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The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio Hardcover – July 8, 2010
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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From the Back Cover
Since its initial publication, The Four Pillars of Investing has become a staple for the independent-minded investor looking to make better-informed investment decisions. Written by noted financial expert and neurologist William Bernstein, this time-honored investing guide provides the knowledge and tools for achieving long-term profitability.
Bernstein bridges the four fundamental topics successful investors use to generate exceptional profits on a consistent basis:
- The Theory of Investing: “Do not expect high returns without risks.”
- The History of Investing: “About once every generation, the markets go barking mad. If you are unprepared, you are sure to fail.”
- The Psychology of Investing: “Identify the era’s conventional wisdom and assume that it is wrong. More often than not, it is.”
- The Business of Investing: “The stockbroker services his clients in the same way that Bonnie and Clyde serviced banks.”
From the essential soundness of classic portfolio theory through the inherent wisdom of investing in multiple asset classes, The Four Pillars of Investing provides a distinctive blend of market history, investing theory, and behavioral finance to help you become a successful, self-sufficient investor.
About the Author
William J. Bernstein, Ph.D., M.D., is a neurologist and the cofounder of the investment management firm Efficient Frontier Advisors. He is the author of three finance books―The Intelligent Asset Allocator, The Four Pillars of Investing, and The Investor’s Manifesto―and two volumes of economic history, The Birth of Plenty and A Splendid Exchange. Bernstein is currently working on a history book exploring the effects of access to technology on human relations and politics.
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Top customer reviews
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Do not waste your time or money on this poorly constructed, dated book.
The information in this book is generally not complicated, and there is little math involved. The content is easy to understand, even if you are a relative newcomer to investing. He does a nice job of explaining the value bias, which states great companies often don't make great stocks. He also spends a chapter on the Dividend Discount Model, which is a fairly accurate method of determining future returns. And he has a chart in the book which gives estimated returns for various asset classes for the next few decades (hint: diversify into small, value, REIT).
If you have read books by John Bogle or Larry Swedroe, you probably already know the main themes of this book. But if you have not, I would recommend this as a great way to learn about long-term investing.
My only criticism is that, in terms of winning converts to this unexciting but intelligent approach to investing, the same objective has already been achieved more concisely, entertainingly and convincingly by the original works of John Bogle (Bogle on Mutual Funds, for example), whose contributions are glowingly acknowledged here.
Bernstein, together with a number of financial writers including Larry Swedroe and John Bogle, have written passionately about the merits of disregarding most of the preachings of the financial media and marketers and instead urge readers to take a sensible, rather than emotional, approach to investing. In an easily readable style understandable by most anyone, The Four Pillars provides an outstanding overview of basic concepts of risk in projecting portfolio returns and in explaining why so many investors spend so much money for worthless investing advice and management.
The Four Pillars does a wonderful job of explaining the axiomatic principle that anticipated returns are related to the risk of an investment. I've found that Bernstein's greatest strength is that he is able to explain the mathematical and statistical underpinnings of investment theory in a way that most readers can understand. His writing is not overly technical and the book was a joy to read. Bernstein's discussion on the underlying reasons that actively managed mutual funds, stock picking and market timing only generate high costs and poor performance is excellent and quite convincing.
I thought the book did a particularly good job of describing the mental factors involved in a long term investing strategy. The book was written after the technology crash and the events of 9/11 and draws on these events to explain the type of mental anguish which investors must anticipate over the course of a long term plan. Unlike many investment writers who simply advocate investment in equities because they historically have done better over the long term, Bernstein takes pains to advocate a diversified portfolio tailored to the investor's level of risk tolerance so that an investor can stay the course through thick and thin.
For people who believe that they have a unique ability to actively trade their way to market beating returns - read this book and it will change your life.
Most recent customer reviews
I gave only 4 stars because Bernstein really likes to talk/write too much, he could have...Read more