From Publishers Weekly
Despite its inflated title, this volume is a worthy jeremiad against corporate excess, especially the kind hastened by the mutual fund industry that Bogle, former CEO of low-cost Vanguard, knows well. Among the problems: inflated executive compensation and creative accounting that allows companies to claim profits even when they're in the red. Mutual fund companies, Bogle charges, care more about short-term results than long-term value, and many of them gain profits for larger parent corporations by charging investors unnecessary fees that undermine the funds' net returns. To remedy such problems, Bogle writes, mutual fund owners and their fiduciaries must exercise the corporate responsibility they now shirk, and fund boards must be reshaped to serve the interests of shareholders. He advances in all seriousness Warren Buffett's once-joking idea for a high tax on short-term trading gains and calls for a federal commission to examine the way pension funds are managed, as well as the state of our retirement systems in general. While other recent books, such as David Swensen's Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment
, marry similar criticisms with more advice for individual investors, Bogle—a rock-ribbed Republican businessman—still deserves attention in the precincts of power. (Oct.)
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"Bogle describes the continuous struggle for control of our capitalistic system, the odds being heavily in favor of the managers. Individual investors and beneficiaries remain helpless, intermediaries are passive or conflicted, and boards not yet effective. You owe it to yourself to read this book and reflect on his call for further federal intervention to restore some balance."-Ira Millstein, Senior Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP