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Common Sense on Mutual Funds: 3 CD's [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

John C Bogle
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 19 2000 Wiley Audio
Written by a leading thinker and visionary whose ideas and principles have been adopted by countless investors.

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Invoking the words and spirit of Thomas Paine, investor-turned-historian John Bogle concedes that his ideas for revamping the mutual-fund industry are perhaps "not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor." But despite likening the "ills and injustices suffered by mutual fund investors" to those "our forebears suffered under English tyranny," Bogle--founder of the Vanguard Group--makes a strong case for index funds with this exhaustive study of investing.

He begins with primer-like essays on investment strategy, championing mutual funds for their inherent investment value, and then grinding each point home with a bevy of graphs, charts, entertaining anecdotes, and common sense. He repeatedly stresses time as a basic tenet for investing, listing these simple rules: "Time is your friend"; "Impulse is your enemy"; "Stay the course." And then he proceeds to blast fund managers, who have become marketers rather than managers.

The trade-off between the profits that accrue to fund shareholders and the profits that accrue to the fund management companies seems subject to no effective independent watchdog or balance wheel, despite the fact that the shareholders actually own the mutual funds.
It's an interesting concept: smart, reasoned investors can all but secure their financial future, but the system itself, run unchecked by fund managers, needs a major overhaul. And considering the amount of reasoned, historically based support he includes, readers will have a hard time finding fault with the sometimes controversial Bogle. Equal parts instructional and crusade, Common Sense on Mutual Funds deserves the attention it's likely to receive. Recommended. --Rob McDonald --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Not that many years ago, an average bookstore might have had two or three books on mutual funds filed away in the business section. Today, as the number of Americans who invest in mutual funds continues to grow, such books take up several aisles in a section of their own. There are guides for data junkies and mathphobes, books that tell how to make a killing and books that tell how to avoid the coming disaster. A few classics stand above the clutter. Bogle on Mutual Funds is one of them. Now the same author has added another. While the first book aimed at educating beginners, the new one seeks to persuade experienced investors to discard received wisdom that isn't so wise after all. While no 450-page work on mutual funds with lots of charts can be considered fun summer reading, the book is always informative and the writing never worse than painless and sometimes quite lively. Bogle speaks with a rare authority. On one hand, he is the founder of Vanguard mutual funds, the second-largest mutual fund company in the world. So he knows the business from the ground up. On the other hand, Vanguard has always been famous for running the lowest-cost mutual funds, funds that eschew loads, engage in sensible strategies and return all profit to the investors. So Bogle is also a leading consumer advocate. That rare combination, mixed with years of serious research and a dash of style, makes Bogle an unparalleled guide to the world of mutual funds. Money Book Club alternate.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential content if you own mutual funds June 29 2002
Format:Paperback
John C. Bogle founded Vanguard, the premier indexed mutual fund company. If you invest in mutual funds, especially if you invest in managed mutual funds, you must read this book. He reveals his intensely compelling case for passive management of funds (ie indexing) versus active management (ie stock-picking, market-timing, hot-manager style) funds.
Most people these days hold the bulk of their investment assets in pension funds, IRAs or 401Ks usually consisting of mutual funds, and this audience will gain significant insight from Bogle's advice. Bogle also campaigns to save the mutual fund trader from herself, relentlessly presenting the mutual fund as a buy-and-hold investment vehicle.
Those who have read a few other books on investing may find Bogle's single-mindedness and thoroughness a bit tedious. I found myself skimming for content throughout the book and especially after the first 14 chapters, finding the later material more visionary and less relevant to my investing. A good editor could probably reduce the bulk of the text by a half or two-thirds and retain the central ideas.
By the way, you can get much of this material (for example, the chapter on bond funds) from the Vanguard web site under the "Bogle Lectures." All the ideas are there - they're what the company is based on. Save a few bucks - reduce your investing costs - "costs matter" as Bogle will tell you again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brokers Hate This Guy - He Deserves 6 Stars Feb. 11 2004
Format:Paperback
If we were not a democracy someone would lock this guy up. He has spilled all the beans on the fake financial advisors and financial and insurance sales people that want to sell you the grotesque front end loaded mutual funds and those annuities that make piles of money for everyone except for the investor. Bogle founded one of the biggest mutual fund groups in America - the Vanguard Group - and he is a burr under the saddle of many financial people. His advice saves you money at the expense of the broker.
The bitter truth is that over the long haul only 10% of mutual funds outperform the conservative S&P 500 index. So why pay some company a front end load fund of 5-7% to under-perform the S&P 500 plus an annual fee of 1.5% when you can buy S&P index shares or Vanguard mutual funds that have no load fees, and have very low annual expenses - often less than 0.5% per annum. You end up giving away a chuck of your money if you do not follow his sound advice.
