If anyone told you that investing in the stock market was the safest investment you could make, you might raise an eyebrow. However, if Jeremy Siegel tells you this, prepare to be convinced. Siegel's book, Stocks for the Long Run
, is a comprehensive and highly readable history of the stock market that dramatically makes the case for long-term investing in stocks.
In summing up his approach to investing, Siegel writes, "Poor investment strategy, whether it is for lack of diversification, pursuing hot stocks, or attempting to time the market, often stems from the investor's belief that it is necessary to beat the market to do well in the market. Nothing is further from the truth. The principle of this book is that through time the after-inflation returns on a well-diversified portfolio of common stocks have not only exceeded that of fixed income assets but have actually done so with less risk. Which stocks you own is secondary to whether you own stocks, especially if you maintain a balanced portfolio."
Stocks for the Long Run considers subjects as diverse as the history of the various market indices and what makes for a business cycle to contrarian indicators and the utility of 200-day moving averages. If you've just come into investing in the last few years and feel the need for a solid and comprehensive text about the market, Stocks for the Long Run is probably the best primer available. It also works as an excellent reference for seasoned investors and anyone else interested in how the market works. --Harry C. Edwards
Given the daily and sometimes extreme fluctuations in the stock market, it takes an investor with both nerve and patience to build and maintain a long-term portfolio. But Siegel, a Wharton School professor of finance who directs the Securities Industry Association Institute, argues that, historically, stocks are safer and more productive, over the long run, than most other forms of investment. He explains how to calculate stock returns and examines some of the more technical aspects of analyzing stocks. Siegel also discusses the relationships between the economy, politics, and the stock market, offers basic trading rules, and lays out guidelines for building a portfolio. Though he covers some of the more sophisticated aspects of investing, Siegel targets a general but informed investing public. David Rouse
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