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The Intelligent Asset Allocator: How to Build Your Portfolio to Maximize Returns and Minimize Risk Hardcover – October 13, 2000

ISBN-13: 063-9785323259 ISBN-10: 0071362363 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 206 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (October 13, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071362363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071362368
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A practicing neurologist in remote coastal Oregon, Bernstein comes to the problems of saving and investing not from a broker's perspective, but as someone who had to figure this out himself, from first principles up. (Business Week)

From the Back Cover

Time-Tested Techniques - Safe, Simple, and Proven Effective - for Building Your Own Investment Portfolio.

"As its title suggest, Bill Bernstein's fine book honors the sensible principles of Benjamin Graham in the Intelligent Investor Bernstein's concepts are sound, his writing crystal clear, and his exposition orderly. Any reader who takes the time and effort to understand his approach to the crucial subject of asset allocation will surely be rewarded with enhanced long-term returns."
- John C. Bogle, Founder and former Chief Executive Officer, The Vanguard Group President, Bogle Financial Markets Research Center Author, common Sense on Mutual Funds.

"Bernstein has become a guru to a peculiarly '90s group: well-educated, Internet-powered people intent on investing well - and with minimal 'help' from professional Wall Street."
- Robert Barker, Columnist, BusinessWeek.

"I go home and tell my wife sometimes, 'I wonder if [Bernstein] doesn't know more than me.' It's humbling."
- John Rekenthaler, Research Chief, Morningstar Inc.

William Bernstein is an unlikely financial hero. A practicing neurologist, he used his self-taught investment knowledge and research to build one of today's most respected investor's websites. Now, let his plain-spoken The Intelligent Asset Allocator show you how to use the time-honored techniques of asset allocation to build your own pathway to financial security - one that is easy-to-understand, easier-to-apply, and supported by 75 years of solid history and wealth-building results.

More About the Author

William Bernstein, Ph.D., M.D., is a retired neurologist in Oregon. Known for his website on asset allocation and portfolio theory Efficient Frontier, Dr. Bernstein is also a co-principal in the money management firm Efficient Frontier Advisors, has authored several best-selling books on finance and history, and is often quoted in the national financial media.

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Customer Reviews

One of the best books on investing I've ever read.
The author covers all aspects of building a long-term investment portfolio using asset allocation theory.
This was the most interesting part of the book for me.
Scott Snyder

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

212 of 214 people found the following review helpful By Scott Snyder on August 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I would have to agree with John Bogle's endorsement: "This is a great book!"
While Malkiel's Random Walk covers Modern Portfolio Theory, Bogle covers the virtues of index investing, and Graham, Lynch and Fisher cover individual stock selection, studies show that asset allocation alone is responsible for over 90% of a portfolio's performance in the long run. Yet asset allocation theory seems to me to be under-represented in the investment literature for non-professionals.
Bernstein's book goes a long way to correct this gap. He starts out almost too simply. Bernstein takes the reader step-by-step through a discussion of basic financial math and statistics (hitting variance and correlation coefficients in particular) as he builds the case and explanation behind asset diversification. He writes to an intelligent audience but does not assume a mathematical or financial background. I like that he encourages the reader to take a chapter at a time. He instructs the reader to finish the chapter, and then put the book down and get back to life. This adds to the methodical tone of the book: a step at a time.
In the final chapter "Odds and Ends" the author changes gears. Suddenly we are in the world of - well - odds and ends, the finer points of portfolio management. This was the most interesting part of the book for me. Here Bernstein reviews the case for index investing and - of special interest to me - value investing. What is the premium in returns for small vs. large caps, value vs. growth? Which MPT stat, P/E or P/B is the better predictor of future performance? Why is value averaging so important and yet so counter intuitive? This chapter alone was worth the price of the book.
Finally, Bernstein shares the wealth. The bibliography and recommending reading sections are terrific.
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306 of 322 people found the following review helpful By John Rekenthaler on October 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I'm quoted on the back cover of Bill's book.
In my quote, I admit that Bill's smarter than me. True enough--but that doesn't really indicate that the book is any good. After all, a whole lot of bright people in financial services have written books, most of which are hazardous to your wealth.
Bill's book is different because Bill's personality is different. First, he's honest. He wants to be correct, not to get his hands on your money. Second, he has no apparent ego. If he believes something and you convince him otherwise, then he will happily change his belief. The first trait is uncommon among smart people who work in financial services. The second is rarer still.
This book isn't especially difficult to read but its concepts are profound. If you understand it, you will know more about the fundamental principles of investing than 99.9% of all MBAs and Chartered Financial Analysts. Eventually, I suspect, you'll end up richer for your troubles, as well.
Caveats. This book isn't for stock traders or anyone else who believes that they can get rich quickly. In addition, it's not beach reading. Although Bill writes very clearly and well, the book does take on serious material, so it demands serious attention. If you don't like to think, you won't enjoy the book.
If you're still with me, buy the darn thing!
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96 of 99 people found the following review helpful By john a horstkamp on November 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a superb investment book. Bernstein first covers basic statistical topics and historical risk and return data for stocks, bonds and bills. He then presents a lucid discussion of portfolio theory and its applications for the small investor. The most important result of this theory is that the risk and return of a portfolio are very different from the risk and return of its constituent parts, so that adding a 'risky' asset to a portfolio can actually decrease the portfolio's overall volatility. This discussion requires only minimal mathematical background. Bernstein then takes on the controversial topic of market efficiency. He also describes stock valuation models, current valuation levels, growth and value investing, Fama and French's three factor model, the concept of the efficient frontier and numerous other important topics in finance. But the discussion throughout is very clear and understandable as well as practical. After making a compelling case for index investing with periodic rebalancing, Bernstein presents helpful Vanguard and DFA model portfolios. What the author has done is to take the most significant results from academic finance and translated them into English for the individual investor. He has done investors a great service.
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106 of 112 people found the following review helpful By R. Love on October 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Few investment books rarely deserve our time and attention but this is a "must read" for novice and experienced investors alike.
If you've read anything by Bogle, Malkiel, Swedroe or Graham, then you'll appreciate Berstein's book. And given the current market situation and volatility, your nerves will be calmed by what Berstein has to offer.
The arguments are cogent and the text is well-written which makes this book easy to read again and again. And best of all, you can act on his recommendations for how to get started on constructing and re-balancing a diversified portfolio.
What's the big message to grok then from reading this book? (Let me whisper this to you very quietly so as not to disturb the brokerage and fund managers). Stock picking and active fund management are not as effective (consistently) as simply buying and holding a diverse set of asset classes. Most of which can be assembled and maintained using low-cost index funds. (Bernstein also points out the importance of low transaction costs and fees on performance/returns).
You may have heard this before but Berstein has done the hard part and now explains in detail why this is the case if not the law of intelligent investing. Is this case, what you don't know about investment risk will hurt you.
But the bigger message is that market risk is real. Asset values go up and down. However, by applying intelligent asset allocation, your individual portfolio risk can be managed (even minimized) while at the same time achieving reasonable rates of investment return. In other words, owning and investing in a diversified set of assets is the single most important investment policy decision you will make. Period.
Imagine that.
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