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The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  8,969 ratings  ·  789 reviews
"There are a few investment managers, of course, who are very good - though in the short run, it's difficult to determine whether a great record is due to luck or talent. Most advisors, however, are far better at generating high fees than they are at generating high returns. In truth, their core competence is salesmanship. Rather than listen to their siren songs, investors ...more
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by John Wiley & Sons (first published January 1st 2007)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: investing
What did I think? I'll get back to you in about 30 years.
Chad Warner
Dec 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finance, non-fiction
After hearing so many references to John Bogle and his followers, the Bogleheads, I decided I had to read this book. The author, John Bogle, invented the index fund and founded Vanguard.

I really liked this book; it's one of the better investing books I've read. It contains just the right amount of empirical evidence in the form of statistics, graphs, and charts to be convincing, but not eye-glazingly boring. To back up his assertions, he points to "the relentless rules of humble arithmetic." Bog
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
While it was indeed a little book, it was much longer than it needed to be. The whole book can be summed up in one sentence: Buy and hold a low cost index fund. You're welcome, you've essentially just read the book.
Eric Franklin
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: money
Bogle deserves a million stars for starting Vanguard and bringing us the concept of low-cost index funds. I'll even go one better and agree with the fundamental premise of this book, that almost everyone should have broad-based indexing as the foundation of their investment plans.

This book is essentially a dismantling of vast swaths of the financial industry, especially the mutual fund. Step by step, and through the relentless application of real-world performance numbers and statistics, Bogle s
Jason Pettus
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm posting the last of my 2017 reads here this month without reviews, so that they'll count towards this year's Goodreads Reading Challenge. Full review coming in early 2018.
Oct 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
In all my ventures into the books on stock market, I had never come across a book as useless as this one. The author keeps telling you that from the first page to the last that you should follow his advise on chucking mutual stocks and become passive nobody that only invests on index funds and sits for the next 10 years to earn an average profit. To support his statement (while claiming that he invented the index funds) he uses arguments such as tax, agent fees, half quotes from famous people, s ...more
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pretty much everyone.
Recommended to Brian by: john bogle on frontline
Shelves: on-kindle
(4.0) Big long sell on low-expense ratio broad index funds. Logic makes sense and if I weren't already a convert, would definitely take seriously. It's so interesting that so many investors do not.

- things that cost investors in actively managed mutual funds:
— expense ratio
— turnover (fees cut into profits and cap gains lead to premature taxation)
— higher taxes
— [something about consuming nearly all dividend gains?]
— transaction/load/redemption fees
— investor emotion: buying funds when market up
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: waiting
This book is based on The Intelligent Investor, John C. Bogle did a good job explaining investment options with pros and cons. This would be a great book to start since this book was written for normal people, not financial specialists. This comes with a cost of nothing extraordinary if you are looking for something more than basic information about stocks and bonds you should pick another book.
Diego Leal
Apr 03, 2017 rated it liked it
One sentence summary: Invest in index funds.
Marta Sarrico
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Simple analysis showing why investing in low-cost index funds should be the main approach to follow as an investor. A littler bit repetitive in the first chapters but some very interesting points towards the end about ETFs and (brief) asset allocation. Definitely makes a convincing point, sharing a handful of opinions given by experts in the field that agree and (some) also adopt it in their own portfolios. Not an extensive guide as it could have compared this passive strategy to invest in the m ...more
Jyotishka Misra
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it
The book reiterated the same point from start to finish. What could have been a much smaller book, was stretched to the very limits. While there were a scant number of ideas presented, with the entire focus pretty much being on ETFs, there was well presented data to explain why the solitary conclusion had been drawn for a range of scenarios.
Joseph Wengerd
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan." Stick to the good plan.

Index funds are those good plans that will save you from failing in the dreams of a perfect plan.
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
“The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.”

This should be the first investment book that everyone reads. I think it paints a pretty good picture of how an individual should be investing - all the while re-iterating that his way is not the only way. I really enjoyed Bogle's writing style. Whatever he presented were backed by just enough facts so as to not get boring.

Start early, create a good plan and stay the course!
David Chou
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I get it. Invest in index funds that are low cost, broadly diverse, and hold hold hold.

Great idea, but much of the book is spent smacking you over the head with the idea.
Wilde Sky
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
This book provides a basic guide to investing for the long term.

