On the evidence of this once-over-lightly ""investment guide,"" Tobias apparently aspires to be the poor man's Sylvia Porter. The curious title of this slight volume is based on the premise that rival manuals are fraudulent in their promise of riches, too narrow in scope, or overly encyclopedic. Having copped this plea, the author unabashedly recommends buying canned goods by the case to profit from volume discounts; purchasing compact cars to save on fuel; contracting for term rather than whole life insurance policies; and resisting brokers' blandishments to minimize securities-transaction expense. There is, indeed, a comprehensive chapter on Keogh Plans and Independent Retirement Accounts. But these subjects are of interest only to the gainfully self-employed or those whose companies provide no pension benefits--information readily available in booklet form. When Tobias does get around to securities, he provides misleadingly simplistic pictures of major markets. Listed options, to illustrate, are dismissed as a zero-sum game in which buyers generally wind up as the losers. 'Tis true. But it seems strange that a man who makes such an otherwise persuasive case for common stocks would overlook the other side of the coin: selling option contracts on equity holdings. This and similar deficiencies lead to the disappointing conclusion that, even at the bargain rate of $5.95, this isn't.