The best part about this book is the story that inspired the title. At a party, Kurt Vonnegut tells Joseph Heller that their host (a hedge fund manageThe best part about this book is the story that inspired the title. At a party, Kurt Vonnegut tells Joseph Heller that their host (a hedge fund manager) had made more money in a day than Heller made from his book, Catch-22. Heller says, "Yes, but I have something he will never have . . . enough." That interaction is a little revelation in itself. But it's also a fabulous premise for a book. Just not this book. I expected the book to be for a general audience and to go into more depth about what constitutes enough. Instead, I suppose not surprisingly, Mr. Bogle's intended audience seems to have been fellow financial marketeers.
As a consequence, much of the lingo goes right over the head of a simple investor. I actually found the book kind of terrifying. You see, I understood enough of it to realize that I've been had as an investor. And not just because the market tanked. It's the "why" it tanked that turns my hair white. Wall Street seems more foreign than ever after reading this book. That is due, in part, to Mr. Bogle's very effective description of the moral turpitude and crass greed that motivates hedge fund managers and various other financial market types. The fact that Mr. Bogle finds it necessary to remind his Wall Street cohorts that investors and people they work with are human beings just like they are leaves me speechless. Don't get me wrong, he shares good advice for the apparently otherwise immoral majority who control our investments. But the advice is quite elementary in terms of ethics and humanity.
There were some quotes that are keepers. For example, from Goethe, "Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute; What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it." Of course, the tip of the hat is owed to Goethe. I thank Mr. Bogle for sharing it with me though.
If you work in the financial market and feel you need to be reminded that investors are fellow human beings, then, for Pete's sake, read this book. If, however, you are an average investor and you go to church on a regular basis, you may find the lessons in this book to be a little old hat, other than the lesson that investors should expect little more from the market than a continual sucker punch. ...more
If it's possible to be scared straight from using oil, this is the book that could do it. I found the whole trek from gas station to supplier to refinIf it's possible to be scared straight from using oil, this is the book that could do it. I found the whole trek from gas station to supplier to refinery to oil well to be fascinating. The chapter on the strategic petroleum reserve was especially an eye opener. The "travel" chapters about the oil producing countries, such as Venezuela, Nigeria, Chad, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, contain just enough information to make you want to ride a wind sail to the office each morning. Groan. I wish there was an obvious and easy way to get off oil. As it is, with every tank full, we create, school, and fuel many international enemies. ...more