From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
If you're familiar with The Vanguard Group's mutual funds and heard that Vanguard's "Jack" has a new book out, your first thought was probably of John Bogle, founder of the fund family who's also an author and champion of the individual investor. But since Bogle's retirement, another Jack has taken over the helm and written a book of his own. Jack Brennan teamed up with Marta McCave, a senior financial writer at Vanguard, to write Straight Talk on Investing, an investing primer that reflects the firm's emphasis on simplicity and efficiency.
Straight Talk offers three steps beginning investors should take when starting out, the most important of which is living below one's means. Brennan bolsters this point and others with lively anecdotes and imbues the book with a highly personalized tone. He frequently addresses his readers directly while sharing the wisdom he's attained in his 21-year tenure at Vanguard and the mistakes he's made in his own portfolio. These stories add a warm yet authoritative touch to Brennan's commonsense advice and make Straight Talk as enjoyabl e as it is educational.
As you might expect, Straight Talk is a fantastic resource if you'd like to learn more about mutual funds. Somewhat predictably, Brennan recommends that investors concentrate their "serious" investment dollars in mutual funds rather than individual stocks. His major reasons center on diversification, which he believes can be too difficult or costly for investors to achieve with individual stocks. He admits that professional fund managers have difficulty beating broad market indexes over time but still thinks professionals hold an advantage over individual investors, who might let their emotions interfere with important investment decisions.
To Brennan's credit, the sections on mutual fund investing don't read like advertising for Vanguard funds. He shares insights into the fund industry and gives investors valuable information to use when studying funds. He stresses the importance of balance and diversification in constructing a portfolio and of understanding the role risk plays in investment choices and results. Asset allocation and four tips for surviving a bear market are other featured topics.
Brennan treats his subject with great seriousness without taking himself too seriously. The glossary isn't called a glossary, but rather "Some Investing Jargon." His recommended reading leans toward books examining the social phenomena surrounding investing than to sober tomes filled with theory. This lighthearted attitude is the spoonful of sugar that makes his investment education completely palatable.
Straight Talk is just what the title suggests: a book filled with basic investment advice and solid strategies for creating a profitable portfolio. Brennan presents a reasonable approach that allows investors to filter out market distractions while investing. (Better Investing, February 2003)
"...Brennan's book...which succeeds as an excellent guide for beginners." (Business Week, February 10, 2003)--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.