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This is an interesting book that brings together and analyses the results of
survey responses from hundreds of investors. These respondents shared their
joys, their disasters, the lessons they wish they had learnt before they
started in the market and their advice for others just beginning. The result,
as the title suggests, is a compendium of a wealth of experience culled from
ordinary people who are involved in the market.
Inevitably this book does not provide a roadmap to success. Its most important
role is the way it allows readers to benefit from the experience of others so
they can avoid the traps, pitfalls and dead ends that are inevitably a part of
the investment landscape. It may sound negative, but one of the most important
lessons we can learn is to recognize errors and avoid them.
The book is divided into sections dealing with significant investment areas or
decisions. These include getting the risk level right, shares, property,
managed funds etc. Each section includes an overview discussion of the issues
raised in survey responses. Each also includes a summary of the best decisions
people felt they made in this area, and the worst decisions. These are
distilled into action points.
The book is aimed clearly at wealth building, or investment strategies. It
sternly warns against trying to time the market because ‘there is a lot of
randomness’ in the market. The advice from survey respondents is clearly
“don’t try to beat the market.” Traders regard these conclusions with some
skepticism, but they are important because they provide a good idea of the
background against which we trade. It is these buy and hold investors who
provide the bedrock of the market, and understanding how they think can
provide an important trading edge.
This book is an interesting analysis of opinions from retail investors, and
provides groundbreaking research in this area that quantifies the anecdotal
understanding of investor behavior.
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