A concise, coherent overview of financial basics.



A practical guide to building wealth and managing finances, aimed at beginning investors.

In this debut personal-finance guide, Lamb addresses a range of issues, from paying down credit-card debt to participating in the stock market. However, what sets this financial management book apart from others is the author’s own working-class history. He shares stories from his days as a truck driver and warehouse laborer and connects those experiences to his gradual financial education. He acknowledges the flaws of the current financial system, addressing such subjects as capital-gains taxes and the rise of income inequality. However, he drives home a message that even a person without economic advantages can create a financially secure future, through a combination of self-discipline, financial literacy and hard work. Much of the material here, such as a comparison of renting versus buying a house, will be familiar to many readers, but it’s primarily aimed at people who have scarcely begun to think about saving for retirement. As a result, the advice is tempered with a strong dose of practicality; for instance, the author explains that paying off credit card debt is the equivalent of earning guaranteed double-digit returns, but he also urges readers not to pay off debt at the expense of saving for retirement. He coherently explains the concept of emergency funds and the rationales for maintaining them (“So what if it takes a long time to reach your goal? As long as you are making forward progress…there is no set dollar figure you need to achieve in order to feel that you have ‘won’ the game”), as well as how to maximize employer contributions to a 401(k) and obtain necessary insurance. His story of how he learned about renter’s insurance will make many readers groan in sympathy and perhaps remember their own youthful mistakes. His advice on investing in stocks, bonds and mutual funds is clearly meant for readers who already have some financial security, and it seems out of place next to sections about tracking spending and creating a basic budget. That said, it does offer a reasonable analysis of the market’s relationship to the small investor.

A concise, coherent overview of financial basics.

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4953-9265-8

Page Count: 152

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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More uncommonly sensible investment guidance from a master of the game. Drawing on his experience at Fidelity's Magellan Fund, a high- profile vehicle he quit at age 46 in 1990 after a spectacularly successful 13-year tenure as managing director, Lynch (One Up on Wall Street, 1988) makes a strong case for common stocks over bonds, CDs, or other forms of debt. In breezy, anecdotal fashion, the author also encourages individuals to go it alone in the market rather than to bank on money managers whose performance seldom justifies their generous compensation. With the caveat that there's as much art as science to picking issues with upside potential, Lynch commends legwork and observation. ``Spending more time at the mall,'' he argues, invariably is a better way to unearth appreciation candidates than relying on technical, timing, or other costly divining services prized by professionals. The author provides detailed briefings on how he researches industries, special situations, and mutual funds. Particularly instructive are his candid discussions of where he went wrong as well as right in his search for undervalued securities. Throughout the genial text, Lynch offers wry, on-target advisories under the rubric of ``Peter's Principles.'' Commenting on the profits that have accrued to those acquiring shares in enterprises privatized by the British government, he notes: ``Whatever the Queen is selling, buy it.'' In praise of corporate parsimony, the author suggests that, ``all else being equal, invest in the company with the fewest photos in the annual report.'' Another bull's-eye for a consummate pro, with appeal for market veterans and rookies alike. (Charts and tabular material— not seen.)

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-75915-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1993

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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