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On the Bookshelf

“How to Make Money in Stocks—Getting Started” (McGraw-Hill, 2013) is a beginner’s guide to Investor’s Business Daily’s (IBD) CAN SLIM system. Author Matthew Galgani says “this book is meant to supplement, not replace” William O’Neil’s “How to Make Money in Stocks” (McGraw-Hill, 2010). Those who have read O’Neil’s book and comprehend the system can feel comfortable skipping Galgani’s book; those who want a step-by-step approach may find the new text helpful.

Galgani walks readers through the basics of the CAN SLIM system, giving instructions on both buying and selling. At times it is repetitive, mentioning parts of the IBD website—such as the Market Pulse table—frequently. It also veers on the promotional, orienting investors to the IBD website and reminding them of the free trial.

The book does, however, show how to implement the system. There is enough clarity that CAN SLIM could be implemented without subscribing to IBD. To that end, it is a helpful text for those looking for a trading system that incorporates fundamental and technical indicators.

Kimberly Foss intertwines stories about her life and case studies with financial advice in “Wealthy by Design: A 5 Step Plan for Financial Security” (Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2013). The mix is a combination of personal insight, financial planning advice and portfolio management guidance.

At times, the book comes across as self-promotional. Foss, who is a financial planner, emphasizes the importance of working with a fee-only adviser throughout her book. She also routinely discusses using Dimensional Funds, which are only available through adviser and institutional investor channels.

This said, Foss does include good advice and examples. She includes a detailed list of questions to ask a prospective adviser. Her asset allocation models can easily be replicated with exchange-traded funds or index mutual funds (such as those offered by Vanguard). Foss emphasizes the importance of organization, communication and adhering to a long-term strategy.

While we can’t say new ground is covered in this book, Foss’ personal approach may resonate with some readers. It can also be a useful text for those currently or considering working with an adviser.


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