Schwab helped pioneer discount brokerage and his once-over-lightly introduction to the putative joys of stocks is as much a pitch as a primer. Correctly noting that negotiated commissions (which date from May 1, 1975) have actually increased individuals' transaction costs (owing in part to the financial clout of institutions), the author offers a series of sketchy briefings designed largely to put equities in the best possible light via-a-vis other investment alternatives. Commitments given short shrift include bonds, collectibles, commodities, diamonds, life insurance (other than term), precious metals, real estate, and tax shelters. Schwab has kinder (if equally abbreviated) comments on exchange-listed options (including contracts on market indices), IRAs and other tax-favored pension plans (that by no coincidence can be used as vehicles for equity purchases), money market funds (as parking lots for cash awaiting reinvestment in common stocks), and no-load mutual funds (for the less venturesome). But he really seems out to convince novices they can go it alone on Wall Street by observing a few simple rules and enlisting the services of a qualified discount broker. Among other dubious advisories, Schwab counsels beginners to invest almost immediately and ""Consider any small loss as a 'tuition fee' in the good old S.O.H.K. (School of Hard Knocks)."" His decalogue of ""secrets"" for stock market success includes the deservedly unheralded theory that do-it-yourself analysts can safely ignore corporate debt. Moreover, the relentlessly upbeat text is larded with references--rueful and otherwise--to Schwab's own experiences in the securities trade, which reached at least one climax when the brokerage firm he founded was bought by Bank America Corp. for $53 million. In sum: a less than disinterested appreciation that paints an overly optimistic picture for neophyte-investors.