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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the best "Interviews with Money Managers" book, June 11, 2003
This review is from: Investment Gurus: A Road Map to Wealth from the World's Best Money Managers (New York Institute of Finance) (Mass Market Paperback)
Tanous's effort is far superior to the other collections of interviews with money managers. Most books of this sub-genre fall into two categories, depending on the author. The first type of author is usually a journalist who knows little about the disciplines of stock picking and running investment funds, and you are usually hard pressed to find any new insight in their books, because they don't know how to ask their subjects the really insightful questions. The second type, which I'll call the John Train style, has a sophisticated investor/fund consultant doing the interviews, and can often produce real insight from the interviewees. The problem with many of these books, and Train's in particular, is that the author is often not trying to interview the successful money managers. Instead, authors like Train are often trying to play gotcha! with their interviewees, subjecting them to asinine questions and frequently diverging from the topics that made you buy their book in the first place. The Money Masters by Train is so full of political tangents and Train's forcing his opinion on the likes of Peter Lynch and Warren Buffett that I've wanted to scream at him at some points.
In contrast, Tanous knows how to ask questions that are of interest to professional and serious amateur investors, and he knows how to stay on topic. He does ask every interviewee about the efficient market hypothesis, but that's a theme of his book and can be excused. What you get from Tanous is an interviewer who knows how to ask really penetrating, really revealing questions of the world's best money managers, and the humility to realize that his readers don't want to know what he, Tanous, thinks, but what his interviewees think! What's more, he managed to get interviews with at least two money managers--Bruce Sherman of Private Capital Management and Scott Sterling Johnston of Sterling Johnston Asset Management--that have excellent track records but who speak very, very rarely to the press. There is real value to Tanous's book, and I'm a better investor for having read it. Serious investors should still read Train's books for their revealing interviews with Buffett, Templeton, Lynch and others, but in Tanous's book, you have all the strengths of the Train books without any of the that author's obvious, glaring shortcomings as a writer and interviewer.
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Location: Los Angeles, CA USA

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