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Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life Hardcover – November 10, 2008
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Throughout his legendary career, John C. Bogle-founder of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group and creator of the first index mutual fund-has helped investors build wealth the right way and led a tireless campaign to restore common sense to the investment world. Along the way, he's seen how destructive an obsession with financial success can be. Now, with Enough., he puts this dilemma in perspective.
Inspired in large measure by the hundreds of lectures Bogle has delivered to professional groups and college students in recent years, Enough. seeks, paraphrasing Kurt Vonnegut, "to poison our minds with a little humanity." Page by page, Bogle thoughtfully considers what "enough" actually means as it relates to money, business, and life.
- Reveals Bogle's unparalleled insights on money and what we should consider as the true treasures in our lives
- Details the values we should emulate in our business and professional callings
- Contains thought-provoking life lessons regarding our individual roles in society
Written in a straightforward and accessible style, this unique book examines what it truly means to have "enough" in world increasingly focused on status and score-keeping.
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Amazon.com Exclusive: William J. Bernstein on Enough
William Bernstein, Ph.D., M.D. is the critically acclaimed author, financial theorist and historian whose books include A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World, The Birth of Plenty, The Four Pillars of Investing, and The Intelligent Asset Allocator. Bernstein is frequently quoted in national publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Money, and Forbes.
If you are wondering about the cause of the current market crisis, then you haven't been reading enough of Jack Bogle.
Because he certainly knows not only where, but why and how. For decades Jack has been communicating his disquiet in previous books, speeches, and public testimony. Years from now, when historians and investors dissect the economic and market meltdowns of 2008, they'll consult this slim, well-written volume.
In order to understand the intellectual and moral platform from which he surveys the economic wreckage, you need to know a little of his story. Bogle founded one of the world's great investment companies, the Vanguard Group. Most men in his situation would have levered such success into a multi-billion-dollar net worth; instead, he "mutualized" Vanguard, converting it, in effect, into a nonprofit organization whose only goal was to benefit its fund holders. From an ethical perspective, Vanguard is the only "investment company" worthy of that name. (As opposed to most financial firms, which are in fact "marketing companies" whose main purpose is to milk unwitting investors of fees and commissions.)
The answer to the conundrum of 2008 lies in the book’s title, "Enough," which is the punch line from a delightful Kurt Vonnegut/Joseph Heller story. Simply put, our nation has been suffering from decades of unchecked financial excess, for which we are now paying the piper: excess in investment company fees; excess in financial speculation masquerading as diversification and innovation; excess in the salaries of top executives; excess in salesmanship; and most importantly, excess in the role played by the financial industry in our national economy and national life.
Each of these excesses gets its own chapter, and each one is a tightly written gem. Chapters 2 and 3, which dissect out the frenzy of derivatives, structured vehicles, and layers of intermediation behind the recent collapse, alone justify the book's purchase price.
As Bogle states in the book's beginning, in the spring of 2007 the financial services sector--which, after all, produces nothing of substantive value--accounted for one-third of the earnings of the S&P 500. By the time you read this, this outsized influence will have shrunken drastically. Let Enough be your welcome to the brave new world; it will satisfy your curiosity, give you a sense of moral balance in this most materialistic of ages, and even plump up your investment portfolio.
--William J. Bernstein
Written by John C. Bogle–the legendary founder of the Vanguard Mutual Fund–Enough. offers his unparalleled insights on money, the values we should emulate in our business and professional callings, and what we should consider as the true treasures in our lives. Inspired in large measure by the hundreds of lectures Bogle has delivered to professional groups and college students in recent years, this book will help you discover what it really means to have "enough" and how close you are to really having it.
