While this refreshingly practical primer on real estate may not make small-scale, inflation-weary investors a fortune, it should at least help them avoid losing their shirts. Harney, editor of the weekly Housing and Development Reporter, has produced a guide that, for once, refrains from promising instant riches and clearly charts the pitfalls awaiting the unwary. He confines himself to opportunities in rental homes, vacation houses, apartments with less than four units, condominiums, cooperatives, raw land, mortgages, and real estate securities. He largely ignores big apartments and commercial structures on the logical grounds that such properties are beyond the modest means and competence of most fledgling investors. Without recourse to jargon, he reviews the pros and cons of all the possibilities, providing detailed checklists and common-sense advisories that will help even financial illiterates decide whether a property has profit potential. Cases in point range from tips on dealing with lenders and tenants through directions to sources for aerial photos of timber stands or farm acreage. As a bonus, the text frequently offers brightly packaged insights (e.g., ""Raw land is a speculator's sand box; fantasy castles can rise and become real""). Harney's achievement, though, centers on his step-by-step approach to using real estate as a hedge against the price spiral. With a genuinely helpful glossary of terms, the soundest book on real estate in some time.