Some of the points made, such as have diverse investments, that past performance can be misleading and minimise costs, were interesting, but overall this book was a bit simplistic and it was very repetitive.
David Readmont-Walker
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You know it makes sense.
Worth mentioning that index funds generally require a $3000 initial investment. As is often the case (buying a house, for example), you need to be in good shape (have $3000 to spare) to get in on the "good stuff."
Samarth Agnihotri
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Right books for intermediate and not for beginners. Deals with wide range of factors in investing. How emotions can lead to profit and loss. Importance of index funds and much more. How hiring a stockbroker is a bad decision.
Only downfall is repetition of same points over and over again.
Hunter Satterfield
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
John Bogle is a legend not only in the investment world, but also the personal finance world. He recently passed so many have lauded praise on him and it is all true. He changed the investment world more than perhaps any other person of the last 30 years. I have been wanting to read this book for many years and recently picked up a copy. Given his recent passing I thought it was a good time to read.

Let me start by saying that I do this (investing and personal finance) for a living. This review
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good book about traditional index fund investing. Over audiobook, it is a bit hard because there are many percentage returns listed that are hard to keep track of without looking at it.
Oct 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: biz
This is the 2nd time I read this book.

The author promoted some common sense behind indexing,

1. Market return is composed of investment return and speculative return; and over long term, speculative return can be ignored.
2. Indexing is better because of diversification and cost.
3. Simple is beautiful.

However, he also presented some biased opinions, intentionally or not.

In chapter 5, he said that (non-index) fund return and investor return are different because one is time-weighted and dollar-wei
Apr 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
I rate this book highly because it is a quick read and convincingly outlines some very important foundations of stock investing. I took two key points away from the book:

1. Minimizing fees by utilizing low-cost index funds will almost certainly be more profitable over the long term than actively managed funds. Yearly fees on some of the cheapest index funds are around .1% - Actively managed funds usually range from .7% - 2%.

2. Tax minimization is one of the most important factors in investment s
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finance
Sad to say this was one of my first finance books, but happy to report that I picked up a good one. Bogle hammered in the idea of safe and steady investing through index funds and explained how over time, buying index funds that track the S&P 500 is the way to go. I appreciated the manner in which he explained how he started the first index fund at Vanguard, but didn't necessarily push his own product too much. Although my one complaint of the book was he repeated alot of the same concepts over ...more
Ryan Schmidt
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book can be summarized as:

Point 1: Index funds are better than ETFs, mutual funds, individual stocks, etc. Here are 7 chapters using statistical and historical data to prove it. Don't believe me? Here's a chapter cap from another source that agrees with me.

Point 2: Money managers have their own best interest in mind, and have fees. Avoid them and do your own managing. Here are 7 chapters using statistical and historical data to prove it. Don't believe me? Here's a chapter cap from another s
Nov 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I regret buying this book so much - I should have invested the $19.99 instead. The whole book can be summarized in one sentence: index ETFs are better than mutual funds because they track the whole (or a good chunk of the) market and have very low costs. There. The whole book.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
The Little Book of Common Sense Investing (2007) by John Bogle outlines how to pick the best mutual fund and why you should change funds often to capture the best returns. At least that’s what I learnt from it. Which would be impossible given the content.
Low cost index funds are the best investment. This is the lesson that is drilled into you by reading this book. Repeatedly. So much so that to give an appreciation of the lesson that will be every second sentence for the rest of this review. Low
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really don't know if this book is the non stopping ramble about a man's dream come true, a hammered down marketing strategy or the best counsel about investing that exists. Maybe a bit of everything, all mixed down and boiled onto one constant message: "Invest in low cost Index Funds".

The man, the legend John Bogle invented this kind of funds (as he repeats one and again during the whole book) and defends its benefits from different perspectives. Whereas I understand that for avid readers in s
Rodrigo Pimentel
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In a few years, I'll be finished with my degree and stepping foot into the job market. Having grown up in a family that is poor, we never even thought about the possibility of retirement, much less how to save for it. After reading about Bogle's recent passing (, I decided to pick up The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns.

Bogle primarily focuses on index funds, as well as how to change
Patrick S
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The perfect preface for the life of a new investor.

Bogle makes the most compelling argument against investing in actively managed mutual funds, to be weary of costs from commissions, management fees and taxes, and to bet instead on the entire U.S. stock market. How? By investing in a Tradition Index Fund (TIF) that tracks the S&P 500.

Inserting quick anecdotes, a vast array of cost analysis, and digging into the history of market returns vs. the returns of active management, The Little Book of Co
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's hard to acknowledge that the advice here has been personally tried and tested knowing that the result can only be assessed decades ahead. That said it made sense especially when other books of the same ilk speak positively of same. I however do find it somewhat of a conflict of interest since he is the founder of America's index fund. And as another commentator said... Feed you back in thirty years time😊
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Derek Hollister 2 12 Oct 28, 2017 02:05PM  

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John Clifton "Jack" Bogle (born May 8, 1929) is the founder and retired CEO of The Vanguard Group. He is known for his 1999 book Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor, which became a bestseller and is considered a classic.
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