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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing it down to earth, 24 July 2007
By 
Adam Smith (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Simple But Not Easy: An Autobiographical and Biased Book About Investing (Hardcover)
When you are jaded and dispirited with your lack of success with the MACD, the RSI, and Bollinger Bands, and suchlike hocus pocus, give yourself the equivalent of a refreshing cold shower with this gem of a book. It is full of rigorous commonsense and written in the most readable manner. I unhesitatingly recommend it to anyone interested in investment. After reading it, you will once again be able to see the wood for the trees. Mr Oldfield's autobiographical style is most refreshing and amusing: I am sure you will learn a lot from this book, and its a damned good read to boot. You cannot say that about many books on investment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very well written, self-deprecating and thoroughly entertaining, 10 Nov 2008
This review is from: Simple But Not Easy: An Autobiographical and Biased Book About Investing (Hardcover)
As other reviewers have stated, on the face of it, this book is nothing more than a commonsense explanation of the principles of investment. So on that basis I wouldn't recommend it as a guide to investment. However, what it is really is a very well written, self-deprecating and thoroughly entertaining autobiography. Therefore I highly recommend it as an enjoyable read, whether or not you have any particular interest in investment.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple but not easy, 4 July 2007
By 
LMW (West Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Simple But Not Easy: An Autobiographical and Biased Book About Investing (Hardcover)
"And what do you do?"

"I'm an investment manager."

"How nice." Pause. Slight embarrassment.
"I'm afraid I don't know anything about
investment."

Simple but not easy, which Richard Oldfield describes as a slightly autobiographical and heavily biased book about investing, has plenty of interest to the experienced professional, and is aimed also at the interested amateur investor. The theme of this book is that investment is simpler than non-professionals think it is in that the rudiments can be expressed in ordinary English, and picked up by anybody. It is not a science. But investment is also difficult. People on the outside tend to think that anyone on the inside should be able to do better than the market indices. This is not so. Picking the managers who are likely to do better is a challenge.

Richard Oldfield begins with a candid confession of some of his worst mistakes, and what they have taught him. He discusses the different types of investment, why fees matter, and the importance of measuring performance properly. He also outlines what to look for, and what not to look for, in an investment manager, when to fire a manager, and how to be a successful client.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, 12 Feb 2008
By 
Louis V. Gave "LouisGave" (Hong Kong) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Simple But Not Easy: An Autobiographical and Biased Book About Investing (Hardcover)
Common knowledge states that a smart person learns from his mistakes. Of course, a very smart person learns from other people's mistakes. This may be why Richard Oldfield starts off his very enjoyable book, "Simple, But Not Easy", enumerating the different ways he has lost money in the financial markets. Richard Oldfield obviously hopes to prevent his reader from falling into the same pot holes that he encountered. But at the same time, by starting his book with an enumeration of his various mistakes, Richard Oldfield also:
- Creates an immediate bond with his reader who will likely respond with thoughts along the lines of "yep. I've done that" or "that reminds me of the time I bought X".
- Establishes his immediate credibility as a money manager. Indeed, if nothing else, managing money teaches one humility and, as Mr Oldfield points out towards the end of his book, investors who consistently talk up their gains are rarely the most successful over the long-term.

Having established both his credibility and a bond with the reader by the end of the first chapter, the author can then proceed to the task at hand, namely share the rules he picked up in over thirty years of investing, first as a fund manager for Warburg and Mercury, then as the CIO of a London-based family office and finally as the general partner of his own firm, Oldfield Partners.

Over the years, the author has obviously amassed a treasure trove of interesting quotes and surprising facts that he brings out to further a point, or simply make the book a lighter read. Indeed, books on financial markets and "how to invest without losing your shirt" can rapidly become tedious or preachy. Simple but Not Easy avoids this fate. Instead, the book is a highly entertaining read for anyone; even seasoned investment professionals will find nuggets of wisdom to ponder.

Beyond seasoned investors, the books' true audience is probably amateur investors and people who want to learn more about finance. Indeed, the chapters on the "types of investments"--or "hedge funds" or the "importance of fees" or "the importance of valuations"-- will most likely offer the average investor facts which, over the years, should have already been acquired. Still, even in materials which by this point should have been accumulated, I found pearls of knowledge that I had previously overlooked.

The book's subtitle, An Autobiographical and Biased Book About Investing perfectly announces the tone. Readers of Simple but Not Easy get to walk through Richard Oldfield's interesting career, meet the interesting characters that populate the world of money management, and learn the rules that have served the author well.

These rules are very much that of a "value investor". Richard Oldfield shows that he has no problems buying more of a stock, or a market that has fallen a lot. He also thrives on investing in sectors or countries about which investors have forgotten. He remains wary of crowds as, inevitably, the excess of capital has to lead, down the road, to lower returns on capital. One idea which permeates the book is that capital tends to only be rewarded when it is scarce....

In a sense, maybe this is the "simple" part of investing. The "not easy" part comes in distinguishing whether capital is scarce because the prospects for a given company, industry or country stink; or because the market has simply overlooked a great opportunity.

One thing any investor will not want to overlook is purchasing this book and reading it. The book is a very enjoyable, light read and can easily be digested over a couple of long flights.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars let the truth be told, 11 Dec 2007
This review is from: Simple But Not Easy: An Autobiographical and Biased Book About Investing (Hardcover)
After 10 years myself in the investment banking industry, I have but one suggestion for you all... burn this book. Its going to do us all out of a job!

It is a very unconventional book about investing because its an easy read and explains concepts in plain english. Its the kind of common sense stuff that Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham have touted for years but few seem to listen.

Mr Oldfield has explained to me quite simply why when I invest directly in good companies I out perform the index but when I give my money to a fund manager more than often I underperform!

I suggest reading this together with "how to make money in stocks" by William O'Neil and "the intelligent investor" by Benjamin Graham. Its all you need as an long term investor to do well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars That rare thing: a shrewd book about investment that's entertaining too, 4 Jun 2014
By 
Nat Whilk (Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Simple But Not Easy: An Autobiographical and Biased Book About Investing (Hardcover)
It's both funny and sad that many of us will spend more time comparing tins of baked beans than we will thinking about different ways of investing. Yes, the mere idea of learning about equities, bonds, hedge funds and index tracking can be enough to give people a headache, but understanding the rudiments of asset management is tremendously important. A little financial savvy can mean the difference between an old age spent in anxious poverty and retiring in security and comfort.

What's special about Richard Oldfield's book isn't just that it's full of good advice - there are probably dozens of investment books equally astute - but that it makes enlightenment so painless. It's hugely self-mocking, richly anecdotal and often very amusing - there are even some cartoons by James Burgess to drive home its many lessons. You could read it in a single afternoon, and you would have learned most of the basic wisdom of investment technique without going anywhere near your paracetamol.

I've withheld a fifth star because in my opinion, the book does have one drawback: several chapters are aimed mainly at readers looking for a boutique manager to take care of a substantial fortune, and I imagine that very few people will find these especially relevant to them. But the bulk of what Richard has to say should benefit all investors, however small. Ethics matter; the unthinkable happens; forecasting is folly; past performance really is no guide to the future; if something looks too good to be true, it probably is: absorb these and the many other simple truths that Richard offers, and you're almost certain to profit from them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny!, 18 Aug 2011
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This review is from: Simple But Not Easy: An Autobiographical and Biased Book About Investing (Hardcover)
Richard Oldfield is extremely refreshing, something that often lacks within the world of investment literature. I would recommend this book for anyone, whether a part time enthusiast or an experienced investor, this book will have something for you. I can safely save that this is one book that I will read again and again in the years to come.
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