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The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns [Hardcover]

John C. Bogle
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 5 2007 Little Books. Big Profits (Book 2)
Investing is all about common sense. Owning a diversified portfolio of stocks and holding it for the long term is a winner’s game. Trying to beat the stock market is theoretically a zero-sum game (for every winner, there must be a loser), but after the substantial costs of investing are deducted, it becomes a loser’s game. Common sense tells us—and history confirms—that the simplest and most efficient investment strategy is to buy and hold all of the nation’s publicly held businesses at very low cost. The classic index fund that owns this market portfolio is the only investment that guarantees you with your fair share of stock market returns.

To learn how to make index investing work for you, there’s no better mentor than legendary mutual fund industry veteran John C. Bogle. Over the course of his long career, Bogle—founder of the Vanguard Group and creator of the world’s first index mutual fund—has relied primarily on index investing to help Vanguard’s clients build substantial wealth. Now, with The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, he wants to help you do the same.

Filled with in-depth insights and practical advice, The Little Book of Common Sense Investing will show you how to incorporate this proven investment strategy into your portfolio. It will also change the very way you think about investing. Successful investing is not easy. (It requires discipline and patience.) But it is simple. For it’s all about common sense.

With The Little Book of Common Sense Investing as your guide, you’ll discover how to make investing a winner’s game:

  • Why business reality—dividend yields and earnings growth—is more important than market expectations
  • How to overcome the powerful impact of investment costs, taxes, and inflation
  • How the magic of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs
  • What expert investors and brilliant academics—from Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham to Paul Samuelson and Burton Malkiel—have to say about index investing
  • And much more

You’ll also find warnings about investment fads and fashions, including the recent stampede into exchange traded funds and the rise of indexing gimmickry. The real formula for investment success is to own the entire market, while significantly minimizing the costs of financial intermediation. That’s what index investing is all about. And that’s what this book is all about.


Frequently Bought Together

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns + Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School + The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing
Price For All Three: CDN$ 51.99


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Review

"excellent advice in a concise and accessible manner." (The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2007)

"It's hard to argue with the eloquent logic of John C. Bogle's latest ode to index funds…Bogle's 'Little Book' offers much exemplary advice." (Bloomberg News, April 2007)

Among monetary gurus and wise men, John Bogle is a singular case. As the founder of the highly regarded Vanguard Group, he is revered for the company's commitment to providing value to its clients as well as profits to its investors. He even has his own group of fans, called "Bogleheads," who cling to every utterance and pronouncement from the great man.

In this latest entry in the Little Book series, Bogle's gentle prose contains idiot-proof advice for investors at all levels. He punctures the myth of the superiority of mutual funds and instead declares that by using a bit of common sense, low-cost index funds are the way to go for most modest stock investors. He's also wary of the ways of Wall Street and cautions investors to steer clear of its institutional con men and cautions against excessive fees and taxes that invariably eat up profits.
It's not very glamorous or exciting advice, but that's also his point: Slow and steady wins the race. (Miami Herald, April 9, 2007)

"genuinely provides investors with the ideal strategy for making the most of stock-market investing" (Motley Fool's UK website, March 8, 2007)

"It's an easy read that will, I suspect, quickly join Burton Malkiel's A Random Walk Down Wall Streetand Charles Ellis's Winning the Loser's Gameas one of the indexing crowd's favorite books."—Jonathan Clements (Wall Street Journal)

"It's hard to argue with the eloquent logic of John C. Bogle's latest ode to index funds." (Bloomberg Terminal, March 8, 2007).

"provides an opportunity to reflect on a remarkable career and legacy." (Financial Times, 19th March 2007)

"…it is John Bogle's hymn to index-tracking investment, and a fascinating read it is too." (Daily Telegraph, March 2007)

"Those who doubt my reasoning should read the Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle." (FT Adviser, 24th April 2007)

"…particularly interesting…goes some way towards discrediting the stockpicking virtues taught to me in my time as a financial journalist." (Fund Strategy, 7th May 2007)

"…wittily written, pocket-sized guide…If you want to learn how to avoid the unpredictabilities of the stock market and the fees of middle men, then this book is well worth a read." (Pensions Age, May 2007)

" ... For the individual investor, it presents a solid game plan for growing funds over the long haul." (Directorship, July 2007)

"... read Bogle's new Little Book of Common Sense Investingand you'll see how easy it is to beat the Alpha Hunters at their own game!" (MarketWatch, July 2007)

‘The one big thing that Bogle knows -- and explains so well in this slender volume -- is that buying and holding a broad benchmark of stocks while keeping fees to a minimum leads to higher long-term returns than constantly trading in a vain attempt to beat the market. Common sense? Yes. But radical too, as the entire investing establishment is designed to get investors to do the exact opposite.” (CNNMoney)

"Business books are often written by show-offs who want you to know all about their knowledge of the Greek tragedies and dark-coloured birds. So it was nice to get hold of the simply written Little Book of Common Sense Investing…Its author, John Bogle, in no simpleton. He built Vanguard into a huge fund manager...He is synonymous with index funds in the US. Vanguard's S&P 500 tracker is by far the world's largest mutual fund."—Stephen Cranston, Investor's Notebook (Jan 23, 2013)

From the Inside Flap

Investing is all about common sense. Owning a diversified portfolio of stocks and holding it for the long term is a winner's game. Trying to beat the stock market is theoretically a zero-sum game (for every winner, there must be a loser), and after the substantial costs of investing are deducted, it becomes a loser's game. Common sense tells us—and history confirms—that the simplest and most efficient investment strategy is to buy and hold all of the nation's publicly held businesses at very low cost. The classic index fund that owns this market portfolio is the only investment that guarantees you with your fair share of stock market returns.

