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Although I feel a bit as though this book states the obvious and does so repetitively, I still rank it as above average. That's because I think a little sobriety and common sense can go a long way in today's investment world, and this book has a lot of potential to be helpful to investors just starting out or who still have a long timeline before retirement. The title suggests that the author is going to give readers a guide for how to "beat" the market, but indeed, that is the anti-thesis of this book. In fact, the author admits that investing is a loser's game and there is no way to beat the market. His strategy is simply, you can't beat `em, so you should join `em. And how should you do that? With index funds. The plain white toast of the investment world is this book's simple strategy for winning the loser's game, and the author trots out lots of heavyweight facts and figures in chapter after chapter, with the bottom line of: you could have done this, and it might have made you rich, or it might not have, but if you had indexed, you'd be doing okay.

Nothing new, nothing exciting, but easy enough to implement and compelling enough to want to. In the world of investing, the new offense may well be a sound defense, and this book will certainly convince most intelligent investors of that fact. I've been indexing for years and I know I'm better off than most investors in my age group. At the very least, I haven't stayed up at night regretting or fretting about investment decisions, and I don't worry (yet) about running out of money, so I can't argue with the author's premise. This book is well written, well organized, well thought out, and I'll say it again, compelling. Some readers may balk at a whole book about an idea as simple as "buy index funds", but maybe that's what it takes to convince you. And while it's true that you can't lose the game if you don't play, you can't win either, and in the end, it's better to have a safe if somewhat slow strategy than no strategy at all.

I recommend this book to anyone who invests in their future. It can't hurt you as an investor, and it might help make you a better (if slightly stodgy) one.

Note: The publisher provided me with a gratis copy of the book for purposes of this review.
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on September 6, 2013
Mr. Ellis' credentials were what brought me to buying this book. But his logic and math were what convinced me about indexing. There have been many articles in the WSJ and Fortune recently about big money managers saying indexing is the best way to invest in the market. After reading this book, i understand why. I changed all my accounts to low cost index funds when i was done and won't look at them again for years.
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on January 13, 2014
This book is easy to read and understand and contains excellent, basic investment guidance. I suggest that people in their 20's and 30's should read and implement the investing practices contained in this book.
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on January 19, 2015
This book could be reduced to a pamphlet entitled you're all wrong if you invest in anything but index funds. This is the message repeated in almost ever chapter over and over again. Now here is what I found so unbelievable reading this book. Mr. Ellis served on the board of Vanguard so he should know that although Vanguard is indeed a provider of an excellent stable of extremely low cost index funds Vanguard also has several of the best low cost actively managed mutual funds which have beaten their corresponding indexes over the past 30 years. Don't take my word for it check out the performance of any of the funds managed for Vanguard by the Primecap Management team. Primecap (VPMCX), Primecap Core (VPCCX), or Capital Opportunity (VHCOX) or Health Care (XGHCX). William Bernstein's "The Four Pillars of Investing or Larry Swedroe's " The only guide You'll Ever Need for the RIGHT FINANCIAL PLAN" are both superior books covering this same topic. Save your money and buy one of these books instead
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on May 14, 2015
The contents of this book could have been summed up in one page, or perhaps even one sentence: invest in a weighted portfolio of index funds. Ok, we get it. And we get that Ellis is on the board of Vanguard, so he stands to personally benefit financially a great deal from that advice.

But do we have to endure his endless humble-bragging? His intonations of Choate, Greenwich, ad nauseum? And he did not merely graduate from HBS in 1956- no, he graduated from "THE Harvard Business School." Maybe he needed to clarify because there are two of them- I don't know.

But for a true vomit-inducing round of humble bragging, look no further than the Preface: "A large English oak table dominating the inside left corner of the Morning Room on the ground floor of Boodles, the oldest of the social clubs established more than a century ago in or near St. Jame's in London, is one of the places in which parts of this book were written. Other locations include hotels rooms in- and airplanes flying between- Johannesburg, San Francisco, Chicago, Nairobi, Princeton, Bermuda, Vail, Boston, New York City, and Atlanta; and of course, at home in Greenwich."

Gag.

For extolling the benefits of indexing for the common man, he's hardly a "champion of the people" if you ask me.
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on December 23, 2015
This is the first electronic edition I have purchased, I have lost 3 others by lending them out :) Maybe this one will last. It really is all that you need to be a good investor - not a "looser". I know of one active manager (Hello AJO...) who would give this book to their clients. I think others might be afraid to !
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on March 30, 2015
This book provides a lot of the same background information found in David Swensen's Unconventional Success, but provides a slightly different perspective on the information. I recommend reading both books before making any decisions on the future of your portfolio.
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on May 31, 2016
I was already 100% convinced that it was a losers game, and this book covers the losers game very well. However, I read this to better understand the "Winning" part of the game and unfortunately other than "invest in index funds" (I already knew that) there was no good advice on how to invest correctly.

For example some sound strategies for choosing asset allocation mixes would have been fantastic.
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on November 1, 2014
I had been put off by the title, but after reading the book, I now understand and applaud. This is an excellent book for the average saver, like me, but please regard that it has a distinct orientation toward index funds.
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on January 14, 2016
I found this book to be quite underwhelming. Like most advice-type books, it is filled with clichés and antidotes, but the very premise of the book is spelled out in the Introduction, and reading the book adds very little, unless you are completely brand new to the Markets. The bottom line is, actively- managed investments are a rip off, and the only real way to beat the Market in the long term, is to buy Index Funds with low expense rates. Period. I could have gleaned as much by doing a five minute Google search. Mr. Ellis, like all so-called experts, have been undone by the fact that anything you wish to know can be Googled in short order, and concise and too-the-point answers can be found without all the babbling that is required to produce a book. And I also could have saved the $15.99 this book cost me to sit on a shelf. : )
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