Enough by John C Bogle – A Book Review

Jannie Delucca

Title and Author: Enough. By John C. Bogle

Synopsis of Content:

John Bogle, the renowned founder of the Vanguard 500 Fund and a “good guy” on Wall Street has written a fabulous book for our times. In “Enough.” Bogle describes what has really gone wrong with Wall Street and the financial profession at the same time that he passes on some wonderful and time tested investment tips and principles. The general theme of his thesis as set out in David Brooks’ New York Times editorial piece which Bogle uses as an introduction is that America’s great financial and business tradition has been, until relatively recently, based on ideals of industriousness, ambition and frugality. Of course there were exceptions, but they proved the rule.

Bogle demonstrates how there is too much cost and not enough value in money based on what Bogle describes as excessive fees and costs for investment funds and other vehicles. In Too Much Speculation and not Enough Investment he exposes the lack of performance of the speculative investment model and the comparative soundness of the long time investment model upon which of course the Vanguard fund is based.

Bogle also addresses the issues of trust, professional standards, stewardship concepts and leadership in both business and finance or more to the point the lack of those qualities today.

However he does not leave the general public out of the picture. We too, he insists, are too interested in things, not enough on commitment, too much on so called 21st century values and not enough on 18th century values – too much on success and not enough on character.

He wraps up with a look at what it is in all this for me and you and for the future of our nation.

This book is partly about Bogle’s journey through the financial profession, partly about the changes he caused and the changes he witnessed, partly it is about what is wrong with our commercial and political system and our own belief systems, and partly it is a healthy dose of old fashioned ideas that we may be in dire need of revisiting.

This is an outstanding book on many levels. Bogle’s tour of what is right and wrong with the financial industry should be required reading at the White House, in Congress and in America’s homes. His prescriptions for reform deserve some attention and consideration. Perhaps most importantly his suggestions for what you can and should do to protect your financial future are well worth reading about.

Readability/Writing Quality:

The book is well written and easy to follow. It flows well, is well organized and is as entertaining as it is informative.

Notes on Author:

John C. Bogle is the founder and past CEO of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group and President of Bogle Financial Markets Research Center, a foundation he founded on his “retirement” from his CEO position. In 1999 Fortune magazine named Bogle one of the four investment giants of the 20th century and in 2004 Time named him one of the world’s most powerful and influential people. He has written 7 books including his 2007 best seller, The Little Book of Common Sense Investing (Wiley).

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

1. Follow the lead of the likes of Warren Buffet, Charlie Munger and John C. Bogle – invest for the long term in quality investments with sufficient diversification to protect your interests – avoid the temptations of day trading, rising stars, quick turn profits and other speculative investment schemes. Likewise, avoid brokers and funds which represent that they do these things.

2. Past performance never adequately predicts future performance in the market – but adherence to prudence and principle is a sound basis for investing just as it is a sound basis for other important areas of life.

3. As a nation and as individuals we would all do well to re-examine the principles and wisdom of the Age of Reason that our forefathers used to establish this nation and to build it into the most successful enterprise in human history.

Publication Information: Enough. By John C. Bogle © 2009 by John C. Bogle. Published by John Wiley & Sons.

General Rating: Excellent

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