Investment Books

Fisher Investments Discussion Group

Topic: Investment Books

Welcome to the Fisher Investments discussion group on Investment Books. Today's investor is inundated with a vast array of investments books – from "get rich" and "how-to" guides to secret strategy and market wizardry titles. With so many options available, how can investors know where to start and what the best titles are? In our opinion, many of these books are narrowly focused, impractical, or misleading for the individual investor, promising an easy formula to follow or a "to-do" checklist for finding the best stocks—which fundamentally can't exist.


The following represents commentary by Fisher Investments’ staff members on the above mentioned topic. All comments are subject to the website disclaimers located here.

46 Comment(s)

Inconclusive Data

By CRF, 08/21/2009
I just finished, "Seasonal Stock Market Trends: The Definitive Guide to Calendar-Based Stock Market Trading." I do not think the data analysis is conclusive enough to validate the arguments contained in the book. A lot of investors hope historical "patterns" or "trends" will help them with future investing decisions, but past performance doesn't dictate future performance.

Beat the Market?

By JM, 08/21/2009
I recently read “The Little Book that Beat the Market,” by Joel Greenblatt. While I found some of the commentary to be pretty entertaining, I found the actual investing advice lacking. This oversimplified view contends that there are specific tools in investing that assure an investor can beat the market. Simple as that! Unfortunately, as a Fisher Investments employee, I’m aware the investing universe is not this simple, nor is it quite this easy to beat the market. Investors would do well to skip this book!

Narrow focus

By JM, 07/31/2009
I also read Maloney’s “Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver” and found it to be a waste of time. The author strives to convince investors that investing in these precious metals is the answer to solid profits in today’s investing world. Focusing an investing strategy too narrowly can be risky in and of itself as you lose the benefit of diversification. I think the book’s focus was extremely narrow and I don’t recommend it.

A bond worth breaking

By LRD, 07/29/2009
When you have some time to waste, I suggest picking up Hildy Richelson's "Bonds: The Unbeaten Path to Secure Investment Growth." My grandfather used to say, sometimes the best advice is knowing what NOT to do. And this book is jam-packed with it. As a Fisher Investment employee, I've studied the performance of various asset classes over time, e.g. stocks, bonds, cash. In my view, over a long enough time period like 20 or 30 years, it's not exactly accurate to refer to bonds as "unbeaten". Why? Because bonds got beat OFTEN - and substantially - by stocks over long time periods. In my personal view, bonds tend to "feel" safe to investors, but that doesn't mean bonds are "the unbeaten path" for everyone. Before nose-diving into a bond portfolio as the author suggests, it may be prudent to take a step back and consider other things like time horizon, goals, and objectives.

precious metals...not for me

By DEzzat, 07/28/2009
After reading Michael Maloney’s “Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver: Everything You Need to Know to Profit From Precious Metals Now,” I felt as though the author was focusing too heavily on “selling” (rather than educating) the reader into the belief investing in precious metals is the way to go. As a Fisher Investments employee, I don’t think investing in either gold or silver is the smartest decision for a long term investor. Clearly given the name of the book, the author was meant to focus on precious metals but I thought the language seemed a bit forced and oversimplified at times. Overall, reading this book didn’t help change my mind nor do I buy into the idea of precious metals.

investing in one lesson

By DEzzat, 07/22/2009
I just recently read Mark Skousen’s book, “Investing in One Lesson,” and I didn’t find much substance in its content. The first half of the book seemed to be nothing more than several pages of filler language. When he finally gets to his “lesson” midway through, he focuses solely on dividends and doesn’t expand further on any other common investing topics useful for investors. I found little value in purchasing this book.

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind

By ashmuth, 07/20/2009
Recently, I read "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" and found it quite comical actually. I believe it's nothing more than a long advertisement trying to lure you into signing up for a seminar. Also, I think it’s very vague and provides no new information to an investor. As a Fisher Investments employee, I have grown leery of these types of books and this is just another one of its kind...not worth your time or money!

One path?

By JM, 07/17/2009
I recently read the book “How to Make Money in Stocks: A Winning System in Good Times or Bad.” I found the book to be pretty simplistic and overly optimistic. No specific plan—be it stock picking, passive investing, etc.—works in all market cycles. As a Fisher Investment employee, I think it’s important to focus on long term goals, while remaining open minded about the path that might be necessary to get there. I don’t think this book carried a realistic message.

Little More Than Basic

By CRF, 07/17/2009
I read "The Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio: How to Build and Grow a Panic-Proof Investment Portfolio." As a Fisher Investments employee, I found it to be too simplistic, almost a waste of money. In my opinion, this book offers advice rather than any real, concrete instructions on how to build a portfolio and simply doesn't deliver what it promises in the title.

