"The Investor's Manifesto" by William J. Bernstein

I saw a recommendation for "The Intelligent Asset Allocator" by William Bernstein and checked it out of the library. It's supposed to be (with "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" by Burton Malkiel) one of the essential books on investing.

Bernstein wrote two later books on asset allocation. In the preface to "The Four Pillars of Investing," Bernstein says he considers "The Intelligent Asset Allocator" in part a failure because he intended it for the general public, and, "What I instead produced was a work comprehensible only to those with a considerable level of mathematical training and skill." Bernstein means "The Four Pillars of Investing," to be accessible and enjoyable to the general public.

In "The Investor's Manifesto" Bernstein laments that neither of his previous books were actually accessible to the general public, and swears this time will be different. I think he's right.

I'm going to read all three of Bernstein's asset allocation books, in reverse order, starting with "The Investor's Manifesto," which I've just completed.

"The Investor's Manifesto" is a strong introductory book, but I think that in his zeal to produce an accessible book, Bernstein has left out some vital bits of math, particularly in regard to dollar cost averaging and value averaging. There's a little bit of hand-waving instead of details about how to do it. I'm certain his earlier books provide more detail on this.

I'll be going through the book chapter-by-chapter and publishing my notes here -- both to help you, dear reader, and to solidify the concepts in my own head. I'll update this post with links to each chapter's notes as I write them. Please note that reading my notes, detailed as they are, is no substitute for reading the book. This is not Cliff's Notes; this is a book club. You'll need to do your own reading of the book to get the full benefit.