Don't Count on It!: Reflections on Investment Illusions, Capitalism, "Mutual" Funds, Indexing, Entrepreneurship, Idealism, and Heroes Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Reflections on investment illusions, capitalism, "mutual" funds, indexing, entrepreneurship, idealism, and heroes
Throughout his legendary career, John Bogle - founder of the Vanguard mutual fund group and creator of the first index mutual fund - has helped investors build wealth the right way, while, at the same time, leading a tireless campaign to restore common sense to the investment world. A collection of essays based on speeches delivered to professional groups and college students in recent years, Don't Count on It is organized around eight themes:
- Illusion versus reality in investing
- Indexing to market returns
- Failures of capitalism
- The flawed structure of the mutual fund industry
- The spirit of entrepreneurship
- What is enough in business, and in life
- Advice to America's future leaders
- The unforgettable characters who have shaped his career
Widely acclaimed for his role as the conscience of the mutual fund industry and a relentless advocate for individual investors, in Don't Count on It, Bogle continues to inspire, while pushing the mutual fund industry to measure up to their promise
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|Listening Length||22 hours and 49 minutes|
|Author||John C. Bogle|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||July 09, 2020|
|Best Sellers Rank||
#253,327 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#2,043 in Investing & Trading
#2,866 in Personal Finance (Audible Books & Originals)
#9,989 in Finance (Books)
Top reviews from the United States
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Without divulging too much detail about the book, here's a relatively short guide to Bogle's topics. The seven parts of the book address:
1. Investment illusions. For example, as Bogle makes clear mutual funds taken as a whole simply cannot earn the markets' returns--because mutual funds have their own expenses. Indeed, Bogle's simple formula--net returns to investors = gross returns on assets minus the costs of operating the financial system--is pretty obvious, but one that investors tend to forget. Another illusion cited by Bogle is that mutual fund investors actually earn the returns of their funds. That is, if the XYZ mutual fund earns an average annual return of 8% over a 10-year period, chances are that XYZ's shareholders didn't achieve that 8% annual return, due to the well-documented tendency of investors to add to their investments when they feel optimistic (and markets are high) and reduce their investments when they feel pessimistic (and markets are low). Simply put, buying high and selling low reduces one's return.
2. The failure of capitalism. Bogle is actually a champion of capitalism, not some anti-capitalist critic. However, Bogle maintains that self interest and free markets alone won't necessarily guide an economy effectively. Rather, he says, there is a need for a broad fiduciary standard applicable to market participants, so that corporate managers, brokers, etc. put the interests of their shareholders and clients before themselves. (Some would argue that sufficient fiduciary standards already exist, but Bogle doesn't buy that argument.)
3. What's wrong with "mutual" funds? For starters, Bogle observes that "mutual" typically refers to an entity that's owned by its participants. In that case, only the Vanguard Group of mutual funds, Bogle maintains, is truly "mutual." Surprise, surprise--Bogle helped found the Vanguard Group.
4. What's right with indexing? Traditional indexing has taken a lot of flack in recent years, so Bogle (who helped start the indexing movement) fights back. He says the intellectual theory of indexing is not dependent on the notion of "efficient" markets, but rather on the concepts of low cost, diversification and tax efficiency. I admire Bogle as an honest and passionate advocate for investors, but I should note that not everyone will agree about the importance of the efficiency argument to the concept of indexing.
5. Entrepreneurship and innovation. I am taking more of your time than I planned, so I'll become briefer. In this part of the book, expect yet more of Bogle's characteristic idealism concerning the determinants of innovation.
6. Idealism and the new generation. Here we go again. More of Bogle's passionate arguments.
7. Heroes and mentors. We all owe a lot to those who have inspired and guided us, and here Bogle describes four men who were influential to him: Walter Morgan, Paul Samuelson, Peter Bernstein and Bernard Lown.
In conclusion, if you are an investor who is concerned about the economic and investing environment in which you participant, and if you are not already familiar with John Bogle's thoughtful commentaries on a host of relevant topics, then this book would be well worth your careful consideration.
I thought one of the most telling points here was Bogle's observation that the word "risk" has been re-defined by the financial industry to mean "the chance of losing a customer" instead of "the chance that a customer will lose his money." In spite of observations like that, he encourages his readers to learn how the financial system works and to continue to invest in index funds of stocks and bonds. In the process, he defends this conclusion admirably with facts and data. All in all, an unblinking, sober assessment of the financial system in the U.S.A.
Note figures and tables don't show up well on Kindle (they're too small to be easily read). It's almost a wash whether it's worth it for the ease and convenience of reading on a small, portable electronic device, or you'd be better off hauling around dead trees and scanning figures and tables without a magnifying glass.
Top reviews from other countries
My only criticism is that it is somewhat repetitive, being based on a a number of past articles and speeches by the author. As a result it is rather long.