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Winning the Loser's Game [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Charles D. Ellis
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 5 2004
By far the best book on investment policy.—Peter Drucker

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Review

"This is by far the best book on investment policy and management." ---Peter Drucker on earlier edition of Winning the Loser's Game --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

A updated edition of Charles Ellis’s classic book---based on the seminal article that has stood the test of time for more than a quarter century.
 All data, figures and charts have been updated
 Historical analysis of P-E ratios and what they mean to long run investing
 Why the S&P outperforms over 85% of all active fund managers
 The paradox of investing
 The importance of performance measurement
 Techniques to profit from for the long haul
 Tactics to build healthy long term portfolios
 Why emotion can ruin an investors’ portfolio --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hits the nail right on the head Oct. 11 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book stresses one of the most important "secrets" to long term investing success, that of not losing money on a particular investment. Warren Buffet also stresses this with his two rules of investing (rule number one, never lose money, rule number two, never forget rule number one). Many people think that's a big joke. They don't believe it can be done, and they believe it's worth losing money in search of a huge gain on an investment. Well, it can be done by buying and holding index funds, keeping the self-managed part of your portfolio down to a minimum, and staying away from speculative investments, though what's speculative is in the eye of the beholder. Permanent loss of capital is the single worst thing that can happen to your portfolio. It should be avoided at all costs. Just figure out what that capital could have grown to in an index fund for 20-30 years and you'll see what I mean. This book will help you see that, and contains much other useful information. It really will improve your results, and actually will reduce your time and effort you put into investing, as well as your stress level.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Winning by assuming your readers are losers Nov. 1 2001
Format:Hardcover
"Winning the Loser's Game" is a bit of a mess on several fronts. It primarily fails due to the ill conceived idea and sloppy execution of updating a book originally written for the institutional investor to also address the individual investor. In theory this should have been possible but neither Mr. Ellis nor his editors have invested the necessary effort to do a credible job. Advice for the individual investor is bolted on pretty much at random, with at times hilarious results. For example, the "Managing the Manager" chapter is filled with advice on setting a useful agenda for your quarterly meeting with your investment advisor organization (including criteria for deciding when to fire a portfolio manager!), and the role your investment committee should play in modifying your investment policy. In the same breath, Ellis also advises the individual investor in search of an investment vehicle to check with their employer's pension manager for the names of a few well respected mutual fund companies, for example, Vanguard and American Funds. In short, the entire chapter is for the institutional investor with the exception of this single paragraph on how to find a good mutual fund. Even at that, the advice is laughable. (I'm sure we are all on a first name basis with our employer's pension fund manager.....) This unsuccessful attempt to modify the book for the individual investor continues throughout. Even when Ellis directly discusses the individual investor we discover he is primarily concerned with that class of individual investor with "significant assets", that is, for investors who have retained advisors; not your garden variety working stiff saving for retirement. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Stratigies from the Land that Time Forgot March 29 2000
Format:Hardcover
If you are interested in a well written, easy to understand and a book filled with the fruitful ideas for today's market, DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK! It was written by a fund investment advisor for fund investors. Dry antique investing methods that are totally outdated. If you are planning on taking control of your finances and successfully investing in today's markets, try something different.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Cut-and-Paste Job, Sloppily Executed Feb. 26 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This could have been a good book in that the author has some very valid points. However both he and the editors at McGraw-Hill were quite lazy.
The book was originally written in 1985 with a target audience of professional investment managers and their large clients, such as pension funds and endowments. This 1998 edition was purportedly written for individual investors. Quite frankly, other than chapter 14, "The Individual Investor", it would be hard to tell that there was a change. Even this chapter is repetitive of previous material, including some of the same quotes.
The book is also padded beyond tolerance... in-page large-type quotes from the material in the chapter, numerous blank pages (30, 58, 70, 82, 112, 126, & 134), the same information recast as different tables & charts, and it still only manages to come to 137 pages. It's not clear why McGraw-Hill thinks it's worth [so much]. It's basically a long magazine article.
In addition, my experience is that McGraw-Hills editors have a real editorial quality control problem and it's most egregious in this book in the footnotes. For example: on page 40 the text refers to the "real" risk-free return as being before inflation and then the footnote to that text refers to "real" as being after being corrected for inflation; on page 55 the footnote purports to explain how 1.4 percentage points was calculated viz: "1.2 x 7 percent return on equities over and above the risk-free rate of return = 1.4 percent incremental return." (huh?); and (a nitpick, I know, but indicitive of their sloppiness) chapter 12 has two footnotes #3.
The author states that the book was written over an extended period in a social club in London and hotels and flights between Johannesburg, San Francisco, Chicago, Nairobi, Princeton, Maine, Bermuda, Vail, Boston, New York City, Atlanta, and his home. Perhaps if he had stayed in one spot it wouldn't have been so disjoint. The buying public deserves better.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Time Changes Facts?
Index Mutual Funds worked in the high growth era of the 1990's, but have been bad news since. Therefore, the theory that an investor wastes his time by choosing a manager-run... Read more
Published on July 9 2002 by Richard E. Kemmler
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best of all primers on investment
Charles Ellis takes as his premise the applicability of the Efficient Markets Hypothesis, not as a dogma, nor even necessarily as an explanatory model, but as an immensely powerful... Read more
Published on Aug. 23 2001 by Oliver Kamm
3.0 out of 5 stars Pithy but repetitive
As someone just beginning to read books about finance and investment, I found this book interesting but repetitive. Read more
Published on May 20 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Investing
I found this book to be very helpful-one of the best financial books I have ever read. The book is written so that someone who has recently begun investing can pick up the... Read more
Published on July 19 2000 by Geoff Wieczynski
5.0 out of 5 stars Avoid Stalled Thinking about Beating the Market
This book is based on a famous article written by Mr. Ellis in 1975, "The Loser's Game," that showed why professional money managers are unable to beat the market... Read more
Published on July 3 2000 by Donald Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars "Get rich slowly"
It is a rare experience to read a book where you are repeatedly saying "yes, that is it". This made me do it over and over again. Read more
Published on Oct. 14 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Cuts through all the hype about "beating the market" !
A wonderful update of a classic! I give this book to all my clients (I am a financial planner) as the foundation for thinking about their portfolio and how they look at... Read more
Published on Oct. 7 1999 by Brown Dog
5.0 out of 5 stars Brief, clear and wise
Learning how to invest successfully is a challenge because there is so much mis-information in the published literature. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A serious (there should be no other kind) investor must-read
As a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and President/Founder of a multi-office Registered Investment Advisory firm, I have highly recommended this book to clients. Mr. Read more
Published on Jan. 4 1999 by Michael
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