An agreeable addition to the Tobias oeuvre, which affords savvy, often caustic briefings on a wealth of financial goods and services. Essentially an update of the author's 1977 best seller (The Only Investment Guide. . .), the text is divided into three parts. The first reviews the basics of personal finance--budgeting, credit, providing for college bills, retirement planning, tax avoidance, et al.--in comparatively conventional fashion. In his second section, Tobias (who believes the best way to make money in the stock market is to be a broker) provides an idiosyncratic overview of the widening world of investments. Among other things, he offers knowledgeable tips on minimizing transaction costs, calculating spreads, and developing an investment strategy that takes risk as well as reward into account. Included as well are wry reports on his own misadventures that explain just why limited partnerships in oil drilling, R&D programs, real estate, or whatever tend to prove profitable only for organizers. There's also a lighthearted survey of offbeat systems to beat the market--hemlines, presidential cycles, Superbowl results, and the like. Last but by no means least comes a lengthy checklist with short-take audits of investment opportunities ranging from ADRs and annuities through zero-coupon convertibles. In addition to such traditional alternatives as bonds, CDs, and common stock, Tobias comments pointedly, if briefly, on more exotic possibilities, including baseball cards, comic books, movie deals, and vulture funds (which specialize in distressed properties). Like the book as a whole, the sound, stylish, and cautionary directory seems geared more toward keeping do-it-yourself money managers out of harm's way than setting them on a yellow-brick road to riches.