This impressively inclusive investment manual neatly bridges the gap between introductory primers and advanced texts. A sometime broker now on the staff of Money magazine, Rolo equips individuals to operate on their own in the financial markets he reviews. In addition to explaining the risk/reward aspects of particular commitments--primarily, common stocks, bonds of all kinds, exchange-listed options, mutual funds, and gold--in the context of specific objectives (appreciation, income, et al.), he examines a wealth of means that can be employed (or ignored) in the pursuit of varying ends. To illustrate: in commenting on the Efficient Market Hypothesis--which holds that an equity's price at any given point reflects all facts, opinions, and expectations that have a bearing on its value--Rolo observes that the ""hard core"" of the efficient market probably encompasses no more than 500 issues closely followed by institutions. With similar judiciousness, he explores the pros and cons of other analytic approaches designed to unearth bargains among the 7,000-odd common stocks that trade regularly on major exchanges and over the counter. Covered as well are crucial elements of the business cycle--consumer confidence, corporate profits, FRB policy, inflation, etc.--that affect the price performance not only of equities but also of fixed-income vehicles. There's also instructive material on using economic indicators, measuring the market's performance from statistical data, evaluating price/earnings ratios, reading annual reports or other disclosure documents, and spotting trends. Plus: practical tips on the mechanics of hazardous opportunities like new issues. There's little in the way of personal-finance counsel; but, by themselves, the chapters on creating and following appropriate portfolio strategies are worth the price of admission. The useful appendices incorporate a listing of over 150 computer-screened stocks with above average potential for the 1980s; a classified directory of no-load mutual funds (complete with toll-free phone numbers); a comprehensive census of cyclical, stable, and growth industries; and a lengthy glossary that defines virtually every business, economic, or financial term important to investors. As a further dividend, the book has a detailed index that enhances its considerable worth for newcomers seeking a basics-plus guide to Wall Street.