A guide to financial investment without entrusting personal savings to professional advisers, which can result in under-performance and excessive charges.
Fortunately, the Fool also explains, in words of one syllable, how to work the system to your advantage. So even the most financially dim--yours truly included--should be able to understand. In fact, it is only the style of the book that may cause problems, as the relentless schoolboy humour does get irritating after a while. But stick with it, because you don't get information like this anywhere else, and the book has something for everyone--from those just looking to make one good decision about their finances before forgetting about the whole thing, to those who want to take a more active role. This book may not save you a fortune, but it could just make you one. --John Crace
Obviously, you can't.
But then, at the ridiculous price Amazon is discounting here, you don't have much to lose if you do buy this all-you-ever-needed-to-know about-investment-but-couldn't-be-bothered-to-ask book.
So, let's say you buy it. Then, suppose it's no good. What do you do? Kick yourself, of course, for wasting roughly the price of a Chicken Tikka Masala and chips, then chuck the book on the compost heap (don't include the cover -- it won't biodegrade) and get on with life. You're only a few quid down and at least you've learnt never to trust anyone in a jester cap again.
Just suppose, on the other hand, that this book is so well-written, funny in some parts and compelling in others that you manage to read it right through, something you'd never have imagined you could do with a book on investment. Suppose also that the Foolish message of self-reliance, the power of small amounts of money saved over time to grow to humungous proportions and the revelation that you can do far better than your financial adviser are all true. Suppose, finally, the book reveals that it's not all as complicated as the professionals want you to think, that perhaps they really are in it for what they can make out of you and perhaps you really could manage your savings yourself. If it's all true, then this book will change your life.
The problem is, though, that I'm one of the authors and you can't believe anything I say. So where does this leave you, the reader?
But since you can't trust me, the answer's probably this: don't, whatever you do, buy this book!
Just forget it! Don't buy it, OK? Don't buy it, do not buy it, forego the purchasing experience herewith offered to you, cease to consider this tome as a factor in your acquisitory strategy. It is not for you. Instead, visit a financial adviser and pay out lots of luvverly lolly out for the privilege of so-called 'advice' which will net the adviser a big fat commission and you an underperforming investment. And while you're about it, ignore the views of Sir Mark Weinberg, why don't you? He's the chap who drew up the 1986 Financial Services Act and now believes that it is totally wrong for 'Independent Financial Advisers' who take commission to be allowed to call themselves 'Independent'. Forget about learning ways to invest in simple stockmarket investments which trounce 90% of the professionals. Don't bother with finding out how to pick shares in common companies whose products you use every day. The incredible truth behind pensions and annuities? Forget it -- you don't need this stuff.
In fact, now I'm sorry I ever wrote the thing. I take it all back. Just promise me, whatever you do, that you won't buy this book.
I was expecting it to be an anglicized version of the original Motley Fool Investment Guide, which is an excellent book but aimed at the US market. Unfortunately it's an entirely new book, written from scratch.
The US book starts from the basics but works its way up to some pretty heady stuff (such as shorting stocks - way out of my league). The British book, on the other hand, also starts from the basics but doesn't get much beyond them. It is well padded with irritating schoolboy humour and I couldn't help feeling that a lot more information could have been included if the humour had been cut back.
On the plus side it's very down to earth, a good solid introduction to shares. No outlandish claims of being able to generate instant wealth. Two share selection strategies are covered (could have done with a bit more detail here I felt, but still gives you an idea of how to go about it). The first is going for the great and the good - huge, well-known, well managed companies. The other is a mechanical stock selection strategy, Beating the Footsie (aka Beating the Dow).
Up to here I'd say that you could probably pick up the same info for free from the Motley Fool UK website. The bit that prompted me to go from 2 stars to 3 was the Bits and Bobs section at the end. This is not about the stock market at all, but was for me the part of the book that was the most use (given that I'd read the original US investment guide and also browsed the Fool websites). Here is some really good info on mortgages, PPPs, ISAs and the like. Even if you never bother with the share side of this book it would still be worth it because it could save you thousands on your mortgage.
For a more informative and in-depth look at shares I would suggest the Motley Fool UK Investment Workbook (a lot more info and a lot less humour) and the Zulu Principle by Jim Slater.
If you are tired of throwing your money out the window, buy this book!
Everything is explained in easy language. The section on Index Tracking is amazing - and if you have no idea what I'm talking about, this is the perfect book to take you through it step by step. I even relish reading the Financial Times now I know what its all about.
I spent a whole weekend reading The Motley Fool - it was a better read than Jackie Collins, I just could not put it down.
The second half is a bit weaker. This covers buying, selling and selecting shares. Although some of the theories of the stockmarket are sound, the techniques for selecting shares are amateur and I think all the recommendations have since gone down in value.
I'm still giving this book five stars, just for the first half alone, but if you are only interested in stocks and shares I would read A Random Walk Down Wall St and Jim Slater's The Zulu Principle instead.