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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

Product Details

Product Description


"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.

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
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
"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
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best of all primers on investment Aug. 23 2001
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 prescriptive model. Financial markets are *highly* efficient, and it is exceptionally difficult to identify opportunities for arbitrage (riskless profit) within them. For the individual, retail investor the best course by far is to accept that investing is what Ellis calls "a loser's game". By this he means that - in his own analogy - successful investing is more like amateur tennis than professional tennis: in professional tennis the winner is the one who has the best technique and the greatest skill; in amateur tennis, the winner is the one who makes fewest mistakes. Investing ought to start with the axiom that managing risk (which is what drives investment returns) is immeasurably more important than seeking market inefficiencies (if such exist), while trading on 'tips' is an almost guaranteed way to make yourself poorer.
Ellis explains in non-technical but never simplistic language the essentials of a rational approach to portfolio construction and management. He has a particular gift for explaining highly abstruse notions in modern portfolio theory and making them sound like common sense. This is a necessary and important book in a field plagued by charlatans. I recommend to anyone seeking to maximise his wealth over the long run.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Avoid Stalled Thinking about Beating the Market July 3 2000
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
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 averages in 90 percent of the cases. In fact, the harder they try, the more likely they are to lose by increasing trading costs and mistiming their trades. The first two editions of this book were aimed at providing solutions to that dilemma for professional money managers. Mr. Ellis provides consulting advice to such professional money managers, and is in a good position to know what he is talking about. This edition is aimed at the needs of the neophyte individual investor. It is especially timely as we near the end of 2 decades of almost continual bull markets for equities.
The beauty of this book is that it is simple and easy to understand. Ellis designed it for anyone who has a genuine interest in getting good investment results, is willing to develop an appreciation for market fundamental, and has the discipline to pick an approach and stick to it.
In various chapters, the book describes why professionals do so poorly, and how the individual can have the same problems if not careful.
The key points of the book are that you need to establish your long-term investment objectives in writing, and with the expert advice of professionals, determine a well-reasoned and realistic set of investment plans that can help you achieve your objectives. You should set your asset mix at the highest ratio of equities you can afford financially and emotionally for the long-term. However you do this, don't try to beat the market. That's a loser's game.
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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
2.0 out of 5 stars A Cut-and-Paste Job, Sloppily Executed
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. Read more
Published on Feb. 26 2002
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 "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. 13 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. 11 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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