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The Bond Book, Third Edition: Everything Investors Need to Know About Treasuries, Municipals, GNMAs, Corporates, Zeros, Bond Funds, Money Market Funds, and More [Hardcover]

Annette Thau
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 27 2010

Everything on Treasuries, munis, bond funds, and more!

The bond buyer’s answer book—updated for the new economy

“As in the first two editions, this third edition of The Bond Book continues to be the ideal reference for the individual investor. It has all the necessary details, well explained and illustrated without excessive mathematics. In addition to providing this essential content, it is extremely well written.”
—James B. Cloonan, Chairman, American Association of Individual Investors

“Annette Thau makes the bond market interesting, approachable, and clear. As much as investors will continue to depend on fixed-income securities during their retirement years, they’ll need an insightful guide that ensures they’re appropriately educated and served. The Bond Book does just that.”
—Jeff Tjornejoh, Research Director, U.S. and Canada, Lipper, Thomson Reuters

“Not only a practical and easy-to-understand guide for the novice, but also a comprehensive reference for professionals. Annette Thau provides the steps to climb to the top of the bond investment ladder. The Bond Book should be a permanent fixture in any investment library!”
—Thomas J. Herzfeld, President, Thomas Herzfeld Advisors, Inc.

“If the financial crisis of recent years has taught us anything, it’s buyer beware. Fact is, bonds can be just as risky as stocks. That’s why Annette Thau’s new edition of The Bond Book is essential reading for investors who want to know exactly what’s in their portfolios. It also serves as an excellent guide for those of us who are getting older and need to diversify into fixed income.”
—Jean Gruss, Southwest Florida Editor, Gulf Coast Business Review, and former Managing Editor, Kiplinger’s Retirement Report

About the Book

The financial crisis of 2008 caused major disruptions to every sector of the bond market and left even the savviest investors confused about the safety of their investments. To serve these investors and anyone looking to explore opportunities in fixed-income investing, former bond analyst Annette Thau builds on the features and authority that made the first two editions bestsellers in the thoroughly revised, updated, and expanded third edition of The Bond Book.

This is a one-stop resource for both seasoned bond investors looking for the latest information on the fixed-income market and equities investors planning to diversify their holdings. Writing in plain English, Thau presents cutting-edge strategies for making the best bond-investing decisions, while explaining how to assess risks and opportunities. She also includes up-to-date listings of online resources with bond prices and other information. Look to this all-in-one guide for information on such critical topics as:

  • Buying individual bonds or bond funds
  • The ins and outs of open-end funds, closed-end funds, and exchangetraded funds (ETFs)
  • The new landscape for municipal bonds: the changed rating scales, the near demise of bond insurance, and Build America Bonds (BABs)
  • The safest bond funds
  • Junk bonds (and emerging market bonds)
  • Buying Treasuries without paying a commission

From how bonds work to how to buy and sell them to what to expect from them, The Bond Book, third edition, is a must-read for individual investors and financial advisers who want to enhance the fixed-income allocation of their portfolios.


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Product Description

About the Author

Annette Thau is a former municipal bond analyst for the Chase Manhattan Bank and a visiting scholar at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. She has written many articles for the AAII Journal and lectured to groups nationwide. In November 2009, she was a featured speaker at the national meeting of the American Association of Individual Investors.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I hate to give a bad review to a product in which may not deserve it but this book simply wasn't for me. I think the quality of the information is good if you are really interested in bonds you may very much like this book.

But for the average investor who is just looking at self educating himself without too much fuss I can't recommend this book.. I have bought and read a few other books based on investments such as "the millionaire teacher, The RESP book by Mike Holman, Your life or your money" and they were all interesting to read. This is the first book in which I have not finished because I couldn't take it anymore. 420 pages of bond talk is just too much for me, after 100 pages (and a few skipped pages) I decided to close the book and not look back at it.

If you are seriously interested in BONDS go ahead (this book received excellent overall reviews on amazon.com).

For the first time I am returning a book on amazon :(
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  39 reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars bonds should be a part of every portfolio July 25 2011
By muddy glass - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
annette thau's "bond book" should be read by every investor who's ever been captivated by the allure of equities and consequently neglected fixed income investments. thau delivers a crystal clear overview of every aspect of the bond market itself, as well as introduces the personalities and traits of the various types of bonds. the third edition of this book also offers the reader an insightful look at the 2008 financial crisis from the perspective of an experienced bond analyst. this is the perfect book to learn about bonds.

first, it is very common for people to overestimate their risk tolerance. like many investors with a long time horizon, i initially toyed with the notion of 100% stocks for the long run (cha-ching!). if retirement is far far away, you should just have no fear, right? or so i naively thought at first. most people need to experience a bad bear market where they sell their stocks low before coming to the sad realization that they needed bonds in their portfolio to face the vicissitudes of the financial markets. it is of course better to prepare yourself before going through such a trial by fire.

