Just finished reading a book by one of my favorite personal finance authors: William Bernstein. It appears that with every book he writes, he is making them easier to read and addressed to broader audience. In this book, he uses the recent financial "meltdown" as a "teachable moment".
Chapter 1 - A Brief History of Financial Time
- Throughout history, there have always been providers and consumers of capital; today it is no different.
- Also throughout history, that capital has taken two basic forms: loans (including bonds) and equity (partnership or stock). The latter has a lower legal standing than the former, and it is thus riskier and necessitates a higher long-term return to attract investors.
- During times of great social, political, and military turbulence, the prices of both stocks and bonds usually decline precipitously. Most often, this sets the stage for high future returns. Less frequently, however, the losses can be permanent and even total. Financial history demonstrates vividly the fact that just because this has not happened in the U.S. stock and bond markets yet is no guarantee that it might not occur in the future.
Chapter 2 - The Nature of the Beast
(To be completed)
Derek Sivers has a great page on this book. Refer to it for more details. I recommend this book to any investor.