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Don't Count on It! Reflections on Investment Illusions, Capitalism, Mutual Funds, Indexing, Entrepreneurship, Idealism, and Heroes
John C. Bogle

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Format: Hardcover, 603pp.
ISBN: 9780470643969
Publisher: Wiley
Pub. Date: November 2, 2010

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

In his Foreword, former Federal Reserve vice-chairman Alan S. Blinder writes, "America's vaunted financial system let us down big-time during the raucous decade of the 2000s." In Don't Count on It!, John C. Bogle—a man Dr. Blinder refers to as "the conscience of Wall Street"—identifies modern capitalism's flaws, explains how we arrived at this economic crossroads, and examines how we can begin to repair the damage before it's too late.

Don't Count on It! presents an anthology of Bogle's latest thinking, focused on how numbers deceive us into seeing things as other than they really are. He also presents a cogent analysis of the chinks in the armor of a financial system that has failed to live up to the responsibility owed to its individual and institutional investors.

Read and learn from the wise counsel of Vanguard's founder about how we deceive ourselves into accepting illusory and evanescent numbers rather than focusing on fundamental and intrinsic reality. Bogle argues that we confuse the market of real investing with the market of expectations, disregarding the beauty of simplicity in favor of the wizardry that creates complex "products" that serve Wall Street at the expense of its clients. Specifically, Bogle discusses:
  • The unconscionably high costs of financial intermediation
  • The disgraceful failure of money managers and agents to abide by what should have been traditional fiduciary standards
  • The unfortunate consequences of the dominance of short-term speculation over long-term investment
The subjects of Bogle's anthology go well beyond the investment markets, as indicated by the seven sections of Don't Count on It!—Investment Illusions, The Failure of Capitalism, What's Wrong with "Mutual" Funds, What's Right with Indexing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Idealism and the New Generation, and Heroes and Mentors.

His book encourages readers to better understand our complex financial system, to examine it, to debate it, to challenge it, and to fulfill our duty to ask simple questions and demand answers that are understandable, intelligent, and, above all, wise.>


"This collection of Jack Bogle's writings couldn't be more timely. The clarity of his thinking—and his insistence on the relevance of ethical standards—are totally relevant as we strive to rebuild a broken financial system. For too many years, his strong voice has been lost amid the cacophony of competing self-interests, misdirected complexity, and unbounded greed. Read, learn, and support Jack's mission to reform the industry that has been his life's work."
—PAUL VOLCKER, Chairman of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve (1979–1987)

"Jack Bogle has given investors throughout the world more wisdom and plain financial 'horse sense' than any person in the history of markets. This compendium of his best writings, particularly his post-crisis guidance, is absolutely essential reading for investors and those who care about the future of our society."
—ARTHUR LEVITT, former Chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

"Jack Bogle is one of the most lucid men in finance."
—NASSIM N.TALEB, PhD, author of The Black Swan

"Jack Bogle is one of the financial wise men whose experience spans the post–World War II years. This book, encompassing his insights on financial behavior, pitfalls, and remedies, with a special focus on mutual funds, is an essential read. We can only benefit from his observations."
—HENRY KAUFMAN, President, Henry Kaufman & Company, Inc.

"It was not an easy sell. The joke at first was that only finance professors invested in Vanguard's original index fund. But what a triumph it has been. And what a focused and passionate drive it took: it is a zero-sum game and only costs are certain. Thank you, Jack."
—JEREMY GRANTHAM, Cofounder and Chairman, GMO

"On finance, Jack Bogle thinks unconventionally. So, this sound rebel turns out to be right most of the time. Meanwhile, many of us sometimes engage in self-deception. So, this book will set us straight. And in the last few pages, Jack writes, and I agree, that Peter Bernstein was a giant. So is Jack Bogle."
—JEAN-MARIE EVEILLARD, Senior Adviser, First Eagle Investment Management

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About the Author

John C. Bogle is the founder of the Vanguard Group of Mutual Funds and President of its Bogle Financial Markets Research Center. He created Vanguard in 1974 and served as chairman and chief executive officer until 1996 and senior chairman until 2000. In 1999, Fortune magazine named Mr. Bogle as one of the four "Investment Giants" of the twentieth century; in 2004, Time magazine named him one of the world's 100 most powerful and influential people, and Institutional Investor presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2010, Forbes magazine described him as the person who "has done more good for investors than any other financier of the past century." Mr. Bogle graduated from Blair Academy cum laude in 1947 and Princeton University in 1951, magna cum laude in economics. In 1999, he received the University's Woodrow Wilson Award for distinguished achievement in the nation's service. Don't Count on It! is Mr. Bogle's ninth book. His earlier books include Common Sense on Mutual Funds, The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism, The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, and Enough.

Table of Contents



A Note to the Reader.

Part I: Investment Illusions.

Chapter 1: Don't Count On It! The Perils of Numeracy.

Chapter 2: The Relentless Rules of Humble Arithmetic.

Chapter 3: The Telltale Chart.

Chapter 4: A Question So Important That It Should Be Hard To Think about Anything Else.

Chapter 5: The Uncanny Ability to Recognize the Obvious.

Part II: Capitalism.

Chapter 6: What Went Wrong in Corporate America?

Chapter 7: Fixing a Broken Financial System.

Chapter 8: Vanishing Treasures: Business Values and Investment Values.

Chapter 9: A Crisis of Ethic Proportions.

Chapter 10: Black Monday and Black Swans.

Chapter 11: The Go-Go Years.

Part III: “Mutual” Funds.

Chapter 12: Re-Mutualizing the Mutual Fund Industry: The Alpha and the Omega.

Chapter 13: A New Order of Things: Bringing Mutuality to the “Mutual” Fund.

Chapter 14: The Fiduciary Principle: No Man Can Serve Two Masters.

Chapter 15: Mutual Funds at the Millennium: Fund Directors and Fund Myths.

Chapter 16: “High Standards of Commercial Honor…Just and Equitable Principles of Trade…Fair Dealing with Investors”.

Part IV: Indexing.

Chapter 17: Success In Investment Management: What Can We Learn From Indexing?

Chapter 18: As The Index Fund Moves from Heresy to Dogma…What More Do We Need To Know?

Chapter 19: “The Chief Cornerstone”.

Chapter 20: CONVERGENCE!

The Great Paradox: Just as Active Fund Management Becomes More and More Like Passive Indexing, So Passive Indexing Becomes More and More Like Active Fund Management.

Part V: Entrepreneurship.

Chapter 21: Capitalism, Entrepreneurship, and Investing: The 18th Century vs. the 21st Century.

Chapter 22: Seventeen Rules of Entrepreneurship.

Chapter 23: “Vanguard: Saga of Heroes”.

Chapter 24: When Does Innovation Go Too Far?

Part VI: Idealism.

Chapter 25: Business as a Calling.

Chapter 26: The Right Kind of Success.

Chapter 27: “This Above All: To Thine Own Self Be True”.

Chapter 28: “Enough”.

Chapter 29: If You Can Trust Yourself…

Chapter 30: The Fifth “Never”.

Chapter 31: “When a Man Comes to Himself”.

Part VII: Heroes.

Chapter 33: Paul A. Samuelson.

Chapter 34: Peter L. Bernstein.

Chapter 35: Bernard Lown, M.D..


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