I first picked up a ragged old copy of this book at a used book sale, but since then it keeps popping up over and over again. This week, I’ll review chapter by chapter the latest revision of this personal finance classic (it was first printed in 1978, which means it’s had a much longer lifespan than many personal finance and investment books) and find out whether it’s worth picking up or not.
I’ll tell you right now: this book was entertaining, but it was far from the best investment book I’ve ever read. If you’re looking for a really strong all around investment book, last week’s book, The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing, would be a much better choice.
However, this book has one big thing going for it: it’s funny and incredibly readable. Just like I did years ago reading a much earlier version of this book, I found myself gulping the whole thing down in one sitting like a hungry man in front of a bowl of stew. Tobias writes with a very breezy, entertaining style, and if you find investment books to be boring, this is far lighter and more entertaining than most.
Buy this book if you want to learn a little bit about investment while being entertained with some great anecdotes and storytelling. That’s really the strong point of this book – the actual information within is repeated elsewhere and with more detail and pinpoint accuracy. This book has much more of the fun factor going for it.
However, don’t buy this book if you want a handbook guide for investing. That role can be much better filled by a lot of other books, including, as I mentioned before, The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing. While Tobias’ book is better for a light afternoon read, there are many other books which are much more informative for long-term reference and thinking.
The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need is the twentieth of fifty-two books in The Simple Dollar’s series 52 Personal Finance Books in 52 Weeks.