“’What have I created?’ [Bogle] asks in mock horror in his new book…his cry reflects a deeper personal dilemma, one that jags like a scar through this thoughtful meditation on the excess and greed that created the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. … I applaud his enthusiasm and don’t doubt his wisdom and sincerity. ‘Enough’ – with the period – is a worthy addition to the canon, a variation of his familiar sermon on thrift, simplicity, and the superiority of low-cost index funds.”—James Pressley, Bloomberg News
“Jack Bogle’s passionate cry of Enough. contains a thought-provoking litany of life lessons regarding our individual roles in commerce and society. Employing a seamless mix of personal anecdotes, hard evidence, and all-too-often-underrated subjective admonitions, Bogle challenges each of us to aspire to become better members of our families, our professions, and our communities. Rarely do so few pages provoke so much thought. Read this book.” —David F. Swensen, Chief Investment Officer, Yale University
"We live in a time that values achievement over character. When the two collide, character often takes a back seat and relationships of all kinds are shattered. Bogle observes that while the financial represents the worst of it, what we see today is not just a financial sector problem, but a societal problem. There is really just too much greed everywhere. … Enough is really about discovering what is really important in our lives. " (Michael McKinney, LeadingBlog)
"Bogle is a rarity - a true captain of industry who speaks about complex economic issues in a language comprehensible to the layperson." (Michael Smerconish, The Philadelphia Enquirer)
"Enough shines a light on Bogle's sense of despair over the state of the financial industry, and perhaps industry in general. … From CEOs who implode their companies and float away on golden parachutes, to financial companies who create instruments so complex they themselves have trouble understanding them, to mutual fund companies that market rosy returns while sugarcoating their fees, Bogle sees a lack of integrity and a willingness to play fast and loose with ethical rules in order to make a buck. (Or, maybe more accurate, 150 billion bucks.)" (Justin McHenry, BlogCritics Magazine)
"It's hard to imagine a better time to publish a book that advocates moderation, balance and integrity in the business world. In this wise meditation, Bogle, the folk-hero creator of the first index mutual fund and founder of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group, deplores ‘our worship of wealth and the growing corruption of our professional ethics but ultimately the subversion of our character and values.’ Directly in his sights: CEOs and hedge-fund managers who draw ‘obscene’ compensation. At this time of plunging portfolios, it is a relief to be told that ‘enough’ is within reach." (TIME Magazine)
"I will simply say that it is one of the best business books ('life' books?) I have ever read, an easy All-time Top 10. And its timing is, well, read it yourself ..."
“This is an impressive message from a distinguished businessman. It will challenge all decision makers to consider the sufficiency and direction of their lives and work. What do we mean by Enough? Enough of what? Enough for what purpose? Feast here and reflect.” —Robert F. Bruner, Dean and Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration, Darden Graduate School of Business
“From one ‘battler’ to another: Thank you for putting in one little book the premise for an active, long life. A primer for those who will abjure complacency and just wanting more, who’d rather focus on the joy of trying to move some ball downfield.” —Ira Millstein, Senior Partner, Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP
“The balances one must create in investing, in running a business, and in life more generally are simply and clearly stated in Jack’s most recent book, Enough. Unfortunately there are not enough Jack Bogles around in today’s world of instant gratification. Enough. should be must reading for business students and corporate board members.” —David L. Sokol, Chairman, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company
"Although Enough. is presented in a small volume, John Bogle's wisdom is writ large and profound. The messages are particularly meaningful as we all reel from the moral, economic and financial meltdown that confronts us today.—William H. Donaldson, Former Chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
“[an] engaging, highly readable new book on what went wrong in financial markets in recent years. In the growing canon of "what went wrong" books, Bogle's offering holds a unique place. . . readers will value the common sense packed in these pages.” —Jared Bernstein, Philadelphia Inquirer
- Publisher : Wiley; 1st edition (November 10, 2008)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0470398515
- ISBN-13 : 978-0470398517
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.1 x 1.2 x 7.2 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #613,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Bogle has been my hero for a long time. I had the good fortune to spend one and a half hours with him in his office in Malvern in 2014 and to do a podcast interview of him in 2015. The world lost its greatest steward of investment wealth with his passing in 2019.
Recently I read a wealth advisor’s blog on his commentaries on “enough”. I liked the author’s viewpoints, remembering how it sounded a lot like Bogle. I said, “Time to re-read Enough”.
I have now read this book maybe five times. Agreeing with Tom Peters in the Prologue, “this is the best business book I’ve ever read, and as good a primer on life as I’ve read as well.”
I sought out my previously read copy with its copious highlighting and dog-eared pages. Could not find it. Must have loaned it to a friend. Fortunately, I had another copy on the shelf (I have given this book out a lot over the years!).
When I read, I highlight copiously, yet reserve a “dog-ear” for a page that I find especially insightful. This aids in a quick review of a book--go back a re-read only the turned-over-corner pages. On this reading, I dog-eared eight pages. For this review, I thought I would give a sentence or two on each of these special pages from this most-recent reading.
#1 p. 31 (2010 edition, paperback)
Relates quote from Warren Buffett partner, Charlie Munger, who laments so much “ethical young brain power” going into finance when they could be distinguished by work “providing much more value to others”. Bogle precedes this with “far too many of us seemingly no longer make anything; we’re merely trading pieces of paper”.
#2 p. 85
His commentary on “Fundamental Indexing”, that branch of money managers who recommend you not weight portfolios by market cap, but by using “factors” such as book value, market cap, earnings, etc. He comments that it is not appropriate to say, “value investing wins” when we observe value outperforming in the past. Bogle is consistent here and in all his writings that winning investment performance in the past creates high valuations, making it less likely to win in the future. (This is exactly what has happened to value and many other “factor” approaches since 2008!)