Be wary of "smartest"

By LRD, 07/15/2009
Daniel Solin wrote "The Smartest Investment Book You'll Ever Read" in 2006. The title should make a rational reader skeptical right off the bat. When it comes to investing, there is no holy grail for success. As a Fisher Investments employee, I interpreted this book to be too simplistic and mainstream. The author basically recommends a buy and hold strategy using ETFs. While this sounds reasonable, the author completely disregards the pivotal aspects of human emotion, and how it affects investing behavior. As a Fisher Investments employee, I felt this book made huge assumptions about investor behavior. While the book had some poignant advice (e.g. discount what the media says, avoid market timing), the blatant assumptions overshadowed the good parts. In a nutshell, a long-term buy and hold strategy is easier said than done in my opinion.

the wall street self-defense manual

By DEzzat, 07/14/2009
I just recently read Henry Blodget’s “The Wall Street Self-Defense Manual: A Consumer’s Guide to Intelligent Investing” and I wasn’t impressed by its contents. I found that there wasn’t adequate detail given regarding the “basic rules” the author exposes. I felt it was merely a high level look into a hodge-podge of topics and ideas to help an investor. At some sections, I would have appreciated more detail on the given topic. All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this book for a novice investor.

Difficult in Practice

By CRF, 07/10/2009
"How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market" by Nicolas Darvas is a nice little story and does point some logical points (for example human emotion can get in the way in investing). But though the story may seem like a good one, as a Fisher employee, I think the average individual investor would be disappointed and frustrated trying to follow Darvas' strategies. Technical indicators could be misleading and could take a lot of time to monitor and analyze, and this strategy basically only works in bull markets (since it rests on rising stock prices). In sideways or down markets, this strategy would probably produce awful results.

Capitalism is alive

By JM, 07/10/2009
Like ashmuth, I recently finished “And Then The Roof Caved In.” I agree with her opinion that it is not worth the read. I don’t think the dour outlook perpetrated by the overly dramatic commentary will help investors take the next step toward recovery. Assuming capitalism has failed is not the answer.

the collapse of the dollar...

By DEzzat, 07/07/2009
After recently reading “The Collapse of the Dollar and How To Profit From It” I wouldn’t recommend putting any of its strategies to use. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert investor by any means, but in my opinion, claiming the dollar is set to collapse and advising investors to look to gold as the next big thing doesn’t serve much purpose. I didn’t think it was very helpful to achieve my long term goals. All in all, the author was very one dimensional and only took into account very limited factors when discussing the stock market. I didn’t find this technique very useful or enlightening.

Capitalism failed?

By ashmuth, 07/06/2009
Faber's "And Then The Roof Caved In" is not worth your time, in my opinion. As a Fisher Investments employee, I believe capitalism is alive and well and hardly believe we can blame economic woes of late on failed capitalism.


By LRD, 07/01/2009
I recently scanned through a book called 'Confessions of a Day Trader' which rubbed me the wrong way. The authors seem to assume everyone has 8 hours a day to devote to day-trading and staring at charts minute-to-minute. As a Fisher Investments employee, I'm probably biased in my assessment of day-trading, but based on the sheer amount of time one must committ to day-trading, the book seems to reveal day-trading's payoff is minimal due to the huge investment of personal time.

panic-proof investment portfolio?

By DEzzat, 06/30/2009
I recently read “The Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio: How to Build and Grow a Panic-Proof Investment Portfolio” and I must say I thought it lacked any new, creative, or unique advice. I found the title to be a bit misleading as well as I don’t think there’s a such thing as a “panic-proof” portfolio. In my opinion, you can only do so much to invest wisely over the long term but there will always be curveballs in the market. There were many references made to other widely known investors and how successful they have become but little insight into how to achieve similar success or knowledge. Basically, I learned nothing new from reading this book and I found it to be a bit tedious with its explanations.


By ashmuth, 06/29/2009
I've also read "How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market" and like JM and DEzzat I found it to be disappointing. In my opinion, the stock market is the best place to be investing your money but I feel like this book kind of provides false hope. I found the scenario to be highly unlikely and I don't think the book offered much other than some entertainment about his dancing career.

I agree

By JM, 06/26/2009
I also read the book “You Can Be a Stock Market Genius,” and had a similar impression as DEzzat. Although I am a Fisher Investments employee, I consider myself to be a novice investor, and this book seemed to make too many unrealistic claims. I was disappointed by the simplicity of the assumption that with a few simple tricks, everyone can become a “genius.” I think this can get some investors into trouble, by getting in over their heads with investing vehicles they may not understand.

