 1937) is a leading American investment consultant. In 1972, Ellis founded Greenwich Associates, an international strategy consulting firm focused on financial institutions. Ellis is known for his philosophy of passive investing through index funds, as published in his book “Winning the Loser’s Game.”
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“After adjusting the comparison of index funds to actively managed funds for survivorship bias, taxes, and loads, the dominance of index funds reaches insurmountable proportions. Once” 1 likes
“An active manager must overcome the drag of about 3.25 percent in annual operating costs. If the fund manager is only to match the market’s historical 9 percent return, he or she must return 12.25 percent before all those costs. In other words, to do merely as well as the market, an active fund manager must be able to outperform the market return by over one-third or 34.1 percent!5” 1 likes
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