#3. p. 115
This is how Bogle begins his section entitled “The Spirit of Trust”. “My faith in trust goes back to the Golden Rule. We are, after all, implored in the Bible to love our neighbors…” Bogle’s integrity is so high, I am eager to learn of his inspiration and underpinnings. As a Christian, I love that he finds deep truth in the Bible.
#4 p. 123
This is early on in the chapter “Too Much Business Conduct, Not Enough Professional Conduct”. Bogle relays how in times past, a “professional” was someone who was out to do good in the world. Think physician, teacher, attorney, engineer, architect. In today’s age of focus on money, Bogle sees all the professions tempted more by “doing good for me”. He suggests trustees of “other people’s money” are professionals too, but he is not seeing the fruit of it. Bogle writes: “Harvard Business School professor Rakesh Khurana was right on the mark when he defined the conduct of a true professional with these words: ‘I will create value for society, rather than extract it.’”
#5 p. 183
Relates a summary of the book and film, A Civil Action. The story is of corporate-caused water pollution causing multiple leukemia cases in a Massachusetts town. The attorney working for the injured has a transformed life so much so that he loses all his personal wealth in the legal fight. This is to such an extent that the attorney’s bankruptcy judges asks, “Where are the things by which one measures one’s life?” Bogle ends this mini-review reminded of one of his favorite hymns: God of Grace and God of Glory.
He finally inspired me to watch this movie for the first time! It is powerful.
#6 p. 190.
Another reference to his religious foundations:
“I am not at all embarrassed to mention the constructive role of religion in fostering these higher values…the virtues of the Golden Rule, and standards of conduct that parallel the Ten Commandments. We thrive as human beings and as families not by what faith we happen to hold, but by having faith, faith in something far greater than ourselves.”
#7 p. 196
Relates the popular T. S. Eliot quote that I love so much:
“Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust”
#8 p. 224
In the chapter “Not Enough Character”, he gets personal and vulnerable. No doubt, Bogle achieved success and significance in his life. Yet, he is human, and we all at times struggle with our worth.
Excerpt: “Most of us should not have to spend much time wondering whether the rabbits we are chasing are real or false…Yet in the quiet of the evening and sometime loneliness of the soul, many of those who shouldn’t need to wonder about the value of hard work and life well lived doubtless do exactly that. … (Perhaps it will surprise you to learn that I do a lot of lonely wondering about the worth of my own life and career)….We’ll be better human beings and achieve greater things if we challenge ourselves to pursue careers that create value for society—with personal wealth not as the goal, but as the by-product.”
I thoroughly benefitted from my re-read of Enough. I hope to find my earlier dog-eared version to compare the differences in my special pages then v. now.
While most of the ideas presented are timeless, I do wish that some of the facts and figures used in the 2009 book could be updated to current measures (for example, CEO salaries in relation to average employee compensation).
JB was a business genius, but a mediocre writer. Nothing he wrote was especially objectionable and I probably agree with him on 90% of his positions, but the whole thing felt disjointed and didn’t move properly. I got a good sense of the man… and learned that he’s the type of author I would trust with my money. And that’s fine.
They are a must for personal investment finance for retirees and those working toward a healthy retirement.
Top reviews from other countries
This is a brilliant book. In fact, it is almost impossible to locate a serious weakness to criticise. Bogle is 'chatty' in the way that he writes, but in many ways that's part of its charm - as you interact with this highly moral text, it feels as if Jack Bogle is actually talking to you about the issues he highlights.
And - boy - do we need to be talking about this subject! As one who has worked within the personal investment/financial planning sector for 27 years, and viewed with increasing dismay the inexorable procession of initiatives, mostly designed to part individual investors from their personal wealth, this book is almost prophetic in tone.
Bogle deals head-on with our over-complex, unnecessarily expensive, opportunistic and unaccountable financial services culture, and although the book is based upon his first-hand experience of the US, it is remarkably applicable to where we currently are in the UK. This is a book which focuses resolutely on the values which ought to underpin successful outcomes for investors, the kind of values which often appear to be entirely absent from the UK retail financial services culture. Bogle is a man obsessed with clarity and transparency within the investment world, and it shows - I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone serious about delivering good-quality investment outcomes for their clients.
shoddy job of bounding the book. The Over message is very simple. How much wealth is enough ? For some, wealth creation takes priority over every other aspect of life like family and friends, however does it mean that they are happy ? This is premise of the book as John surmises that he has met quite a few wealthy but miserable people in his life and true happiness comes from being happy with what you already have. That's the sine qua non of his life and this book.