Nothing new

By DEzzat, 06/23/2009
I found the book “You Can Be a Stock Market Genius: Uncover the Secret Hiding Places of Stock Market Profits” to be interesting at first glance, but as I dove into more of the context, I thought a lot of the information wasn’t practical for an everyday investor and promises too many unrealistic solutions to beat the market. Some concepts and strategies were explained while others were very vague—in my opinion, this book wasn’t geared toward a novice investor and focuses way too much on hedge funds. I found myself reading things about the market I already knew and was disappointed to find nothing new and different in this book.

Unoriginal Read

By ashmuth, 06/22/2009
I recently finished reading "When Markets Collide: Investment Strategies for the Age of Global Economic Change." I found this book to have no new information, it was nothing more than a hodgepodge of unoriginal investing concepts being covered up with what I found to be extremely poor writing.

Get Rich Quick

By JM, 06/19/2009
Like DEzzat, I recently read “How I Made $2,000,000 in the Stock Market.” I think this book may be disappointing to investors. As a Fisher Investments employee, I know it’s possible to get lucky, but to base an investing theory on stock picking with little to no expertise or background in the field is risky at best. There was heavy emphasis on “get rich quick” investing in this book, which can be a dangerous path for the average stock market investor.

Nothing Groundbreaking

By CRF, 06/19/2009
I just finished Kobrick's "The Big Money: Seven Steps to Picking Great Stocks and Finding Financial Security." As a Fisher Investments employee, I found this book to be heavy on story-telling and rather superficial in other aspects. There's too much heavy emphasis on analyzing companies, which is a key part of stocking but not all. After all, a management board that's successful now may be a complete failure in another market environment. You can't just focus on business models and management teams. That would just be a sliver of the greater picture.

flying the stock market

By DEzzat, 06/16/2009
In “Flying the Stock Market” Franklin Reick discusses different investing strategies to help become successful in the stock market. I must say, I found very little value in this book. While there are mentions of a wide variety of strategies the author has used, in my opinion, there was a heavy emphasis on technical analysis and basing future market moves on historical performances. I think history is helpful as a guide and to be aware of, but I hardly think this should be the basis of what’s to come. As a Fisher Investments employee, I don’t believe focusing so much on the past is very beneficial for a long-term investor. All in all, I thought this book wasn’t very useful and lacked the information I was looking for in an investing guide.

2,000,000 in the stock market?

By DEzzat, 06/09/2009
The writer of the book How I Made $2,000,000 In The Stock Market has an interesting story. He was a professional dancer who hit it big in the stock market. In my view, unfortunately, his strategy is not repeatable. Fact is, in my opinion, anyone can get lucky on a few stocks that quickly double, triple, quadruple or more. But I find it hard to believe that turning $10 grand into $2 million in the space of 18 months is repeatable. I believe this is getting exceedingly lucky with very few stock picks, in the same vein as very few people buy lottery tickets that win. See it another way, I think you could just as easily lose everything if you pick poorly. This is an interesting story about a guy who was ridiculously lucky, not a strategy for long-term investing success.

Another get rich quick book

By ashmuth, 06/08/2009
I found "Bailout Riches!" to be just another get rich quick book. I believe the key to financial security lies in long-term investing—nothing works over night and investors need to be patient during market ups and downs. Also, I don't think any of the content contained within the chapters is anything new. I found myself, more than once, thinking his ideas were too general and his thoughts were often incomplete.

There are always "ifs"

By JM, 06/05/2009
Like ashmuth, I also read “Crash Proof…” I agree that it was an overly dramatic look at what could happen. There are always “ifs” out here, especially in the world of investing. As a Fisher Investments employee, I believe trying to time the market and side step potential bumps in the road can also lead to missing out on significant upsides. I found that this book was very focused on the avoiding negatives but not pointing out the potentially damaging effects (on long term returns) being out of the market can also have on a portfolio. As a result, I found it shortsighted.

Not Much Depth

By CRF, 06/04/2009
I also read Paul Krugman's "The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008." As a Fisher Investments employee, I felt this book tried too hard to prove its point. The author covered a lot of topics to support his arguments, but ultimately, that meant some topics were not explored in depth, leaving me with questions and skepticism. Sure financial crises through history have some similarities, but there are also striking differences which the book does not adddress. All in all, I don't think this was a worthwhile read.

too much doom and gloom

By DEzzat, 06/02/2009
I found Paul Krugman's book "The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008" to be over sensationalized rhetoric particularly focused around the Crisis of 2008. As a Fisher Investments employee, I can appreciate how unique and unprecedented this crisis is but after reading this book, I had a hard time seeing past the "doom and gloom" message. For example, in my opinion, there are strong differences between current times and the Great Depression and this book is heavily concerned with making comparisons between the two decades, ignoring all fundamentals. All in all, I took away very little except for what seemed like an overly dour outlook on our current economic time.

