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The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-12-2007, 03:13 PM   #1
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The Four Pillars of Investing

William Bernstein's book pops up several times a week on this forum since I joined this board. Yet, I haven't read it. Before I commit myself to spending $20, I have a few questions:

1) Isn't there a single thing wrong about his theory? What didn't you like about this book?

2) Sounds like he's saying that there's no chance of beating the market. Did he mention Warren Buffet at all in his book?

3) Do you follow his method to the letter?

Should I spend TWENTY dollars on this book? Thanks.
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-12-2007, 03:20 PM   #2
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

I think it's the best book I've ever read, out of about 20-30 I've read.

1. What do you propose his theory is? I think it's just a good foundation of information and how to think. I don't think he's saying concrete vs. wood basement for a foundation. He's saying "here's what your foundation should do". Bad analogy perhaps.

2. He's not saying there's no chance... he's saying you don't have very good odds.

3. Again, he proposes several methods, not just one "theory" or "method".

See Book Report - Four Pillars if you haven't already.

-CC
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-12-2007, 03:22 PM   #3
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...hp?topic=661.0

Great book - also get the Intelligent Investor; Btw you might find them in your library system

-h
p.s: I think you are an engineer so you should not have too much problem with the math

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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-12-2007, 03:29 PM   #4
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Btw I would also recommend Bernstien's website: It is not updated as frequently as before.

http://www.efficientfrontier.com/ef/index.shtml

-h

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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-12-2007, 04:46 PM   #5
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

i'm reading this based on nords' recommendation. i am on my 2nd time through it. having never studied much finance before, i feel it is giving me a good understanding of how money works.
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-12-2007, 04:57 PM   #6
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

How do you invest currently? If you are paying high expense ratios, sales loads, or 12b-1 fees, you could probably save much more than $20 in a single month by implementing some of the suggestions outlined in Four Pillars.

If you already are primarily invested in index funds and paying 0.2-0.3% expense ratios, then this book may not benefit you very much. It is a good "fundamentals of investing" book.
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-12-2007, 05:14 PM   #7
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Get it from the library...free! If yours doesnt have it, ask them to order it from another larger nearby library.
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-12-2007, 05:26 PM   #8
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
1) a) Isn't there a single thing wrong about his theory?
He does not propose any single and unique theory. He amalgamates the wisdom of many sources and presents the naturally occurring consequences in plain language for your consideration.


Quote:
1) b) What didn't you like about this book?
It did not include a magic formula to beat the market

Quote:
2) a) Sounds like he's saying that there's no chance of beating the market.
Yup, on average. If that is your criteria for buying an investment book, keep shopping.

Quote:
2) b) Did he mention Warren Buffet at all in his book?
Yup.

Quote:
3) a) Do you follow his method to the letter?
I am not sure what his 'method' is. Please see answer to 1) a)

Quote:
3) b) Should I spend TWENTY dollars on this book? Thanks.
Not unless you want to. I did. I can't imagine a better use of twenty dollars from my own budget.



If you are interested, you should be able to go to Amazon, and browse the inner and outer jacket, as well as about five random pages all in pdf format for free. I would hazard that should clarify your decision for you, as it's prose style and advice is quite consistent.
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-12-2007, 06:54 PM   #9
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Thank you all, guys/gals. I just ordered it from Amazon.

I was kidding about the $20. I was more concerned about the book's worth as far as time spent reading it.
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-12-2007, 07:49 PM   #10
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
Thank you all, guys/gals. I just ordered it from Amazon.

I was kidding about the $20. I was more concerned about the book's worth as far as time spent reading it.
Seriously, you will enjoy it.

8)
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-12-2007, 10:05 PM   #11
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
1) Isn't there a single thing wrong about his theory? What didn't you like about this book?
His ideas are sensible and logical. I picked up a lot of it from reading the diehards forum before I got the book, though. Still, reading it helped me to "think it through", and I still pick it up and read sections now and then. If you aren't convinced when you buy the book, you will be when you finish it.

