Buddy, Can You Spare a Book?

The Wall Street Journal today observes that personal finance books have gone bearish,

Just a year or so ago, the personal-finance bookshelf was a happy-go-lucky place where everybody and their neighbor was about to become a millionaire. Now it’s more like a bomb shelter stocked with canned goods for a long battle. Pugilistic titles like Fight for Your Money and Gimme My Money Back are pushing aside sunnier fare like Millionaire by Thirty and You Can Do It!: The Boomer’s Guide to a Great Retirement.

But, cheer up, they also quote a study that “stocks perform substantially better after the publication of bearish financial books than they do after bullish titles are published.”

The Journal notes that personal finance gurus have changed their tune — Suze Orman recommended hybrid mortgages (fixed rate for a few years, followed by adjustable rates) in her 2005 book, The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke, but  Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe says fixed rate is the way to go (note to weeders — if you haven’t already, get rid of the bullish books. Even if the markets turn around, it will undoubtedly have new rules).

Are there any enduring titles? A financial planner recommends A Random Walk Down Wall Street, because it “gives a really sound grounding in the economics of how financial markets work.” 


A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing, Ninth Edition
Malkiel, by Burton G.

  • Paperback: $18.95; 416 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton; 9 edition (December 24, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0393330338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393330335

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