So I’ve already reviewed previous editions of Andrew Tobias’ The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need—both the 1998 edition and the 2004 edition—but now I’ve read the 2011 edition.

I’ve really loved this book in the past, and it’s probably one of the most life-changing books I’ve ever read, as it got me started with saving and investing money by demystifying a complex and confusing subject back when I first read it. So it sort of pains me to say that the book may be getting a bit long in the tooth.

Oh, the 2011 edition is all revised-up, to be sure. It makes reference to recent events, updates some anecdotes with recent data, and points to relevant resources. But while that worked fine with the previous editions (the book is originally from the ’70s), the world has changed enough now that it is starting to feel like it’s in need of a wider-ranging revision. All the references to brokers, for instance — do you know anyone who actually uses a personal broker for managing their investment? I don’t even know where you’d find one. The internet has made that sort of thing completely irrelevant, and while the text of the book acknowledges that in places, it was fundamentally written in an era when brokers were the only way to invest, and it shows.

It’s still a good book, and if you don’t know a darn thing about anything, you could do a lot worse than to read it. But it’s going to feel dated in a few places, and (I feel) it’s not emphatic enough about precisely how to do the right thing. At this point, I actually think that Burton Malkiel’s investment guide is the better book; but on the other hand, I haven’t been new and confused and intimidated by this stuff for quite a while, and don’t trust my judgments on how they’d come across to someone trying to get themselves started on investing.


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