Book: Child’s play

These five books try to make money simple. Four of them succeed.



From the October 2009 issue of the magazine.


How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street by Allan S. Roth ($29.95, Wiley)

Kevin Roth, the author’s son, is eight years old. He’s probably got a better investment portfolio than you do. This book reveals his secrets. Our take: Explaining how a second grader can whip most adult investors is a fun way to demonstrate the benefits of a simple indexed portfolio. Our only complaint? The U.S. orientation of the book. But don’t let that deter you from an illuminating and fun read.

Enough Bull by David Trahair ($19.95, Wiley)

Trahair is a Chartered Accountant who believes most Canadians are being played for suckers by the financial industry. In this book, he sets out to tell you how to retire well “without the stock market, mutual funds or even an investment adviser.” Our take: We don’t agree with everything Trahair says—his love for GICs, for instance, goes a little further than we think reasonable—but, man, we admire his attitude. Trahair argues his case well and deserves to be widely read.

The Little Book of Main Street Money by Jonathan Clements ($23.95, Wiley)

We’ve admired Clements since he was the personal finance columnist for the Wall Street Journal in its pre-Rupert Murdoch heyday. In this book, he sets out to deliver “21 simple truths that can help real people make money.” Our take: Clements’ book is short and simple, but its wisdom is deep and complex. From how to save more to how to invest better, this book delivers the goods on how to lead a rich life (in every sense) and does so in less than 200 pages. Yes, it’s aimed at U.S. readers, but its insights spill over the border. Highly recommended.

And Then The Roof Caved In by David Faber ($31.95, Wiley)

Faber is a correspondent for CNBC and this book about the crash of the U.S. housing market offers the print equivalent of a TV documentary. The subtitle states the book’s theme: “How Wall Street’s greed and stupidity brought capitalism to its knees.” Our take: Print journalists don’t think much of TV types, but much to our surprise, we wound up liking Faber’s book. He writes simply and well. He also uses real people to demonstrate the insanity of the housing boom. While this may not be the deepest book about the crash, it could be the most accessible.

Cash in a Flash by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen ($27.95, Harmony)

Gosh, there’s no need to worry about this little downturn. You, too, can make millions by unleashing your Inner Winner and using High Vibration Words. Our take: We could call this silly book one of the most shameless attempts we’ve seen to cash in on people’s financial insecurity, but that would be our Inner Whiner talking. So let’s be positive: this is a great book—for anybody you truly hate. One of the co-authors (Hansen) made a mint with the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Call this one Chicken Feathers for the Brain.

3 comments on “Book: Child’s play

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