To learn how to make index investing work for you, there's no better mentor than legendary mutual fund industry veteran John C. Bogle. Over the course of his long career, Bogle—founder of the Vanguard Group and creator of the world's first index mutual fund—has relied primarily on index investing to help Vanguard's clients build substantial wealth. Now, with The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, he wants to help you do the same.

Filled with in-depth insights and practical advice, The Little Book of Common Sense Investing will show you how to incorporate this proven investment strategy into your portfolio. It will also change the very way you think about investing. Successful investing is not easy—it requires discipline and patience. But it is simple, for it's all about common sense.

With The Little Book of Common Sense Investing as your guide, you'll discover how to make investing a winner's game:

  • Why business reality—dividend yields and earnings growth—is more important than market expectations
  • How to overcome the powerful impact of investment costs, taxes, and inflation
  • How the magic of compounding returns is overwhelmed by the tyranny of compounding costs
  • What expert investors and brilliant academics—from Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham to Paul Samuelson and Burton Malkiel—have to say about index investing
  • And much more

You'll also find warnings about investment fads and fashions, including the recent stampede into exchange traded funds and the rise of indexing gimmickry. The real formula for investment success is to own the entire market, while significantly minimizing the costs of financial intermediation. That's what index investing is all about. And that's what this book is all about.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Common Sense Indeed April 15 2007
By Sears Braithwaite (of Bullard) TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A plain, uncomplicated introduction to the truth about the securities industry. And some mathematical/statistical truths that it bends over backwards to ignore. And how index investing can save you from Them. And from yourself.

John Bogle founded a not-for-profit investing house that now manages many billions of dollars--all in indexed funds--at low cost to the investors, and channels the profits back to them. Naturally, we have no equivalent in Canada (where, on average, we pay even more than Americans do for mutual funds).

Often major American firms like to branch out to Canada. By the time I finished reading this book, I actually felt miffed with Mr. Bogle for not bringing Vanguard to Canada--we lost out big time. But then I also started wondering: after all these years, why no Canadian imitator? Follow the money...

If this book gets you interested in learning more about indexing, consider William Bernstein's The Intelligent Asset Allocator. It explains the theory in depth, but is extremely well written and reader-friendly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Changer Aug. 6 2009
Format:Hardcover
This book was highly informative and educational. I learned so much. It illustrates the following points via quantitative examples:
- For equity investing, buy an index fund that holds the entire stock market and hold it forever. You will capture most of the return generated by the market in this way. The relevant index fund should be based on the S&P 500 or DJIA. He says that, "Investors should be content with earning the market's return. Only the classic index fund can guarantee that outcome."
- Using middlemen (i.e. stock brokers, financial advisers etc.) costs you money so don't waste your time. Financial advisers and stock brokers are not good at picking funds/stocks etc.
-Mutual funds managers (of actively managed funds) can't outperform the market in the long-run. They will have periods of success but will ultimately eventually fail.
-The goal should be to minimize all costs:financial intermediation (management fees, operating expenses, sales charges, portfolio turnover), taxes, inflation,
People who manage other people's money make a fortune. Costs kill returns.

He is a proponent of long-term investment in index funds or ETFs. In fact, he suggests that you hold them forever.

He exposed morningstar ratings as being misleading. And I always trusted morningstar before this! Not anymore.

Among index mutual funds, he emphasized choosing the lowest cost ones with no sales loads or annual fees.

He discussed the corollary for investing in bonds.

Then he discussed trends which have come up and can be better than indexing: ETFs etc. The only ETF that performs as well as investing in a total stock market index fund is investing in a broad market ETF.
Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars Add Timing to Common Sense Investing Feb. 8 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Let me say up front that I have not read this book but I do understand and invest in it's premise.

As a former financial advisor and seller of Markowitz's theory of efficient asset allocation theory I came to realize that one could add an element of timing to portfolio constituents, rather than simply relying on time in the market. The purpose would be to avoid large draw downs during bear markets and to participate in bull markets.

My main portfolio is invested in Vanguard ETFs. I view each ETF on a price chart at the end of each month to observe their price trend. A decision is made to buy, sell, wait or hold based on whether price is above or below a 10 month simple moving average. This roughly corresponds to the 200 day average which is closely watched by many money managers as separating bull from bear markets. Daily is too often and monthly seems about right for a portfolio trend status report.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couch Potato Investing Jan. 18 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you have no investment knowledge, this book will guide you in making safe, long term strategies that will match the average returns on the stock market, without needing to even look at your investments more than every few months.
I like it that he "tells it as it is", and does not recommend the excessive ratio of bonds to stocks recommended elsewhere. Bonds do well as interest rates fall. After 30 years of interest rates going lower and bonds acting favorably, interest rates can only go up and bonds will be a guaranteed way to lose money, although perhaps at a rate low enough that the investor will not notice until he or she can no longer afford the things that they were used to.
He points out that Mutual Funds cannot improve on the stock market movements enough that they can earn their pay and still beat couch potato investing.
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