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Unconventional Success: A Fundamental Approach to Personal Investment [Hardcover]

David F. Swensen
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 20.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 July 2005
In UNCONVENTIONAL SUCCESS, investment legend David Swensen reveals why the for-profit mutual fund industry consistently fails the average investor, from its excessive management and incentive fees to the frequent 'churning' of portfolios that forces investors to pay higher taxes. Perhaps most destructive of all are flagrant schemes designed to thwart regulators and further erode portfolios, limiting investor choice and reducing returns. Swensen's solution? A 'contrarian' investment alternative that creates more diversified, equity-oriented, 'market-mimicking' portfolios that minimize loss and reward the investor with the courage to stay the course. Swensen backs up his unconventional proposal with well-documented evidence supporting not-for-profit investment management companies such as Vanguard and advice on steering clear of poorly constructed funds. Bottom line? Swensen provides the guidance and financial know-how for improving the personal investor's bottom line.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd; annotated edition edition (30 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743228383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743228381
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.2 x 3.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 166,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Unfortunately, at the bottom of our industry -- money management -- there is a rather thick layer of muck, and Swensen's "Unconventional Success" rakes through this muck in spectacular fashion and great detail. It is the truth, the whole truth, and the very ugly truth. If you want to avoid the snares that lurk in money management, and save yourself lots of money, you must read it." -- Jeremy Grantham, Chairman of GMO

About the Author

David F Swensen is Yale University's CIO and manages the university's USD7 billion dollar endowment as well as several hundreds of millions of dollars in other investment funds. He also serves as a trustee and director on various investment boards and teaches at Yale.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
John Maynard Keynes wrote, "Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good perspective 12 April 2006
Format:Hardcover
Swensen is undeniably a realist and a cynic at the same time. I read this book as part of my MBA program and found his perspective very interesting and insightful. I now have a much better understanding of the overall investment business and why there are so many hand tailored suits on Wall Street. By reading this book, you will be able to choose your investment vehicles with both eyes open.

The only negative is he could have made his message easier to understand without forcing the use of every word in the English dictionary.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An academic thesis 4 Jan 2009
By Mark
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As the title suggests, this book is an academic thesis on the failure of mutual funds. It is not a guide to personal investment for the amateur. It is written in a style of english I last saw twenty five years ago at university and is not an easy read. My final criticism relates to me being a UK Investor. Much of the criticism relates to the taxation status of mutual funds in the US which does not apply in the UK. Also charges are dealt with differently in the UK so this aspect is largely irrelevant as well. Having said all that he makes a good case for sticking to index funds and rebalancing, which is common sense good advice for the amateur.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Asset Allocation Geeks 8 Mar 2011
By DigiTAL
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
David Swenson is the Chief Investing Officer of the high-flying Yale Endowment; this is his book for personal investors (Pioneering Portfolio Management is aimed at institutional investors).

As you might expect from the author's pedigree, this is high-grade investment advice. I only recommend this book to those who positively enjoy thinking about investments, as it goes into a lot of topics in quite some depth. That said, for investment geeks like me, it really was a pleasure to read.

What I like about Swenson is that he doesn't tow any one particular line towards the markets. A lot of personal investing gurus take a hard-line efficient markets stance to justify low-cost passive investing. Swenson disagrees with this -- most of his university's investments are actively managed -- and yet he points out how high costs and misaligned interests make most mutual funds a bad bet for investors. These facts justify low-cost passive investing whether you believe in efficient markets or not. He points out the dangers of investing with for-profit fund companies, and encourages investors to use non-for-profit companies, such as TIAA-CREF and Vanguard (the latter has recently open a U.K. branch).

Probably my favourite section is when he outlines the requirements that a value-adding actively managed mutual fund should follow. There really are a number of them, and it goes to show why there are so few good active managers available to the retail investor.

I'll just note that the author has recently raised his recommended allocation to emerging markets from 5% to 10%.
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