Here’s the skinny on the book: It’s written by three members of the infamous Vanguard Diehards forum on Morningstar. (Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, and Michael LeBoeuf) The forum is an excellent place for investment advice, and while the people who post have a more-than-obvious slant towards the Vanguard/Bogle principle of investing, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. (As long as you’re aware of it) The Bogleheads (As they call themselves) basically believe in John C. Bogle’s strategy of buying and holding index funds as the safest and best way to a successful investing career.
The book has 23 chapters and weighs in a little under 300 pages; not a one-day read but maybe a couple weekends would get the job done. There are the usual sections found in all financial books such as Asset Allocation, Diversification, Saving, Index Investing, etc. Where this book really shined are the discussions of taxes as they relate to investing and retirement planning. There are two whole chapters (Taxes part 1 and 2) dedicated to the topic, more so than most of the other financial books I have read. Of course, this may sound boring beyond belief, but taxes play an important part in determining just how much of that money you saved you actually get to keep. Another great section is saving for college, which clearly goes over the various vehicles that are available to both parents and kids to help save for a college education. I hadn’t even realized the plethora of options available; I’m sure my parents wish they had known about all these options before I went to college. (Too late! And UC Santa Cruz will never be the same!)
In the end, if you have more than a little interest in the DIY approach to managing your money, this book will be a wonderful resource and a great read. It’s not made for a great rich quick persona, rather for someone who understands that saving money and prudently investing it over a lifetime can easily turn you into a millionaire! (Like me, for instance). Don’t expect witty writing and funny prose; the writers present the information very matter-of-factly. Take the time to read and re-read this book and you’ll be much better off than before you had read it – and that’s my definition of a good book about investing.