Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Just One Thing edited by John Mauldin
Just One Thing: Twelve of the World's Best Investors Reveal the ONE Strategy You Can't Overlook, looked like it ought to be a really good investment guide. I remember a book I bought a number of years ago called The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need. It was really quite good, and I learned a lot. Just One Thing should have been called The Only Investment Guide You'll Regret Buying.
That said, good thing I just borrowed it from the public library, eh? The first chapter of the book, by a sage investor named Andy Kessler, contained a bit of good advice about the general philosophy of investing that I hadn't previously considered, "let your winners run and cut your losers." I've always sold my winners too soon and hung onto my losers with a death grip.
Then next ten chapters were filled with charts and graphs and psychobabble, economic theory and libertarian philosophy. Arggh. I didn't take away anything from them. The final chapter had some pretty good information about where we've come from and where we may be going, in a macroeconomic sense. Taken from sources like Toffler's Third Wave and sounding a bit like Naisbitt's Megatrends, this was a good reminder of what to look for in our investments for the future. Something called the "Millenium Wave" is on the way, as demographics change, borders fall, nanotech and biotech hit the markets, and our classical energy sources go by the wayside.
When I got done reading that chapter, I thought, "well, that was finally something worth reading." Then, I closed the book, looked at the front page, and realized that the editor of the book and the author of the final piece were one and the same. So, I figure the guy must have had this long essay he wanted to get published, and managed to get some other investment gurus to contribute some of their more obscure (dare I say useless?) writings to the project, so it would be fat enough to fill a book. That's my theory and I'm stickin' to it.