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Pays for itself with the first chapter,
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This review is from: The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need (Paperback)I decided to pick up this little gem of a book after reading John Train's The Craft of Investing for a third time. Mr. Tobias's book was cited in The Craft as recommended reading. Having enjoyed The Craft (and a few other books by Train), I took a lark and put this book on my reading list. After reading it twice, I can safely say that Mr. Tobias knows of what he speaks.
There are three principal demerits to the book. First, it seems that author went to Harvard (pronounced Hah-vuhd, for those in the know). Second, it appears that he studied business at Harvard. Third, it also appears that he graduated from Harvard. Ad hominem attacks aside (with regard to his studies at the Harvard Business School, Mr. Tobias engages in a fair bit of witty self-deprecation in the Preface of this fine little book), there's really nothing wrong per se with the book.
I am of the opinion that the book pays for itself with the first chapter. The key to investment success is the perspective one brings to bear on the activity. Other, more erudite folks have written on the difference between investment and speculation, formulating an investment policy, and investment strategy, but here, in this book, you have a very funny guy, writing in a down-to-earth fashion, telling you that it's not about choosing which game to play or how best to play the game- it's really about deciding whether or not you should be playing any of the games at all. That, in a nutshell is the heart of the book.
Of course, there is the usual investment advice and standard fare that any introductory investment text would include (which doesn't apply to me so I won't elaborate on it). This is the book that I would give to someone who knows absolutely nothing about investment, and that is in need of a sound and safe perspective to guide him or her.
I did find one little problem in the book, having to do with his example dealing with buying wine in bulk as opposed to buying it by the bottle. His calculation of the annual interest rate (APR) achieved by buying in bulk is almost correct (the actual interest rate works out to be about 3.6% per week; he implied an interest rate of 3.4% per week or an APR of 177% per year); he simply erred on the timing of the cash flows, given the way he posed the problem. That minor error aside, the example, as well as the greater text, serves as a wonderful reminder that the safest investment moves are usually the ones closest to the budding investor.