Not worth the read...

By ashmuth, 06/01/2009
Recently, I read “Crash Proof: How to Profit From the Coming Economic Collapse” and found it to be nothing more than a rant about the end of world as we know it. This book harps on various subjects such as the dollar is falling, the US has too much debt, and suggests everyone run out and buy gold. As a Fisher Investments employee, I didn’t find this book to be helpful at all and believe that getting caught up in things like too much debt and the falling dollar are not worth an investor’s time.

Post Catastrophe Economy

By JM, 05/29/2009
I recently read “The Post Catastrophe Economy” by Eric Janszen. While this book provided a good summary of what transpired over the past year in the financial world, I found it shortsighted in its depiction of what is to come. I believe the problem is we are still in this recession, so it is a little early to know what we face on the other side. Predictions may be helpful, but they may also be misleading to investors who are wary of the nation’s post-crisis economy. There no sense in needlessly worrying these people further.

Agreed - Far From "Perfect"

By CRF, 05/28/2009
I also read Leland Hevner's "The Perfect Portfolio." As a Fisher Investments employee, I found it to paint an overly simplistic view of investing. The recommendations contained in the book seem unnecessary for the average individual investor (are nine asset classes really necessary to turn a profit from investing?). Plus, with all the buy and sell alerts, there's little doubt to me the transaction fees will be much higher than just paying annual fees to a professional advisor--especially when the market is experiencing great volatility like these past months. Lastly, while this type of portfolio may ease the minds of highly risk averse investors, the upside potential is very limited.

agree with JM

By DEzzat, 05/27/2009
I agree with JM about Hevner's book. I personally think professionals have such a title for a reason. They understand the industry and there are several advisors who are legitimately interested in helping the investor. I believe Hevner unfairly hints that all investors should be leery of advisors and that's just not the case. I also think the title of his book is misleading as well as it's very difficult to possess what most want, "the perfect portfolio." I’ve always felt this is a subjective term and depends largely on the individual investor's personal situation and time horizon. As JM said, this is nothing more than a scare tactic, not worth the read.

Perfect? Not quite.

By JM, 05/22/2009
I recently read Hevner’s “The Perfect Portfolio: A Revolutionary New Approach to Investing.” In summary, I found it to be presumptive. The premise of the book assumes that individual investors want all the control over their portfolios and want to be able to construct and manage those portfolios on their own. In my view, referring to financial professionals as strangers with fancy credentials does a disservice to the many professionals who are genuinely in business to help others make money. The author is mistaken in assuming some individuals don’t need (or want) help, and that financial professionals aren’t cut out to provide that help. Along this vein, I found the book trying to scare individual investors from the professional investing help some may desire.

Decent read, but off target. . . WAY off target.

By LRD, 05/21/2009
Picked up Kobrick's most recent book 'The Big Money: Seven Steps to Picking Great Stocks and Finding Financial Security'. In short, the book was easy to read and covered a lot of ground with skill. However, the premise of the book seems to miss some basic investing principles. First and foremost, the book wastes most of it's ink digging into the pins and needles of stock picking. In my view, it's misguided to think stock picking, by itself, can help you find financial security. Such myopic focus completely neglects the biggest decision an investor makes: the asset class decision. In my view, this book would be an excellent read for someone solely interested in picking stocks. But if you're truly looking for "financial security" (as the book title suggests) this book will let you down. As a Fisher Investments employee, I believe successful investing entails much more than picking stocks within a given framework.

A Failure of Capitalism, or Failure of Reasoning?

By CRF, 05/21/2009
I was disappointed by Richard Posner’s book, "A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of ‘08 and the Descent into Depression." Based on his pedigree and previous works, I thought this book would be insightful, but I found the arguments to be incomplete. As a Fisher Investments employee, I think it’s unwise to suggest government regulation could prevent more market problems than just letting capital markets function freely. This book blames government deregulation of markets and the Fed Reserve’s lowering interest rates for the crisis (while ignoring the government’s role in driving subprime lending) – if the government supposedly got that wrong, why would they do better at regulating markets? Contradiction!

not worth the read

By DEzzat, 05/19/2009
I recently read "How to Make Money in Stocks: Winning System in Good Times or Bad" and I must say it was a disappointing read. I thought the author failed to explain several concepts that a novice or even somewhat experienced investor wouldn't be familiar with. Also, as a Fisher Investments employee, I'm always leery of titles guaranteeing success in the market. The stock market is extremely volatile and no one can guarantee investing without the chance of some loss. That's just part of investing. At the end of the day, I'm not happy with my purchase and wouldn't recommend this read.


