A comprehensive beginner’s guide to investment.
Debut author Pappano aims to arm “curious investors” with the information they need to succeed in the stock market. He also seeks to “inoculate” them against more exotic investment options that often cause enthusiastic novices to abandon common sense. Pappano writes that financial professionals have perpetuated a self-serving fiction that market success requires a rarified mastery of esoteric strategies and products. However, he argues that these same professionals are often woefully unqualified and often motivated by interests that may conflict with those of their clients’. He makes the unconventional claim that in most cases, “avoiding a broker is the beginning of a sound investment program.” This practical guide is wide-ranging and ambitiously thorough, covering an extraordinary array of financial products and approaches. It discusses stocks, bonds, real estate investment trusts, mortgages and much more in painstaking detail. This isn’t your average investor’s guide, however, as it also provides a macroeconomic context in which to understand the fundamental principles of investment. For example, it treats readers to broad discussions of political economy, including the philosophical theories of economists John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek, the true nature of inflation and the impact of different tax regimes. Few introductions to the stock market compare the corporate governances of Japan and Sweden, as this one does. The book’s grand sweep is both its principal virtue and its vice, however, as it provides beginning investors with a sounder theoretical grounding than average introductions do, but it also tends to wander too far afield. For example, most readers could profitably skip Pappano’s digressions on organized labor or executive compensation in the United States, but his section on the difference between 401(k) retirement accounts and pension plans is invaluable. Overall, there’s a lot of actionable wisdom within these pages but quite a few negligible tangents as well.
A long but impressively meticulous guide for novice investors looking for a bird’s-eye view of the market.