How Investment Books Fail To Live Up To Their Promise

Investors, like others looking to learn something, turn to books to get insights from the successful professionals in the industry. The problem with investment books is that they fall short of actually being able to teach someone to be a good enough investor to consistently beat the market.

Which isn't to say that there aren't investors out there that have the magic touch. But a very, very large percentage and one that very, very likely includes you, aren't going to beat the market and are probably going to do worse than the market.

Why is this? Think of investing as if it were golf. And the star golfer is Tiger Woods. If you read a golf book by Tiger Woods, would you expect to be as good as him? Sure, you may learn something and you may become a better golfer, but there is no way that Tiger Woods would be able to distill his talent in a bunch of pages of text. There is "something" about what he does and how he does that comes about because of who he is and the way his brain is wired. Similarly the investment masters such as Peter Lynch, Benjamin Graham, and Warren Buffet aren't going to be able to capture all the factors that make them good investors in a book.

So go ahead, read investment books and enjoy them like I do. But don't delude yourself in to thinking that you're going to become someone that can beat the market because of what you read in a book.

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