By More on "The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing", 05/18/2009
I’ve also read “The Little Book That Beats the Market” and was not impressed. As a person who is familiar with the financial industry, I don’t think this book is worth the time. It is over-simplified and offers no real advice that you couldn’t find by doing a simple internet search. Don’t waste your time with this one.

Smart Investing?

By JM, 05/15/2009
I recently read “The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read.” I think the author’s attempt to split all investing into two categories (smart and dumb) is simplifying a complex subject. It appears the author doesn’t believe active management of investments adds any value, instead he calls it hyperactive management, and claims all such managers are acting in their own best interest rather than that of their clients. Whether or not hiring someone to assist with investments is right for you, as a Fisher Investments employee I believe the author is wrong to say that this practice is only for dumb money investors. Rather, each investor should evaluate his or her needs and decide if active management is appropriate.

A Whole New Mind?

By LRD, 05/15/2009
Daniel Pink's book 'A Whole New Mind' offers interesting insight, but in my view also declares a false revolution. In short, his book declares a paradigm shift from "left brain" dominance to a new era of "right brain" dominance. The message of the book is meaningful and easy to follow. However, I believe the societal transformation he declares is too simplistic. Shifts of this magnitude take years if not decades to occur. "Left brain" careers like lawyers, accountants and software engineers will always exist. The "seismic shift" Pink declares requires a massive cognitive leap just to follow the argument. While the book was enjoyable and even inventive, I couldn't help but conclude many of the arguments which relegate "left-mindedness" are over-simplified.

little book that beats the market (continued)

By DEzzat, 05/12/2009
I also read the “Little Book that Beats the Market.” It’s a fast read and has nice anecdotes from the author, but as investing strategy, it has serious drawbacks in my view. If you look at the data that supports the “magic formula” it takes stock performance from a specific 17 years. It just so happens that during this 17 years, value stocks outperformed growth stocks, so naturally a “formula” for finding value stocks would seem to net better returns. But a good strategy is forward looking. Unfortunately, I don’t think this “magic formula” works on a forward looking basis.

No such thing...

By ashmuth, 05/11/2009
I recently read "The Little Book That Beats the Market" and I didn’t find it helpful. Basically, it proposes investors use a “magic formula” to pick stocks. Really? A “magic formula?” I found the formula to be anything but magic. The formula helps you find value stocks, so if value stocks are underperforming during the particular time period you are analyzing you too in turn will be underperforming. I would shy away from anything claiming success based solely on a “magic formula.”


By JM, 05/08/2009
I recently read “The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing” and found it was an overly-simplified look at a complex concept. While I believe it’s goal was to educate investors, I found it fell short. As a Fisher Investments employee, I am familiar with many avenues of investor education, and believe this book would have benefited from more specifics within each conceptual section. I believe the problem with dramatically simplifying stock market investing is it creates the potential that a novice investor ends up in over his or her head.

Additional Thoughts on "Good to Great"

By CRF, 05/07/2009
While Jim Collins’s “Good to Great” offers extensive research, I believe it’s almost impossible to claim a set of factors are responsible for making a company great. I think sometimes authors are eager to find supporting evidence for their pre-determined thesis/theses, and that clouds the way they construe data. Rather, authors should let their findings determine their conclusions—I didn’t get this sense from this book. Ironically, some of the “great” companies featured in this book haven’t emerged from the financial crisis in one piece (notably, Fannie Mae and Circuit City).

Everything Investing Book

By DEzzat, 05/06/2009
“The Everything Investing Book” is a general how-to guide on choosing the right stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. I assumed from such a title, this book would go into detail about all aspects of investing but I found it only skimmed the surface on several topics and I didn’t agree with its “proven stock-picking techniques”. All in all, this book didn’t match up very well with what I was looking for in an investment book.

Stock Decisions

By ashmuth, 05/04/2009
I believe there is an art to investing . “Good to Great” discusses picking and grading various companies and their likelihood to outperform, essentially employing a bottom-up view. While stock selection is important, I would have to disagree with this investing method. As a Fisher Investments employee, I believe in more of a top-down approach for global portfolios which starts the investment analysis by looking closely at sectors and regions. Personally, I wouldn’t look to this book as a guide to picking stocks for your portfolio.

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