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The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio Hardcover – July 8, 2010
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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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What sets this book apart from other investing books is the breadth of areas covered, and also the writing style which is both "understandable and entertaining". A highly recommended read for any investor regardless of level.
Below are key excerpts from the book, that I found particularly insightful:
1) "The highest returns are obtained by shouldering prudent risk when things look the bleakest."
2) "Most small investors naturally assume that good companies are good stocks, when the opposite is usually true."
3) "Sine you cannot successfully time the market or select individual stocks, asset allocation should be the major focus of your investment strategy. because it is the only factor affecting your investment risk and return that you can control."
4) "Bubbles occur whenever investors begin buying stocks simply because they have been going up."
5) "Buying assets that everyone else has been running from takes more fortitude than most investors can manage. But if you are equal to the task, you will be rewarded."
6) "There are really two behavioral errors operating in the overconfidence playground. The first is the "compartmentalization" of success and failure. We tend to remember those activities, or areas of our portfolios, in which we succeeded an forget about those areas where we didn't...The second is that its far more agreeable to ascribe success to skill than to luck."
7) "By indexing, you are tapping into the most powerful intelligence in the world of finance - the collective wisdom of the market itself."
8) "Rebalancing forces you to be a contrarian - someone who does the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Financial contrarians tend to be wealthier than folks who like to simply follow the crowd."
9) "Risk and return are inextricably enmeshed. Do not expect high returns without frightening risks, and if you desire safety, you must accept low returns."
10) "This book should be seen as a framework to which you'll be continuously adding knowledge."
11) "The overarching message of this book is at once powerful and simple: With relatively little effort, you can design and assemble an investment portfolio that, because of its wide diversification and minimal expense, will prove superior to most professionally managed accounts."