Book reviews: Tips from the top - MoneySense

Book reviews: Tips from the top

These people have all been there and done it—and now they’ve written books about how you can do it, too.


These people have all been there and done it—and now they’ve written books about how you can do it, too.

1. THE DICK DAVIS DIVIDEND by Dick Davis ($35.99, Wiley): In 1982 Davis started the Dick Davis Digest, one of the largest investment newsletters in the U.S. Now he looks back at his decades in the market and reveals the investing game’s big secret—to do well, you should put most of your money in a basket of index funds. OUR TAKE: Okay, we think it’s rather comical that someone who made his money by peddling stock market tips is now a born-again advocate for indexing—but we couldn’t agree more with Davis’s surprising turnaround.

2. GET SMARTER by Seymour Schulich with Derek DeCloet ($29.95, Key Porter): Schulich, a self-made Canadian billionaire, wants to tell you the most valuable lessons he’s learned in his career. Among them: how to make a decision, how to choose a career, how to overcome setbacks. OUR TAKE: To his credit, Schulich doesn’t brag and doesn’t invent jargon. It’s also true that he doesn’t reveal anything too startling. But what shines through this book is his exuberant spirit—and a passion for the market that truly is inspiring.

3. JIM CRAMER’S STAY MAD FOR LIFE by James Cramer ($29.99, Simon & Schuster): Boo-yah! Cramer, the raving, hyperactive host of the Mad Money TV program, has become famous for touting hot stocks and lightning trades. Now he turns his attention to how you should go about building wealth for the long haul. OUR TAKE: You know all that stuff that Cramer spouts on his TV program? Well, forget it. Turns out that the core of your wealth-building strategy should be to save lots of money, invest it sensibly in a diversified portfolio and monitor it closely. Yep, that’s it. Sorry.

4. THE OPPOSABLE MIND by Roger Martin ($29.95, McGraw-Hill Ryerson): Martin, the dean of the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto, believes business leaders have to practice “integrative thinking,” which means finding ways to combine the best of opposing ideas in order to create even better ideas. OUR TAKE: Well, um, sure. Martin’s message is hard to disagree with because it sprawls everywhere—to his way of thinking, any new idea that succeeds is automatically an example of integrative thinking. His book may inspire you; unfortunately, we doubt that it will illuminate you.

5. A DEMON OF OUR OWN DESIGN by Richard Bookstaber ($33.99, Wiley): Bookstaber earned a PhD in economics from MIT then went off to work on Wall Street in 1984 as one of the fi rst generation of quantitative traders, or “quants.” He and his pointy-headed peers were eager to use math and computers to engineer smarter investing strategies. But a funny thing happened on the way to perfection. The quants inadvertently helped to create the 1987 stock market crash, the hedge fund crisis of 1998, and the current credit crunch. OUR TAKE: Not a light read. But if you want to understand why fi nancial crises are so commonplace, pick up this book.