A Fool and His Money – Book Review

by Mike Holman

This book is written by John Rothchild who took a year off in order to learn how to make lots of money through investments and then write a book about it. He did learn a lot about investments and the various financial institutions that deal with them, but he ended up losing most of his money. Luckily his sense of humour makes this book a pretty good read since there is very little useful investment information in it.

I would rate Rothchild as one of the worst investors of all time. Even though he manages to figure out some good investment advice such as an investor would be better off just buying the market rather than trying to beat it, he continually makes investment decisions that seem to be based more on trying new types of investments ie options and investing in commodities rather than on any type of investment knowledge. Even his equity buys are based on hot tips.

He interviews with a lot of industry employees including traders, analysts and executives, he evens visits with a forecaster/astrologist who apparently is the most accurate forecaster of all the people Rothchild meets with in the books. The option spread that he bought as a result of the astrologist’s recommendation is one of the few investments that makes him money.

Rothchild manages to visit a lot of financial institutions including the New York Federal Reserve Bank otherwise known as the “Fed”, sneaks onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and gets quite a few interviews with various investment personnel in the industry. One particularly funny section describes how he managed to get an interview with a highly paid analyst covering Gillette which he had just bought. From that analyst he manages to see several other top analysts and finds out that they all get their information straight from Gillette and their main concerns are keeping Gillette and their big clients happy and finding out what the other analysts had to say about Gillette.

If you are looking for an amusing read with a bit of financial information thrown in for good measure then this book is probably for you.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 TheFinancialBlogger

Leaving everything to invest and lose everything… hum.. seems like a plan!
LOL!
FB.

2 FourPillars

Haha – it wasn’t too clear in the book exactly how much he lost but I think it was around 50% of what he started with.

Mike

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