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Winning the Loser's Game, Fifth Edition: Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing Hardcover – October 2, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Today's investors can be excused for feeling a bit like Sisyphus. We have been dutifully adding to our investments over the years and watching our portfolios grow nicely. But just as the outlines of a comfortable retirement begin looming on the horizon, the bottom of the market falls out, our portfolio values plummet, and, like Sisyphus, we are forced to start over. Unfortunately, we are a few years older and, unlike Sisyphus, we do not have eternity to make things right. Time appears to be running out.
Out of fear or disgust or both, many of us have bailed out of the stock market, locked in losses, and vowed never to return. We have placed our remaining funds in CDs, US Government securities, or short-term bonds. A recent Wall Street Journal article described a nascent trend to return to the soil - people buying farmland, determined to lead a rural lifestyle with the goal of becoming self-sufficient. No matter what happens in the capital markets, you always have your land and the ability to grow food on it. Well, before you throw in the towel and retreat to CDs or Green Acres, you owe it to yourself to read the new 5th edition of Charles Ellis' investment classic "Winning the Loser's Game." Understand why you have had a bad investment experience and what you may have done to make it worse. Retreating to conservative investments or the rural life will likely give rise to a different set of problems that could leave you facing more disappointment down the road.Read more ›
I've heard some of his advice in other books, but this one distills everything down to its core. One reviewer criticized the book for having one overall slant, that being "invest in index funds". That may be true to a point, but the important thing is to understand *why* index funds offer most investors the best place to invest. The author goes to extremes to explain this in multiple ways, to make sure you have it drilled into your head so you don't go off half-cocked chasing after some crazy investing scheme. For most people (who are largely irrational when it comes to investing), this is a welcome treatment of the topic.
The author also takes time to explain many fundamental investing terms and concepts, making this a good choice for those new to investing. I'm even considering buying a copy for my niece when she graduates from college, to start her out on the right foot with salient investing advice, before she gets sucked into questionable investing choices.
The bottom line is that if you want the facts laid out bare and shown to you in different ways until you finally "get it", then this book accomplishes just that. And even if you're a seasoned investing expert, you might do well to digest the author's advice, especially if you think you can beat the market year in and year out over the long haul. (And if you've indeed found a way to do this and can prove it, then give me a call and let's do business :)
The real gem in this book is the concept of the loser's game. Ellis offers the analogy of tennis and concludes that this sport could actually be two different types of games. Tennis played by amateurs is a loser's game as the outcome is determined by the mistakes of the loser. Professional tennis players make very few mistakes so it's a winner's game where the outcome is determined by the winner's initiatives. Professionals win points, amateurs lose points. Investments have according to Ellis turned into a loser's game. Most professional investment managers are extremely skilled and combined they have enough capital to almost become the market. This then makes it extremely hard for any one of them to regularly beat the market.
In a loser's game the one that makes the least strategic mistakes win. In Ellis analysis too many in the investment business focus on the nearly impossible task of beating the market but too few investment managers try to understand the needs of their clients.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the classics re personal investing. Main thrust: Invest for the long run and don't try to beat the market.Published 7 months ago by Peter B. Booth
Read it. Act on it. Pass it along. If your broker can't answer the fiduciary question then don't waste your time with him.Published 11 months ago by D'Brickashaw
Best book I've ever read on investing - must read for anyone who wants to learn about the real dynamics of the market.Published 11 months ago by Carmen C.
A must read for all investors especially if you think you can time the market. Lots of great data and studies.Published 18 months ago by chuck shepard
The whole book is summarized in the first chapter. Skim the remaining ones in 30 minutes. Otherwise way to long for the point the author is trying to make.Published 22 months ago by A. Panasiewicz
I wish this book would have just blurted out very clearly to NOT PAY ADVISORS, MANAGERS, etc. These leaches get 1% or more for no risk. Read morePublished on June 16, 2014 by Brian G. Ruschel
Ellis clearly delineates the errors that investors are taught to make in the frantic chasing after returns, only-short-term -results-matter world of the Wall Street Casino. Read morePublished on April 30, 2014 by wiltay
This book is a great investment primer for anyone interested in building wealth slowly and steadily, while avoiding the common pitfalls that most of us are prone to.Published on November 25, 2013 by Lawson F Singer