thau's book includes everything you'll need to know to decide on exactly how you'll want to set up the bond portion of your portfolio. here's a sampling of the topics covered in her exposition: the bond desk, bond ladders, collateralized debt obligations, convexity, corporate bonds, credit default swaps, duration, the federal reserve, ginnie maes, i-bonds, money market funds, mortgage-backed securities, municipal bonds, prepayment risk, strips, tips, tranches, zeros, and so forth. as with most things in finance, the words might look intimidating at first, but the concepts are not difficult to understand. thau wrote this book with the individual retail investor in mind and she lucidly explains everything. she also compares and contrasts buying individual bonds versus buying bond mutual funds. heck, she even guides you on how to analyze and buy bonds online.

one type of bond that i want to highlight in this review is the series i savings bond, or "i-bond" for short. i-bonds are backed by the government and essentially carry no credit risk. i-bonds keep up with inflation (hence their name). they are tax-deferred on the federal level, and tax-free on the state and local levels. you can buy i-bonds commission free on the treasury direct website (treasurydirect.gov). and on top of all that, there is no risk of losing any of your principal, even during times of deflation. check out the full details on the treasury direct website and/or in thau's book. the positives overwhelmingly outweigh the negatives. i-bonds deserve much wider attention from the investing public.

bonds definitely don't get as much love as stocks. hopefully as you go through thau's "bond book," you'll come to realize that bonds are every bit as intriguing as stocks, perhaps more so. and after getting to know them, hopefully you'll find a suitable place for bonds in your portfolio.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Belongs in every investor's library July 11 2011
By Ricardo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read what I believe was the first edition of this book quite a few years ago. Oddly, I don't know what ever became of it.

I just finished reading the Kindle version of the current edition which served as a refresher of everything I've learned about fixed-income investing over the years.

While the book probably isn't for the "professional", it will serve as a valuable tool for the beginning investor or anyone who wants to learn more about fixed-income investing.

This is not some "rah, rah, rah, everything is fine" book written by someone with a vested interest in getting investors to line up to buy the latest product. Instead, it provides a very factual and candid explanation of just about every fixed income product an investor would want to buy....and many that they should stay far away from.

This revised edition was written just after the 2008 "financial crisis" and gives quite a bit of background information as to its causes. It should serve as a warning that what many always thought of as safe investments (like money market funds and funds of U.S. Treasuries/agencies) have their own set of risks and aren't a guaranteed investment by any means.

Anyone interested in adding fixed income investments to their portfolios (and that should include every investor) should consider this "required reading".
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The right balance in a finance book April 8 2011
By Machsnix - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book fulfills the authors stated purpose to write a comprehensive book on bond without getting mired in MBA speak. The author certainly has plenty of (Wall) street cred. She does a very good job of detailing "risk" in bond which is often overlooked by those not familiar with fixed income instruments. I bought it primarily as a reference but it is eminently readable as well. Another excellent book on bonds is, "The Only Guide to a Winning Bond Strategy...." by, Larry Swedroe. Despite the somewhat inflated title it is also a good no-nonsense book as are all of Larry's previous offerings.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books out there for investing period. Nov. 17 2012
By Ed Gentile - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is my first review on Amazon. I picked up this book as part of my study program for the Series 65 Exam. This book ranks right up there with Ben Graham's "Securities Analysis"; "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits" by Phillip Fisher; "A History of Interest Rates" by Sidney Homer; and Bernard Baumohl's "The Secrets of Economic Indicators".

Thau's book contains some historical perspective comparing bonds to stocks, and various classes of bonds: Treasuries, Muni's, and Corporates. The author also gives her two cents with regards to rating agencies and how they are compensated by the issuer creating a "conflict of interest environment" and contributed to the 2008 meltdown. And some of us know that a similar scenerio played out during the mid 1990's, where compensation was tied to research analysts and investment banking clients during the "Internet Bubble" in the area of equities. After the "Interent Bubble" burst in 2000, and the decline in the NASDAQ, followed by the accounting scandals involving Enron and WorldComm to name a few that came to the foreground, did research analysis and compensation become seperated from investment banking and the fees generated by such deals. The book's importance is that the bond market is 3x the size of the stock market as indicated by the author - so this area of investing and its impact is too big to ignore.

For those investors out there that do not own this book: BUY IT! Even if you don't invest in bonds. THE BOND BOOK by Annette Thau is simply a must read for anyone interested in the Financial Markets.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best on this subject April 28 2011
By Folkman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is the best text out there on the subject of bonds. It is complete and well written. Straight forward and easy to understand.
I have read others, but this is the one I refer to over and over again. It won't teach you how to become rich (any investment book that makes that claim isn't worth buying) but it will tell you how to safely invest your fixed income allocation within the complex debt market.
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