No. of Recommendations: 0

I am just getting toward the end of "Four Pillars". Wish I had read this first. Berstein is interesting and informative to read for novice investors like myself. He does not hold back on his criticism of the brokerage industry, money managers, and many mutual funds and how their intrests are not usually aligned with the client.

However, in my own experience, I have found that some brokers are reasonable to deal with. I have had dealings with Schwab and Merrill where they have given me decent advice. It prevented me from making mistakes which would have resulted in additional fees for them. I suppose I was lucky.

On the other hand, a friend of mine was taken to the cleaners by a broker at Morgan Stanley who had her transfer her company IRA (conservatively invested) to them in a wrap account at the top of the bubble. He invested it rather aggresively and lost about 40% for her. So Berstein's points are well taken.

I haven't yet determined exactly what Berstein's agenda is or if he has one. He makes the case that the reader is very unlikely to beat the market and full time professionals and is better off in index funds, particularly Vanguard. Somehow, this worries me a little. Bogle endorses the book. Bernstein seems to have an investment advisory company. Are they just tooting their own horns?

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