Bogle of course does not want to stop there. He wants to reign in all those CEO perks and huge bonuses and use the leverage of the mutual fund shareholders. All great stuff,
This is a case where Amazon.com should have a special 6 star category.
Jack in Toronto
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, even if a bit Repetitive Dec 9 2003
Format:Paperback
Despite the prosaic title of the book, and the conservative investment philosophy of its author, "Common Sense on Mutual Funds" has a revolutionary aim. Vanguard founder John Bogle believes the mutual fund industry must make major changes in order to faithfully serve its customers and, by explaining his investment philosophy, he shows both why radical change is necessary for the industry and helps to precipitate it by encouraging individual investors to follow his investment advice.
Bogle thinks too many mutual fund investors are being scammed by professional managers of funds who reward their companies instead of their investors' portfolios. High fees, outrageous expenses, rapid turnover, unneeded "products", marketing costs -- all are used by countless mutual fund companies to inflate their bottom lines to the detriment of their investors' needs.
Several reviewers here have noted that Bogle repeats several key points throughout the book, especially the importance of keeping costs as low as possible. This is true. But important lessons need to be stressed, especially with so much evidence that the average investor still doesn't understand them. Perhaps Bogle feels it's a lesson that can't be said enough. After all, why would you pay more for less, unless you simply don't understand what is being done to you?
This book was somewhat prescient. Published near the end of the long bull market of the 1980 and 90s, "Common Sense on Mutual Funds" called out -- in its own quiet and understated way -- for reform of the mutual fund industry before it became fashionable to do so. While Bogle's book doesn't have an angry tone, its recommendations are essentially more radical than anything now being considered by New York's attorney general in his drive to reform the industry.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Review of Mutual Funds April 1 2002
Format:Paperback
John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group which is the known for its low cost index funds as well as simply being one of the two largest mutual fund organizations, makes his simple but undeniable arguement.
1. The administrative costs of a mutual fund makes a huge impact on returns. For example, a 1% administrative fee eats away at least 10% of the fund's yearly return if it earns 10%.
2. Index funds have consistantly outperformed other managed funds.
3. Given #1, the managment fees for managed funds are a double burden because they reduce returns that are already typically below what a low cost index fund can offer.
Bogle also touches other topics on the mutual fund industry. I found that he hammered the same points home again several different ways. This made some parts of the book drag, but I suppose it is useful for those who may be skeptical about index funds to see the evidence presented in several formats. Bogle also touches upon the (mis?)-management of mutual funds. Fees have gone up despite the proven inability of funds to beat the market despite the supposed skill of their managers, funds turnover their securities rapidly leaving the unprepared owner (invester) with capital gains nightmares as well as lost returns due to trading costs.
Also interesting, Bogle reviews his life in the mutual fund industry. I feel Bogle hits us with a little too much data and not enough of the drama of the industry. For example, does Bogle's fellow fund managers believe they have the skill to beat the market or do they know they are ripping people off by creating and marketing funds with excessive fees and unproductive churning of assets?
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Index funds are still managed! C'mon Bogle.
In waging his crusade against actively managed funds, Bogle loses sight of the fact that even index funds are managed nonetheless. Read more
Published on April 13 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Other books to consider
Bogle's book is a classic. It eloquently discusses mutual fund fundamentals and makes a strong argument for indexing. Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars another seminal work by Bogle
John Bogle has done more to benefit investors than any 10,000 brokers, business talking heads, high-priced fund managers, or how-to investment books.
Published on Oct. 28 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposes The Fanatasy Aspects Of Investing
The fund industry sells the fantasy that everyone can beat the market. What nonsense, since we are, in the aggregate, the market. Don't be sucked in! Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Bogle Is Dead Wrong!
John Bogle is a nice guy, but he is dead wrong about the stock market and about active management of mutual funds. Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2002 by Edward D. Phillips, Ph.D.
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for investors
John Bogle uses a lot of data and rationalism to hit home the point. This is an excellent book for people wanting to start investing in the stock market, especially mutual funds. Read more
Published on Sept. 14 2002 by Manish G.
3.0 out of 5 stars Beat the dead horse
The central theme of this book is good -- that index funds are likely to deliver better returns than actively managed funds due to their low cost, high diversification, and tax... Read more
Published on Sept. 10 2002 by dHXYbarINd1T
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for rookie investors
This is suppose to be an excellent book but if you are looking for an easy read, you are mistaken. I am a rookie investor and he just confused me.
Published on July 25 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas, but a bit repetitive
Bogle makes compelling arguments about the advantages of index funds and the importance of the costs/loads and tax consequences of mutual funds. Read more
Published on July 7 2002 by Dan Crevier
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