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The Only Guide to Alternative Investments…

The Only Guide to Alternative Investments You'll Ever Need : The Good, the… (2008)

by Larry E. Swedroe

Other authors: Jared Kizer (Author)

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3311338,203 (3.5)3



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I sat down to read this book the moment I received it from the LT Early Reviewers program and enjoyed it immensely.

A WARNING, however: If you are just beginning to explore the world of personal finance and investing this book is NOT for rank beginners.

This is not a book to read to decide where the bulk of your investment dollars should go - if you NEVER invest in any of these investments you will do just fine (assuming of course, that you are well grounded in the asset allocation of NON-alternative investments described in Swedroe's other books). This book is about where you might consider putting that 5% of your slice-and-dice portfolio that you have designating "money to play with".

This book should be read AFTER you are familiar with the concepts presented in Swedroe's other works (and other excellent books that expound upon the "Bogle-head" type of investment strategy.) If you are not already familiar with the concepts of "Dollar Cost Averaging" "Modern Portfolio Theory" "Buy-and-Hold Investing" then this book will not be of as much use to you - you have some preliminary work to do. If you believe that you can time the market and are going to get rich by following the investment strategy promoted by some newsletter selling you market secrets then you have a LOT of homework to do. This book's intended audience seems to be those that have already "drank the Koolaid" (I'm one of them, I should know).

Having gotten the warnings out of the way - for those of us who have mastered the importance of diversification, asset allocation, and cost control and who are looking to expand into the not-necessary but oh-so-fun nooks and crannies of tweaking our portfolio this book does an excellent job of illuminating the risks/benefits of the "alternative" investments we may be drawn to.

Actually it does its work almost too well - because the alternative investments are presented in a best-to-worst order, by the time you hit the level that you know you are not willing to dip below you almost don't have to read the rest of the book. (I say "almost" because it is always fun to have the data to refute some self-important "expert" when they try to sell you something that you know is a lousy deal.)

I was a little disappointed that, while Swedroe did address Precious Metal Equities, there was not a section devoted to buying (and taking delivery of) physical precious metals. But, with that exception, I think this covered all of the "alternative" investments I might be tempted to (and many that I would never consider touching with a counterfeit $3 bill!). Enjoy! ( )
  PortiaLong | Aug 27, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book goes well into depth into a number of securities and investments that are available to the general public. Sadly, one will probably find nothing new in the 'good' category of investments that you wouldn't be able to find anywhere else- but the book goes into great detail in how the nominal and bad investments are deficient and overhyped. I appreciated the level of detail in their presentation, as they did a good job exposing information that many brokers and dealers would rather not reveal to the investing public. ( )
  meklarian | Mar 27, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book covers alternative investments very well. Early in January, the Wall Street Journal had a good article on alternative investments, which said that these investments are of more interest recently because good investments in stocks and bonds are increasingly difficult to find.

Years ago, I heard a radio investment adviser say that his father told him to never invest in anything that eats, or needs repair. Good advice when applied to alternative investments. Don’t invest in race horses (eats!), or directly in rental houses or apartments (needs repair). Swedroe says this about direct investments in real estate.

My opinion is that alternative investments may be interesting, and apparently very attractive compared with stocks and bonds in today’s markets, but caution is paramount. ( )
  davidt8 | Feb 27, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A good introduction and overview of several investment vehicles, not all necessarily "alternative," and certainly not the "only" guide one will ever need -- but catchy title. For those that have cash available at the time of writing this review (Feb. 2009), it supports opening one's mind to possibilities. ( )
  jocraddock | Feb 3, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was fairly disappointed in this book, for reasons mentioned in several other reviews, but for others as well.

I consider myself a reasonably savvy investor, but this book doesn't lay its groundwork as one would hope. For instance, it makes no discussion of statistical considerations that can interfere with the data--survivor bias, picking an arbitrary timeframe--and expect the reader to be ready for standard deviations without explanation.
I continue to wonder how much of it is still valid now, just months after its publication, in light of the severe recession never mentioned in the book. ( )
  kimsbooks | Jan 31, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Larry E. Swedroeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kizer, JaredAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to the memory of Rubin Hersch. He was a sweet, kind, and sensitive man who enriched the lives of all thouse he touched.
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"Let every man divide his money into three parts, and invest a third in land, a third in business, and a third let him keep in reserve," advises the Jewish Talmud, which is dated somewhere between 1200 BC and 500 AD.
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"Investors are actively seeking investment options other than equities, bonds, and cash that will provide diversification and improved returns. The book offers an overview of a wide range of alternative investments, explaining what each is and how it works. The author shares his opinions on which to seriously consider and which to avoid at all costs"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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