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The House that Bogle Built: How John Bogle and Vanguard Reinvented the Mutual Fund Industry Hardcover – April 18, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (April 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071749063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071749060
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #967,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lewis Braham is a journalist whose work has appeared in a number of business publications, including BusinessWeek, SmartMoney, and Bloomberg Markets.


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
I mean, this is a REALLY GOOD BOOK.
Daniel P. Smith
The author, Lewis Braham, does a wonderful job of showing us how John Bogle and Vanguard reinvented the mutual fund industry.
Frank R. Cirullo
It was both informative and entertaining.
An Educated Investor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Daniel P. Smith on May 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is about Bogle, about Vanguard, and about investing. It succeeds at all levels. "Almost everyone who knows Bogle thinks he works too hard," Braham says. When asked how he handled his work-life balance, Bogle replied "Badly." When a man is so intertwined with his work, you want a biography that intertwines them as well. This biography does. And it reads well.

I mean, this is a REALLY GOOD BOOK. As a long-time Vanguard investor I knew it would interest me, but I really wasn't expecting anything this good. I don't see how you could have more satisfying book about Vanguard, or about Bogle.

It's not a puff piece. Braham does not even pretend to be objective, you hear the author's voice throughout. Bogle and Vanguard are seen through the eyes of a thoughtful, informed, and definitely opinionated observer. Braham lets us know what he thinks, and he has interesting things to say about Bogle, about Vanguard, and about the "efficient market hypothesis."

If I had to pick one passage to convey the flavor of the book, it would be this (p. 187): "Bogle says he believes in market fundamentals, that ultimately the stock market's total returns will equal its dividend payouts plus earnings growth.... Unlike so many others, he actually does believe what he says.... Underlying all his bromides, such as 'Stay the course,' is a basic faith in capitalism's inexorable progress, that in the long run stocks will go up, and that if investors just squirrel away enough in their 401ks week after week, they will be rewarded, provided they don't let the croupiers of Wall Street rip them off. Such a philosophy is immensely comforting to middle-class investors who often see the value of their entire life savings bounce around like a yo-yo during one of the market's tougher weeks.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. Shaw on May 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
First, this book provides a thorough and fascinating biography of Jack Bogle, one of the most influential innovators in the American financial services industry. His difficult family circumstances during his childhood are reviewed, as are his increasing health problems over the years which led to a heart transplant in 1995. To battle and accomplish all that he had up to that time is remarkable and that story alone would be worth the price of the book. His activities since 1995 are even more impressive.
In addition, the book also describes the creation of the Vanguard Group and its early struggles to establish and promote the concepts and advantages of index investing. While many now understand the rationale for index funds and index investing, these concepts were dismissed by "financial advisors" just a few decades ago. Vanguard has grown dramatically over the past four decades and it has not been without its own internal conflicts. Jack Brennan, the CEO successor to Jack Bogle, declined to participate in the book so this chapter of Vanguard's corporate existence is not as thorough as one might like.
Overall, Lewis Braham has written an excellent book and I highly recommend it. The last few chapters also explore the causes of the recent "financial meltdown" and explain some very complex financial issues and concepts in readily understandable terms.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Baby Boomer in Training on May 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
`The House that Bogle Built' is a must read for anyone with even the slightest interest in Vanguard, the world's largest mutual fund company with 1.4 Trillion dollars under management, and the man who built it from scratch.

I've read several of John (Jack) Bogle's books and I have a pretty clear understanding of his investment philosophy. I've also had the pleasure of meeting him on two occasions, however until I read this book I had very little insight into the personal life of the man behind the iconic reputation.

Lewis Braham has done a wonderful job of getting through normally closed doors and filling the void between Jack Bogle's investment philosophy, and Jack Bogle the man. It's a fascinating story and there is more than enough material in the 291 pages of this book for HBO to create a multi season mini series if they felt so inclined.

Jack Bogle captained Vanguard (named after HMS Vanguard) on a course which gave both the small and large investor a fair shake in a world where making money almost always trumps fiscal responsibility. Jack built the only true "mutual," mutual fund company in existence, mutually owned by it's shareholders (its investors). In his own words: "Strategy follows structure" - meaning that Vanguard's mutualization leads to its behaving as a true fiduciary for its shareholders and seeking to manage funds at the lowest possible cost.

Bogle is a renaissance man. He shook up the mutual fund business by building Vanguard, and since leaving the corporate offices he continues to shake up the investment world by championing `fiduciary standards' in an industry where those words receive lip service at best. Corporate greed trumping fiduciary duty is the new normal in 2011. Vanguard is one of the very few mutual fund companies that can hold its head high when the word 'fiduciary' is spoken. We owe a lot to the visionary who founded it. Thank you Jack Bogle!

An excellent read, and I rate it 5+ stars.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Buchheit on May 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I expected a history but received so much more! The House that Bogle Built combines three components into a fascinating book; a biography of Jack Bogle, a history of the creation of Vanguard, and a description of the forces that drove the man and the creation of a great company. These three elements were woven into a compelling story. Lewis Braham includes each into a chronology for the reader to understand the role of the person, the company, and the environment. From this I gained an appreciation for each element individually and the aggregate.

But wait, there's more! There are periods in the timeline where it is important for the reader to understand a financial concept or to add some concurrent event. Rather than interrupt the main text, the supplementary information is added in separate shaded areas. In this way information and tutorials are added without distraction.

It is clear that this material was well researched. The investigation included interviews with participants in this great endeavor. This brings the story to life almost like a news interview. The content of the book is present, but without being a heavy burden to the reader. Instead we are guided on a journey, looking in different directions to gather the entire message. Congratulations to Lewis Braham for creating a work that is both informative and fascinating. This allowed me to gain greater understanding of Vanguard and an appreciation for Jack Bogle.
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