Top critical review
The literary equivalent of "Never meet your heroes"
Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2018
Jack Bogle is a hero of mine. I may not be the most fanatical Boglehead, but (i) I regard his achievements with awe, (ii) I've been a Vanguard client more or less since I emigrated to the US and (iii) his mantra of "keep the costs low" has been mine as well for more decades than I care to recall.
Alas, this book was a big disappointment. (i) It is a continuous stream of conceit. There's no denying his superlative achievements, but this book reads like an arrogant twenty-something's LinkedIn posting. (ii) The book is desperately short of objectivity He relentlessly presents every argument he can find in support of his own ideology, but the only references to arguments against are to those that he feels he can knock down. (iii) His references to performance are all based on comparative returns, but he makes no mention of comparative volatility.
This book would have been *so* much better if it had been written by an outsider. (i) The inevitable huge praise for Vanguard would have come across as much more seemly than the boastful tone to which the reader is subjected here. (ii) The reader would (I hope) have been presented with a much more objective viewpoint. (iii) The points against the Bogle approach would have been evaluated more fairly. I have little doubt that Bogle would have been described as a vitally important and beneficial force in the investment world and that would have carried so much more credibility coming from an outsider than coming from Bogle himself.
Your achievements speak for themselves, Jack: you do yourself no favours with such unbridled bragging.