The first half of Bogle's volume gives a detailed explanation of the problems with our stock market; the second half gives his solution proposals. And if John Bogle doesn't know what is going on both openly and behind closed doors (read his qualifications), then no one does.
This book describes how stock (mutual fund and corporate) managers are not "honest, competent and fair-minded...[or] doing the right thing." (p. 89) And just how the "managers' interest [are placed] ahead of the owners' interest." (p. 90) The recurrent theme is that corporate America has moved from owners' capitalism to managers' capitalism.
Bogle describes "the pervasive...'happy conspiracy' among corporate managers, CEOs, CFOs, directors, auditors, lawyers, Wall Street investment brokers, sell-side security analysts, buy-side portfolio managers, and indeed investors themselves--individual and institutional alike." (p. 98)
"More than one-fifth of...growth returns...during the past two decades has been siphoned off by fund managers.... More than three-fourths of the cumulative financial wealth produced...over an investment lifetime will be consumed by fund managers, leaving less than 25 percent for the investors. Yet it is the [95 million] investors ['individuals of modest means--often via retirement plans'] who put up 100 percent of the capital and assume 100 percent of the risk." (p.xxii)
Not only does the author write about the "Captains of Industry" (or robber barons)--Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Carnegie--he deals with the current "casino mentality of so many institutional investors..." (p. 98) Yes, you will read of "the conspiracy between corporate money managers and institutional money managers. [We have] a gambler's market instead of an investor's market," declares Bogle. (p. 118)
Bogle explains why "institutional investors [should] move away from their present obsession with short-term earnings of dubious validity and towards a new obsession focused on the creation of intrinsic value over the long term." (p. 114)
Finally, Bogle does not let we individual investors off easy, either, by explaining "the failure of investment America to exercise its ownership rights over corporate America.
As stated earlier, Bogle has solutions which you will read about in the second half of the book.