As to what is wrong with the book.... to tell the truth, parts of it are really slow reading. He goes on and on about stock market event after event out of history to prove his points. I kept thinking, "OK, already, got it, agreed, duh, ANYTHING ELSE to say?" And really, his basic ideas are not that complex because they don't need to be. So he goes on and on demonstrating ideas that seem clear to begin with, and the tedium builds.

Still, it is the only book on investing that I have recommended to my dear friend Frank, despite how tedious it is in certain chapters. I can't give it any higher praise than that.

(I didn't really have anything to say regarding your other questions)

ETA: Oops, just read that you ordered it. Good decision! Even the tedious parts just drive home his points, which is not a bad thing.
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-12-2007, 10:13 PM   #12
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam

Should I spend TWENTY dollars on this book? Thanks.
No, you should get it from the library!
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-13-2007, 07:02 AM   #13
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Want2retire
As to what is wrong with the book.... to tell the truth, parts of it are really slow reading. He goes on and on about stock market event after event out of history to prove his points. I kept thinking, "OK, already, got it, agreed, duh, ANYTHING ELSE to say?" And really, his basic ideas are not that complex because they don't need to be. So he goes on and on demonstrating ideas that seem clear to begin with, and the tedium builds.

Still, it is the only book on investing that I have recommended to my dear friend Frank, despite how tedious it is in certain chapters. I can't give it any higher praise than that.

(I didn't really have anything to say regarding your other questions)

ETA: Oops, just read that you ordered it. Good decision! Even the tedious parts just drive home his points, which is not a bad thing.
Thanks. I look forward to reading it.
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-13-2007, 09:20 AM   #14
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Want2retire
As to what is wrong with the book.... to tell the truth, parts of it are really slow reading. He goes on and on about stock market event after event out of history to prove his points. I kept thinking, "OK, already, got it, agreed, duh, ANYTHING ELSE to say?" And really, his basic ideas are not that complex because they don't need to be. So he goes on and on demonstrating ideas that seem clear to begin with, and the tedium builds.
This was the same problem I noted, and the same issues with "the millionaire next door" or any business presentation I ever received from an academic/phd type. Apparently you must be beaten into submission with data until the inexorable conclusion is presented.

I'm more of a "tell me what you found out and want to do, and if I dont believe or understand some piece of that, explain that little part to me" sort of guy.

What I did with several of these books was read the conclusions/chapter summaries, then skimmed the rest, mostly looking for pretty pictures!
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-13-2007, 10:58 AM   #15
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Apparently you must be beaten into submission with data until the inexorable conclusion is presented.
kinda like 'the automatic millionaire' that I browsed through at the bookstore one day - an entire book wrapped around the concept of investing via automatic debit.

as we would have said as kids, "Well no duh!"

- John
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-14-2007, 11:00 AM   #16
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
... and the same issues with "the millionaire next door"
Agreed. I finished the "millionaire next door" a few months ago. It took a lot of effort to not skip the repetitive stuffs.

BTW, I totally disagree with the chapter on cars. Those millionaires could have saved a lot more if they stayed away from used american cars.

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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-14-2007, 01:08 PM   #17
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Seeing that a few of us are recommending books, I'm going to go ahead and mention this one: http://www.amazon.com/Index-Funds-12.../dp/0976802309

And, if you don't want to purchase it, you can read it online here: http://www.ifa.com/12steps/

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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-14-2007, 07:50 PM   #18
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Dumb question: Does William Bernstein has any thing to do with AllianceBernstein?

www.alliancebernstein.com
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-14-2007, 07:57 PM   #19
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
Dumb question: Does William Bernstein has any thing to do with AllianceBernstein?

www.alliancebernstein.com
absolutely nothing at all
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing
Old 03-14-2007, 09:00 PM   #20
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Re: The Four Pillars of Investing

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Those millionaires could have saved a lot more if they stayed away from used american cars.
Cracked me up. For those who didnt read it, they suggested buying the class of car you wanted (compact, mid size sedan, whatever) based on price per pound. Even provided a chart/graph of the best options.
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