A persuasive, elegantly argued case for owning common stocks as a hedge against 1980s inflation. True, equities proved disappointing if not disastrous for most investors during the past decade; but times are a-changin' Professor Malkiel, chairman of the economics department at Princeton, caused a stir in financial and academic circles with his 1973 A Random Walk Down Wall Street, a spirited defense of efficient-market theory. At any given time, he holds, securities prices reflect all that is known or can be known about the issuers, making esoteric analysis as well as professional portfolio management more art than science. Stock performance is a ""random walk,"" he's convinced, and over the longer run, ""investment returns are likely to be related to the risk assumed."" In this work, addressed to a broader but still knowledgeable audience, Malkiel points out that stocks historically have provided total annual returns (dividends plus appreciation) of around nine percent, as against just over three percent for the troubled 1968-79 period. In the years ahead, he maintains, 15 percent returns appear within reach, largely because blue-chip corporations (like AT&T and other components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average) continue to raise dividend payouts--and hence yields--at a pace outstripping the pace of inflation. It's probably as well, he asserts, that investors eschew equities-devaluing ""rearview-mirror"" strategies: America's socio-economic institutions have demonstrated themselves to be more resilient and enduring that was generally assumed during the 1970s in the face of energy shortages, campus rebellions, political scandals, the Vietnam War, and other confidence-impairing crises. But while championing the cause of common stocks, Malkiel does not recommend that they comprise the whole investment portfolio. Accordingly, his chart-crammed text also covers such related topics as insurance, income taxes, money-market mutual funds, certificates of deposit, real estate, and collectibles.