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on March 13, 1999
This is an excellent book for young readers and beginners in finance and investments. The first part of the book covers American Economic History. It then goes on to describe the effects of time value of money as well as the historical upward trend of the market. This is very encouraging for those who are skeptics of the stock market. But this book does not cover any valuation models and in lacks depth to its coverage of fundamental analysis. If you are looking to learn more about investing from scratch, here's a good start. But, make sure that this is not the only book you will read in investing.
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on April 3, 1999
This book is clearly geared towards young readers, not adults who are looking at investing seriously for the first time.
If your teenaged child is open to it, why not do precisely what this book suggests -- the two of you could join an investment club and learn about investing together. You could buy stock as custodian for your child each time the club meets. If you attend the meetings together it will rapidly teach your child the wisdom of saving and investing.
This book is marginally useful for adults. I bought 2 copies with the intention of giving one to my elder daughter and learning a bit about investing myself from the second. My 401K plan is doing so well I would like to start investing on my own.
There is too much history for adults looking to start investing. It ought to be replaced with more how-to advice -- such as how to read a balance sheet. There is an appendix chapter on this, but it could be greatly expanded.
The book could use updating on internet resources of use to investors. For example, I'd like to find software that will help me manage and track stock picks as I begin the training part which is so important to successful investing. Andrew Tobias' Managing Your Money used to have an excellent stock portfolio manager. I'd love to see something like this again which can automatically update portfolios with closing prices. I'm sure there is software out there -- but the book doesn't point out good software titles!
In short, this 5-year old book is a useful introduction geared for young readers. Adults already interested in investing can check it for useful advice. It badly needs updating to reflect investing now in the last year of the decade. Perhaps revisions could be posted to the web in addition to selling a revised print version.
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on November 26, 1999
This book was absolutely excellent. Not only was it very readable, it is also written in easy to understand investment terms. It should be required reading for all high-school students. Provides an excellent "kick in the pants" incentive for people to get into the great world of stocks and mutual funds. The first half of the book gives a fine history of how the stock market got started and the second half explains the hows and whys of investing. The best thing about this book is it makes you want to invest and that's always a good thing, particularly if you go into it for the long term.
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on January 25, 2006
In the beginning of the book, the authors remarked that high schools have forgotten to teach one of the most important courses of all: investing. History we teach, but not the roles that innovations and companies have played. If you missed this important course in your formative years, then this book is for you. The book is fun to read, and cheap to own.

The book has four chapters.

Chapter One reviews the history of capitalism. You will find how stocks got started in Europe centuries ago. You will also learn how, more than a hundred years ago, Europeans invested in the then emerging market: The United States. Their sorrows and joys perhaps will give you some perspective when you invest in today's emerging market in China. You will also read about bubbles in the history, not just the one before the Great Depression.

Chapter Two covers the basics of investing. The discussion here is mostly intended for people who can invest money for a long time. The basic points here are that you should start invest early, and that stocks are the best performer among various investment options.

Chapter Three outlines the life of a company. It helps the investor to begin to think like the owner of a company.

Chapter Four tells the stories of many companies.

There are two Appendices, one on stockpicking tools, the other on reading balance sheet.

The book was published in 1995. Much of the material is timeless. However, if the authors decide to write a new edition, they might want to add more materials about internet. For example, a beginner can use a web page like [...] to track the performance of stocks and portfolios that he or she has picked, without investing any real money. Also, internet has significantly changed the procedure for the individual investor to move money around.
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on November 21, 2001
My friend lent me this book and I'm so glad he did. I'm a beginner in investing and didn't have a clue about stocks or investing. This book was very concise and clearly written for a beginner investor. I've tried to read other books and either got bored or confused and stopped reading. This one I couldn't put easy to read! I learned A LOT! The chapter on the history of capitalism was also interesting and helpful -- even for someone with a bachelor's in economics. I plan to buy my own copy! Most importantly, it taught me the importance of NOT spending money and investing in it instead!!! AFter reading the book, I stopped wasting money! I plan to read more of Peter Lynch's books!
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on July 13, 2000
But that doesn't mean that it should be ignored. If you don't have much investment experience, this is probably the book you should start with. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a chapter on the raw data manipulation that need to be performed to determine if a company is a buy.
Lynch gives a very good history of the stock market in Learn to Earn, but with that title I must say that the history was misplaced. This book gives a lot of great pointers, like getting involved in companies you know, and also the section on DRIPS was interesting.
It was entirely appropriate for Lynch to include some raw basics in the book, such as how to start accumulating money to buy your companies. And the fact that he pointed out that the stock market is not a place for people who can't stomach daily fluctuations in portfolio value.
For beginners this book is great. For anyone with a little experience this book is worth reading just for background and reassurance that the market has some semblance of order to it. However, for anyone who is an experienced investor or who knows how to evaluate equity, then this book could be tedious and unnecessary.
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on November 19, 2000
This is a great beginner's guide to investing. The book begins with a History of Capitalism which is extremely interesting -- even to those who fell asleep in history class. The history of our country's economy puts investing into context. The book is conversational and easy to read. Very fluid. Buy one for every high school or college senior for graduation!
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on March 15, 2000
I thought the book was excellent. I appreciated the historical perspective on the financial history of our country. Additionally, my brother who has gotten me interested in investing, and who is also a new investor, is making a lot of the mistakes mentioned in the book. I have tried to convince him to read this book but alas, he won't listen.
My approach to any new venture is to get as much information as I can. I think this book is an excellent starting point.
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on March 23, 1999
Unfortunately we'll have to read through passages where Lynch and Rothchild act like the readers are the 15 year-olds that they originally wrote the book for! There is information in this book that even seasoned investors do not know. Unfortunately it isn't all investment info! Lots of history here, which we really should have been taught when we were entering high school! I would recommend Learn to Earn to anyone. They will learn a lot. If you need to learn how to pick stocks based on earnings, try another book after you are done with this one! By the way, I read where Lynch donates all profits from this book to charity!
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on December 26, 2005
This is not the only book you will ever need if you are thinking about forming a financial plan for your future. You will not put down this book and immediatly become an expert in picking stocks. (In fact, you would be a fool to make serious financial decisions based on reading just one book.) You will, however, have gathered some ideas that will prepare you for further reading at a more advanced level. If you know that you ought to be informed about the subject of investing, but haven't been sure where to start, this book will get you going. It is written at a reading level suitable for middle school or high school readers with a keen interest in the subject, but will not insult the intelligence of adult non-specialists.

The book has a very basic and easy to follow history of how modern markets evolved and operate. Market sophisticates may think they don't need to read this part of the book, and those who do not approve of the capitalist system will not care for the author's cheery optimism about the benefits of market economies. However, if you should decide not to skip over this part, you may find it entertaining and informative. If you have ever asked yourself what does inflation really mean, and how did it come into being, you can find some help here. In fact, I came out of some university-level economics classes more confused than I went in, but found that this little book cleared up much of the mystery by using plain everyday language.

I would recommend this book as a good starting point for adults or young people who are ready to start learning about the basics of saving and investing. It will introduce the reader to some basic and practical information about how stock markets operate, and how investors can improve their econonic opportunities by managing their personal finances in a sensible way, and planning for the long run not for immediate profits.
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