Invoking the words and spirit of Thomas Paine, investor-turned-historian John Bogle concedes that his ideas for revamping the mutual-fund industry are perhaps "not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor." But despite likening the "ills and injustices suffered by mutual fund investors" to those "our forebears suffered under English tyranny," Bogle--founder of the Vanguard Group--makes a strong case for index funds with this exhaustive study of investing.
He begins with primer-like essays on investment strategy, championing mutual funds for their inherent investment value, and then grinding each point home with a bevy of graphs, charts, entertaining anecdotes, and common sense. He repeatedly stresses time as a basic tenet for investing, listing these simple rules: "Time is your friend"; "Impulse is your enemy"; "Stay the course." And then he proceeds to blast fund managers, who have become marketers rather than managers.
The trade-off between the profits that accrue to fund shareholders and the profits that accrue to the fund management companies seems subject to no effective independent watchdog or balance wheel, despite the fact that the shareholders actually own the mutual funds.
It's an interesting concept: smart, reasoned investors can all but secure their financial future, but the system itself, run unchecked by fund managers, needs a major overhaul. And considering the amount of reasoned, historically based support he includes, readers will have a hard time finding fault with the sometimes controversial Bogle. Equal parts instructional and crusade, Common Sense on Mutual Funds
deserves the attention it's likely to receive. Recommended. --Rob McDonald
From Publishers Weekly
Not that many years ago, an average bookstore might have had two or three books on mutual funds filed away in the business section. Today, as the number of Americans who invest in mutual funds continues to grow, such books take up several aisles in a section of their own. There are guides for data junkies and mathphobes, books that tell how to make a killing and books that tell how to avoid the coming disaster. A few classics stand above the clutter. Bogle on Mutual Funds is one of them. Now the same author has added another. While the first book aimed at educating beginners, the new one seeks to persuade experienced investors to discard received wisdom that isn't so wise after all. While no 450-page work on mutual funds with lots of charts can be considered fun summer reading, the book is always informative and the writing never worse than painless and sometimes quite lively. Bogle speaks with a rare authority. On one hand, he is the founder of Vanguard mutual funds, the second-largest mutual fund company in the world. So he knows the business from the ground up. On the other hand, Vanguard has always been famous for running the lowest-cost mutual funds, funds that eschew loads, engage in sensible strategies and return all profit to the investors. So Bogle is also a leading consumer advocate. That rare combination, mixed with years of serious research and a dash of style, makes Bogle an unparalleled guide to the world of mutual funds. Money Book Club alternate.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.