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on 3 May 2012
This is a great investment book which in my view should be read by all new investors who aim to 'play the markets'. I wish I had been able to read it twenty years ago rather than having to learn many of the lessons in Monkey with a Pin the hard way.

A strength of the book is its detailed analysis of the horrifying costs levied by the financial services industry. There are also interesting chapters on the historical returns from cash and introductory descriptions of ETFs, Investment Trusts etc..

Although the book is written in very clear prose and is suitable for novice investors even experienced investors will learn a great deal from Monkey with a Pin.

The main message of the book is that stock picking by amateur investors is a losers game and that the internal costs of active funds are generally much higher than the quoted annual management charge.

I would rate the book in the same league as Winning the Losers Game, Smarter Investing and Index Investing for Dummies.
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on 22 February 2013
I'm not the type of person to give a totally negative review about most books and I've tried to avoid giving one for this. The positives of this book are that 1)the author has actually been bothered to do something and write about it and 2)The prose and style of the book are nicely written.
The negatives are that the authors research and understanding are in many cases badly flawed. He clearly does not understand averages and the concept of random chance (monkey with a pin). He does not understand how dividends are taxed in the UK (inside or outside an ISA). He has the nasty habit of making up or guessing information which he does not know (although in fairness he does say this and explain how he has guessed at what he uses), one of the most glaring examples of this is how he uses returns on the Taiwan stock market as a basis to guess what professional investors skill levels are worth on the LSE.
This is a shame because the cosy world of fund managers and financial advisors probably needs a bit of a stir but this book doesn't have the evidential rigour to do that.
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on 9 May 2012
Pete Conley's well-researched, thought-provoking book is essential reading for all private investors, whether experienced or new starters. Even if you think you're pretty savvy on investment issues, the breadth of the investment options he covers, the clear explanations, the dispassionate style, the ability to de-mystify investment language all contribute to its overall readability.
I've been investing for many years, read the Money broadsheet sections and the odd investment book, but I learnt a lot from this book and the points Pete Conley raises will stick with me whenever I ponder any further investment decisions. His recommendations for the investment industry and for regulators are extremely well-judged and one vainly hopes that these two cosy worlds will take notice. In the meantime we have a new champion for a fair deal for private investors. Shareholders seem to be waking up and moving towards some sort of spring recently. Maybe this book is the kick-start for hundreds of thousands of ripped-off private investors. Let's chase up our investment managers to respond to the main points of this book and tell us what action they intend to take to protect the interests of their customers instead of those of the big investment companies. Well done Pete Conley.
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on 24 April 2012
Monkey with a Pin is a fascinating read for any private investor looking to invest either directly themselves or through a fund manager. It exposes many of the fraudulent practises within the UK investment industry and offers easy to understand advice to ensure that private investors put the odds back in their favour.
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on 22 April 2013
A great deal of research must have been put into this book. I wish that I had read something like this years ago, it could have saved me a lot of money.
I would certainly recommend reading this book if you 'dabble' in shares.
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on 8 August 2013
An excellent book. My own experience over 20 years investing had lead me to the same (painful) conclusions!

Later, I chose myself as my adviser....it has taken some effort but all the tools i needed, i found. I don't need advice from the financial services industry. The sooner the majority of these incompetent advisors "move on" the better.

Thank You for writing the book....hopefully it will be another spark that ignites major changes in this industry.
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on 4 May 2012
The universal reaction after reading this book is going to be, I wish I had read it years ago, and mine was no exception.

Being completely detached from the Finance industry, and a seasoned researcher trained to sift fact from mantra, gives Pete Comely a unique vantage point of the industry - everything in the book is based on solid evidence, and will save you from being ripped off by the "professionals" every step of the way. There is no agenda, theme or conjecture; just plain facts that most of us simply don't know and are blissfully kept in the dark about.

I consider myself a seasoned investor who has read loads about the topic, but this book showed me how ignorant I had hitherto been; I wish it was the very first book I had ever read before venturing into investing, to truly understand the game the individual and institutional sharks all around you constantly play.

It gives you a clear understanding of how the industry works, and far from putting anyone off, is likely to make us all much more adept at avoiding pitfalls, and making profits for ourselves not third parties. Pete has no agenda and does not even want to charge for his time and effort in researching and writing this book, which is truly admirable and reflects his sincerity. This is certainly the best book I have read on the subject, and no one even remotely connected with money matters can afford to ignore it.
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on 15 October 2012
I bought and read this book after hearing about it on the radio. Superbly researched and detailed. It has real integrity. After 25 years of investing, this is the best financial book I have ever read. Forget about reading the ads that invite you to invest in funds which are described in glowing terms. Instead try looking at all their funds, especially those that have vanished from view after being plugged years ago. These investment houses continually make money even if your investment does not. I have permanently changed my investment strategy as a result of reading this book, IT IS THE VERY BEST INVESTMENT THAT HAVE EVER MADE.
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on 21 November 2014
Great book, and I got it as a free download. Confirms what I suspected, that if making money from shares was easy, everybody would be rich. But it covers a wider and more complex message than that. A good mixture of evidence and opinion, and quite clear about which is which. My only reservation is that it is so sobering that it may entirely put people off share investment, though that may not be a bad thing in some cases.
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on 26 April 2016
I wanted to learn more about how investments worked and this was a great introduction. Engaging and informative. I would recommend it to anyone without a financial background who is thinking of investing in the markets for the first time.
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