Sunday, June 03, 2007

Book Review: The Only Three Questions that Count

The Only Three Questions That Count: Investing by Knowing What Others Don't is written by Kenneth L. Fisher, the fifth longest running Forbes columnist in their history and the CEO of Fisher Investments. I met Ken Fisher many years ago when he gave a speech to the Mensa Investment Special Interest Group in San Francisco. [Yes, I'm a member of Mensa, the high IQ organization.] This was after he had written his Super Stocks book in 1984, and he talked about how the Price Sales Ratio [a brand new concept back then] is far more important that the Price Earnings Ratio.

The Only Three Questions book an outstanding manual, with very, very thorough supporting data and historical examples proving his theses. The subtitle says it all: 'Investing by Knowing What Others Don't'. I'm not going to tell you what the Three Questions are that are referenced in the title, since I don't want to ruin it for you.

However, I will tell you about one of the most interesting sections where he debunks some of the more popular investment beliefs. Did you know that high P/E markets are no more riskier than low P/E stock market? Fisher goes into massive detail to prove that low P/E markets are just as risky if not riskier than high P/E markets. He also discusses the myth that America has way too much debt and proves that debt is good for the economy. Chapter 6 is a must read even if you skim the rest of the 448 page book.

I love the way that he intersperses humor throughout the book. Check out the definition of 'politics' on page 37. He takes a completely different approach to investing than Jim Cramer. Fisher believes that your portfolio should have 20 stocks in your portfolio at a bare minimum, or a minimum of 60 stocks if you include foreign stocks in your portfolio.

I strongly recommend that you pick up a copy of this book in order to improve your investment knowledge and skills.

No comments: