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Customer Review

94 of 99 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes less is more, August 11, 2010
This review is from: Common Sense on Mutual Funds: Fully Updated 10th Anniversary Edition (Hardcover)
Some people are larger than life in their fields and everyone would likely agree that Jack Bogle is such a figure in the mutual funds area. Bogle founded Vanguard in the 70's and has since helped ordinary people make more money than perhaps anyone else living or dead. At least he helped those who had the intelligence to listen to his advice. Which is pretty much to invest in really boring index funds for your entire life and then come back decades later and be astonished at how wealthy you are.

This book was originally written in 1999 right before the telecom/internet stock mania finally took its well-deserved step off the cliff. This edition supplements the original book with updated charts and commentary on what the last decade of volatility has wrought. Bogle's view, backed up by data, is that even the past 10 years hasn't altered his view of the correct strategy - if anything it has been strengthened. If you are not greedy and stick with boring stuff then you don't really have too much to worry about over the long haul.

Given Bogle's message of simplicity I am confused about a book that requires a whopping 600 pages to make the point. Much of what he says gets repeated over and over and over again, to the point where it leaves a far less crisp message than intended. If you are not convinced by page 50 or so that index funds are the way to go, the remaining 550 pages will probably not be all that much more persuasive. In the process he is also less than clear about Vanguard. Perhaps it is just a polite or "objective" writing style, but repeatedly saying things like "all mutual funds companies, with one exception...", when he really means Vanguard, makes little sense to me. Given his continuing involvement with Vanguard it would remove any hint of conflict if he just made things even clearer. Of course, if such a statement really references a company other than Vanguard it would be even more interesting to know that.

The book really is good and comprehensive but also made me wonder for whom it is written. The people who most need his advice are young, since they by definition have the longest investment horizon. But, somehow I doubt that a lot of 20-year olds will be using this tome to address issues in their lives that are 40 years in the future. It is really too bad because I believe the message needs to get out there. I wish that I had known of Bogle when I was 20 and had had the guts to stay with it through thick and thin.

Everyone should read some Bogle but some of his shorter books may be a better start.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 11, 2016, 12:17:05 PM PDT
Hello. I am twenty myself. Thank you so much for your helpful review!

Posted on Dec 10, 2016, 7:48:24 AM PST
B&W Buff says:
Useful comment if you liked this book yourself, as I did (loved it, in fact) but are looking for the right book to give someone who is not as experienced in investing and/or as analytical as you - as I am doing now.
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