Harriman’s New Book of Investing Rules
Edited by Christopher Parker
Published by Harriman House, £19.99
(Buy at Amazon)
If you’re looking for a single book that can give you the uncanny ability to quote dozens of famous investors at your next dinner party, Harriman’s New Book of Investing Rules should be top of your shopping list.
Although it comes in at a daunting 518 pages long, this is the kind of easy-to-read collection that you can dip in and out of as the mood takes you. Each writer has chosen to impart investment wisdom in a different way, which makes the book more lively than had it been written by a single author.
With 67 contributors covering a wide range of topics, there’s likely to be something here for everyone. Some contributors, such as Frank Armstrong, a former US Air Force pilot turned investment adviser, couch their advice in metaphors, which can be entertaining – albeit in a slightly heavy-handed way (no prizes for guessing which theme Armstrong goes with). Others, such as fund manager Nick Train, take a more straightforward approach.
Train sets out the “seven pillars of investing wisdom” that he tries to remember before planning what to do with his own cash – “before I give up and just buy more shares in [his own] Finsbury Growth & Income Trust”.
Elsewhere, you can absorb the lessons from history’s greatest investors in one go, in a chapter from MoneyWeek’s Matthew Partridge (an excerpt from his book, Superinvestors). Or if you’re in the mood for something more whimsical, try “Reflections on a Life in the City” by ex-broker David Buik.
For simple advice, you might be better off with a more straightforward guide – the contributors often contradict each other – but otherwise this is a solid introduction to a wide range of ideas. The editor says that he “sought… to bring together a fresh selection of the most interesting and eloquent exponents of as wide a range of investing approaches as possible”, hoping to capture “something of the open-minded world of investing”.
For the most part, he has succeeded. That said, it’s hard to ignore the fact that just one contributor is a woman. While investment remains a male-dominated arena, there are plenty of successful, high-profile female managers and it seems remiss not to turn to some of them for another perspective.