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Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry Hardcover – Jan 1 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (Jan. 1 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591844894
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591844891
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 16 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While this book refers mainly to the details,costs and value of financial advice from money managers and self-styled experts in the US, the information is absolutely applicable to the Canadian scene.
It demonstrates,using many examples, that most of the advice from professional financial advisors is designed to lock the client into a variety of funds that provide the advisors and their companies with the highest possible ongoing income and eats up most of the profit that the client should be earning from his or her investments.
The book demonstrates particularly well how poorly women are treated. They are held in low esteem by the financial professionals and their ability to manage their own money is scorned, though this position is entirely unsupported by any hard data.
It is fun to read and will be appreciated by investors who manage their own funds; though I suspect it will confirm what they already believe .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rob Slaven TOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 30 2013
Format: Hardcover
I received this book as part of a GoodReads drawing. Despite that kind consideration I give my candid feedback below.

The simple premise of this little treatise is to tear everything you know about finance limb from limb. All the rot designed to help you with money from self-help to Dave Ramsey to the latest stock market guru is nothing but a fraud designed to get you to pay for something. Anybody who claims to know something you don't is just selling something.

The author has a point and she very skillfully illuminates it for us. She methodically goes from one financial fad to the next and very neatly deconstructs them. She's even polite enough to tear everything down and at the end NOT really present us with an answer. There are some liberal leanings in which she suggests that government regulation is the real answer to our problems but even that, she admits, isn't a panacea.

To summarize, since I have little else to say, Pound Foolish happily tells us all what we long ago suspected about the financial services industry. Nobody really knows the answer to how to get rich excepting through an inordinate amount of faith in straight up luck or perhaps getting your own talk show to sell your wares. The book is at times rather ponderous and redundant but ultimately informative with its most important take-away being the attitude of realism which accompanies it rather than any specific detail the author provides.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shelley Tkatch on March 29 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I used to work in the financial industry, and after reading this, I felt dirty. During that time, you are fed the hype and you believe you have the elixer to solve all the clients' problems. But after some years and not really seeing people's lives improving, I got out of the business. So after reading this book, I feel more vindicated about my decision to get out.
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Format: Hardcover
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"[This book] will tell the story of how we were sold on a dream--a dream that personal finance had almost magical abilities, that it could compensate for stagnate salaries, income inequality, and a society that offered a shorter and thinner safety net with each passing year.

[This] book will tell the tale of how that fantasy was sold to us by people, organizations, and businesses that had a vested monetary interest in selling to us.

Finally, it will tell the story of how we allowed ourselves to be convinced that the personal finance and investment industrial complex would save our collective financial souls--and what comes next, now that it is clear it never could."

The above is found in the introduction of this informative and shocking book by Helaine Olen. She is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in several major newspapers and magazines such as "The New York Times" and "Forbes."

I think this book's title should be explained. The phrase "pound foolish" alludes to William Shakespeare's play "The Merchant of Venice" (written circa 1595).

The stand-out character in this famous play is "Shylock," a person shrewd in his business dealings. At the beginning of this play, Shylock agrees to lend some money without interest to Antonia (a Venetian merchant) under one condition: Antonio must sign a bond that stipulates that after a specific time has elapsed that "the forfeit [of the bond] be nominated for an equal pound of [Antonio`s] fair flesh to be cut off and taken in what part of [Antonio`s] body that pleaseth [Shylock]." Antonio foolishly signs the bond since he's confident he will be able to pay back the loan within the specified time period.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have a background in finance but found the book to be insightful in that you never really learn the darker side when you study such things in school. The book turns most of what is taught to Investment Advisor (or what theyre told to tell you) on its head. It also also confirmed some of my deep seeded beliefs such as the Efficient Market Hypothesis and what goes on behind the scenes of the investment industry.
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