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From the Bookshelf

Calling the appendix the best part of a book may seem like criticism, but in the case of “Templeton’s Way With Money: Strategies and Philosophy of a Legendary Investor” (John Wiley & Sons, 2012), it is a compliment. Authors Jonathan Davis and Alasdair Nairn devote nearly 50 pages to memos, letters and other observations by the late Sir John Templeton. The collection, which the authors claim includes many writings not previously published, is the highlight of the book.

This is certainly not the first text written about Templeton, and those who have read previous books about the famous investor will find some of the content to be a reiteration. The value that Davis and Nairn offer is the collection of Templeton’s writings, along with observations on Templeton’s performance and how his philosophy could be applied today. To that end, this book can serve as a nice compliment to other Templeton books.

For investors who only have a passing knowledge of Templeton, this book offers a good introduction. The inclusion of his writings provides an unfiltered look at Templeton’s thinking, though the book’s authors overlay their own observations and analysis.

Combining a high-level overview of investing with specific guidance in under 200 pages is not an easy task to accomplish, but this is exactly what Tadas Viskanta does in “Abnormal Returns: Winning Strategies From the Frontlines of the Investment Blogosphere” (McGraw-Hill, 2012). Viskanta walks investors through the major concepts of investing, while delving into details when warranted.

The book incorporates the author’s philosophy, while pulling many quotes from investment experts. The mix creates an easy-to-read text that reinforces and explains key points. It’s a style we have seen before, but when used effectively—as it is here—it does add value.

Investors looking for a book on how to trade stocks or for macro themes from the author’s blog, Abnormal Returns, will be disappointed. This book focuses on long-term portfolio management, with an argument for diversification and valuation. Its emphasis on how things are, versus a reliance on theories, makes this book a good read for investors with a variety of skill and experience levels.


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