I had not known anything about Ron DeLegge prior to reading this book. I chanced to read it as I was offered a free copy by the publishers. Once I finished the book, I found out that he was a former financial advisor and also a current radio host on investing. This book is a punishing expose of the financial industry as a whole, especially Wall Street, and written in much lighter vein.
The book exposes the dark side of American finance, especially the investment side of it that is actively promoted by the government, the IRS, the SEC, the media and also the financial regulators. In short, it says that they are all hand-in-glove with each other, stringing the naive investing citizen along, resulting in the investor being separated from her hard-earned wealth. The book shows how greed runs amok, ignoring common sense and stark reality that stares you in the face.
I have been one of those naive investors for 15 years and have been conned and robbed by the investment banks of much of my money through their financial 'advisors'. It is only after losing most of my money in the downturns that I started studying more deeply about investment and came to understand many of the malpractices of Wall street, which DeLegge humorously points out. However, just this understanding alone does not help me keep my money away from the vultures. In real life, the purpose is to find ways as to how to keep your money from being 'siphoned off' by Wall street. Eventually, I learnt the lessons of index investing even though the book does not cover that aspect. In my experience, I feel that all the mumbo-jumbo of investing can be reduced to focus on just three points: 1. Reduce the risk in your portfolio to what you can tolerate. 2. Invest and trade such that you reduce taxes. 3. Allocate to beat inflation, taking into account your risk tolerance.
I ask myself if I would have benefited from DeLegge's book had I read it before the 2000 dotcom crash. Unfortunately the answer is 'No'. The fault is not with the book but with the characteristics of the 'Customer' that Ron himself outlines in his book. I needed to lose substantial money in order to take a hard look at the whole scenario. Then only the ordinary investor is ready to heed these lessons outlined in the book. In the same way, only after losing money consistently through the 'advice' of the advisors of your investment bank, do you realize that you don't need to pay money managers to 'take care' of your money. After the debacle of 2008, it has become gradually apparent to many that the whole system is smoke and mirrors and corrupt. Insider trading seems to be the dharma of Wall Street rather than an exception. So, De Legge's book can be enjoyed for its humor only by people who have been scarred by Wall Street. The ones who still have much of their money and not lost a lot of it in the stock market, ironically, might see Ron's book as that of a cynic and naysayer and hence dismiss it. That is the paradox of such books.
The book is a breezy and humorous read. Ron says, "Keep your cents and the money will follow". It is good advice to follow.