To Peter Lynch, success in the stock market is pretty basic: if a company's earnings rise, then the stock price goes up. "This simple point--that the price of a stock is directly related to a company's earning power--is often overlooked, even by sophisticated investors," the former Fidelity Magellan manager writes in Learn to Earn, his third book on investing. "This is the starting point for the successful stock picker: find companies that grow their earnings over many years to come."
One of the best managers in the history of mutual funds, Lynch is certainly the person to help people choose the right stocks and understand the market. More so than One Up on Wall Street or Beating the Street, this Lynch book is for beginning investors of all ages. Lynch and coauthor John Rothchild are family men who are worried that teenagers aren't learning enough about the importance of American companies in improving lives and creating wealth. Lynch questions why students are taught that Hamlet was a tragic hero and Napoleon was a great general, but they don't know that Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart. In fact, Lynch's grasp of the past is one of the strengths of the book. One of the best chapters is "A Short History of Capitalism," a witty and homespun look at characters like Karl Marx, the Communist who believed capitalism was doomed, and the robber barons, the shrewd railroad magnates of the late 19th century who amassed huge fortunes by manipulating the markets.
Unlike the robber barons, beginning investors, Lynch says, should stick to the basics: get in the habit of saving and investing and putting aside a certain amount every month; develop a strong stomach because the stock market is going to fall and there's no way to anticipate it; do a little homework so you can understand the reasons to own a particular stock; and buy shares in solid companies and don't let go of them without a good reason.
This book marks Lynch's coming out as a fan of "direct investment programs," which are offered by many good companies. You purchase a couple of shares or so directly from the company and then you enroll in a plan and buy more shares each month, in some cases without paying a penny in fees and always without a broker--the way Lynch likes it. Lynch loves these plans because they're a great vehicle for investing a little bit at a time over a long period. Grab onto a company and learn about it, Lynch writes. The more you learn, the more you'll earn. --Dan Ring
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
"Public companies are everywhere, and they surround you from morning to night. . . . Nearly everything you eat, wear, read, listen to, ride in, lie on, or gargle with is made by one. Perfume to penknives, hot tubs to hot dogs, nuts to nail polish are made by businesses that you can own." —from the Introduction.
McDonald's, The Gap, Circuit City, Gillette, CBS, and thousands more . . . anybody can own part of big and small companies. As companies grow and prosper, you can too. Whenever burgers are eaten, sweaters are purchased, batteries are used, and faces are shaved, you've got a piece of the action. From Alexander Hamilton to Warren Buffett, people have been making big money by investing in the corporations and institutions around them.
Mutual-fund superstar Peter Lynch and author John Rothchild explain what's not normally taught in high school —how the stock market helps you and how it helps the country. By understanding how and why the stock market works when you buy a share of a company or purchase a mutual fund, you can make informed —and profitable —decisions. Whether you're saving for college, a house, a trip, or retirement, there is no better method to secure a sound financial future than to invest. Young or old, there is no better time to start investing than now.
"Investing is fun. It's interesting.
It can put you on the road to prosperity for the rest of your life. . . ."
Learn to Earn gives you the expert guidance you need to make the right start. Lynch and Rothchild cover the gamut on investment fundamentals and principles, from choosing stocks, to picking a broker, to reading an annual report. Learn to Earn reveals how to decipher the stock pages and how to evaluate the pros and cons of the five basic investment vehicles —savings accounts, collectibles, houses or apartments, stocks, and bonds. Yet, there is much more to investing than just the principles, and there is much more to Learn to Earn than just the fundamentals. Opportunity comes in many forms, from many sources, with many histories. Brimming with stories and parables, Lynch and Rothchild also explain:
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- Why the world as we know it would collapse without investors . . .
- How capitalism, from the time of the American Revolution on, has shaped the past, and how that affects us today . . .
- How Coke, Campbell's Soup, Ben & Jerry's, Microsoft, and other big companies got started, who gets rich from them, and how they got that way . . .
- How to know the real story behind the price of a stock