Book Review > How to really ruin your financial life and portfolio

Author: STEIN, Ben Publisher: Wiley US ISBN: 9781 1183 38735
Location: New Jersey USA Price: Reviewed by: Michael O'Brien
BR HowToReallyRuinYourFinancial LifeStein.

I really looked forward to the opportunity of reviewing this book as I thought the title was very topical. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) has hit many people very hard and they are still suffering from the after affects of the GFC to-day. I can only remember one other occasion when things were so bad in my life time and that was after the 1987 crash.

The book was recommended by none other than Warren Buffett who said of the book, “Pay attention.” Once I saw this quote from the great man, I was ready to obey orders.

From that point though, it was all downhill. The topic is so important that someone had to write a book on the subject but Stein fails to do it well. He has tried to write the book in a humorous fashion which is a real challenge if you’re not funny. Stein presents on CBS’s Sunday Morning show as well as CNN and Fox. He is an economist and is a respected journalist with Barron’s and the Wall Street Journal. With such experience he would have done much better by presenting the book without trying to be funny. Couple this with exceptionally bad English, grammar and spelling mistakes right throughout, the book was really hard going and I had to force myself to read it.

Now that I have finished, I am glad I made the effort. The book does contain some gems that I am sure a lot of people wished they had considered before making investments in things like hedge funds, commodities and all sorts of synthetics that defy gravity. To sum the book up, Stein emphasises the classical rule of investing, “If it is too good to be true, then it can’t be true.”

In summary and depending on price, the book is worth a read if only to reinforce some of the time honoured rules about investing and the traps that the unwary can fall into. Usually I would read a 137 page book on A3 sized pages in less than a day. In this case I suggest that you will need to set aside more time, do a chapter and put the book down for a while before moving on.