The Little Book Of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle – A Review

Written by

Nicholas Alifa

July 3, 2020

Compiled by Aina Joseph

Chapter one – THE PARABLE

In the first chapter of his book- The Little Book Of Common Sense Investing, John C. Bogle succinctly used a simple parable of the Gotrocks family that was originally narrated by Warren Buffet, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and the infamous Oracle of Omaha. Bogle, whose parable seemed convincing enough, argued that the more active is your investment, the more tax you pay, and the more your money goes out as commission to the intermediaries.

Thus, sustainable investment and a wise investor will diversify but, at the same time, keep fees low and build over the long term. Hence, the need to invest in index funds or other mutual funds because they provide a better opportunity and platform to do this successfully.

Bogle pointed out that the higher the level of an investor’s activities are, the greater the cost of financial intermediation and taxes, and ultimately this will lead to a less net return from the shareholder.

Chapter two – RATIONAL EXUBERANCE

Many investors make the mistake of holding a stock for a short time, and when the market is down, they tend to lose their money. Rather than using this route, John C. Bogle advised investors to buy and hold stocks for a long time.

Although there are ups and downs in stock investing, in the long run, the aggregate shows that you will earn more. This is what Bogle referred to as rational exuberance.

He proved that for each $1 invested in 1900, the return would be $43k over 116 years. Although no one may live up to 116 years, your next generation can, thus, long term stock investing is a way of building generational wealth.

The author also noted that stock trading involves forecasting “swing in investor’s emotions,” and to do that accurately is impossible, but predicting the long-term success of a company carries a remarkable higher odd of success. Conclusively, there are two types of investments; speculative investment or stock trading and a long-term investment like index funds.

Chapter three – CAST YOUR LOT WITH BUSINESS

Rely on Occam’s Razor to win by keeping it simple. Occam’s Razor: when there are multiple solutions to a problem, choose the simplest one. So how do you cast your lot with business? “Simply by buying a portfolio that owns the shares of every business in the United States and holding it forever,” the author suggested.

He used William of Occam’s expression of 1320 to buttress his point. “When there are multiple solutions to a problem, choose the simplest one” It is a simple concept that guarantees you win the investment game played by most other investors who – as a group- are guaranteed to lose.

To focus on the long-term investment, the best parameter to look at is the business and their number and not speculation surrounding individual stocks.   

John Bogle claimed that the S&P 500 is highly profitable. He did this by comparing the performance of the S$P 500 and the total stock market over some time. He expressed how major government parameters are utilizing an index fund to achieve a long term guaranteed profit from the investment.

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Nicholas Alifa

Nicholas Alifa

Author

Nicholas Alifa is an entrepreneur, a coach, and an Agribusiness expert. He is committed to helping individuals and businesses grow to their full potential by focusing on Faith, Finance, and Life. He has spoken on several platforms and trained thousands of people on capacity development, entrepreneurship, finance, investment, and academic excellence.
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