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Boy, the Globe doesn't pull any punches, and singles out Rule Breakers Rule Makers for particular ire. From writer with otherwise Foolish tendencies.

PERSONAL FINANCE
An investment tip: Don't buy these books
Dregs of personal-finance offerings don't deserve one's time
By Charles A. Jaffe, Globe Staff, 06/28/99


http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/179/business/An_investment_tip_Don_t_buy_these_books+.shtml

-Steve


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Hey sklam,

Thanks for pointing out a well-researched review. As he says, he doesn't like reading investment books. Maybe if he actually read them to the end, he might enjoy them more. Do you think he reads the first chapter of a murder mystery and then gives up because he hasn't been told whodunnit?

angussb.
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What a shallow article. It didn't give any substantive reasons to dislike any of the books it listed, except a one or two personal opinions by the author. Talk about superficial!!! And I'm fairly objective -- I'm not saying this just because I like the Gardner Bros.' books. The article truly was shallow.

Trevar
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The one nugget of insight I got from the Globe's review is that RB-RM should have put more emphasis on how the RB-RM criteria would have ruled out apparent RB-RM companies from the past that went on to disappoint, return-wise.

As I read the book, I kept wishing there were a way to back-test the strategies. It just can't be done honestly, because as somebody famous once said "The victors write the history books" (Meaning, the Microsofts and Intels tend to get the lion's share of scrutiny in the backwards-looking press precisely because they are so dominant now.)

I guess we could try to evaluate future RM companies versus their competition using only facts and data WIDELY KNOWN AT THE TIME, but with such subjective selection criteria, who among us could be totally blind to the "future" (which to us in 1999 is the past)?

Still, I agree, it was a poorly written review. Lazy might be a better word.
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I admit that I was really surprised by Jaffe's slam. I thought his research on our book lacked thoroughness and was disappointed by his conclusions. That said, hey, this all comes with the territory -- and I'm always open to dissenting opinions.

That said, I actually believe that the Rule Maker model can be (and in many ways, has been) backtested. I have no idea how Jaffe can come to the conclusion that the Maker approach wouldn't have ruled out a second-rate business model like that at Wang. Had he gone back and applied the criteria to Wang, he would've found low margins, declining sales, and mismanaged inventory.

The conclusions he drew in his column leave me no other choice than to believe he went in heavily biased, with an agenda. I come out of it more certain than ever that the traditional, we-tell-the-people-what-to-think media are in serious trouble. Open communities will hurt reporters that let bias replace detailed research.

Label me disappointed by this one -- but quite satisfied with the more constructive criticism we've received on this and our other books.

Foolishly,

Tom Gardner
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Okay, so on page one of Chapter 1, we have ... a concise summary of evolution (education)for use in defining "our" terms on page two (good debate and discussion technique). Next, we wrap this up into a tight metaphor regarding the purpose of the chapter as a whole, and I quote Aristotle (in Poetics), "...the greatest thing by far is to be the master of metaphor."

This is what Jaffe calls "overwritten to cover a lack of substance."

Rubbish.

I think Jaffe has spent so much time reading the garbage that floods the business and investment section of the bookstore that he doesn't recognize good writing when he sees it. Poor guy, that is if he actually read the book in the first place.

It's a good read, and it has a clearly presented investment philosophy. It was worth all $15.49. (Being a Fool, I know you didn't expect me to pay full price!)

Fool on (and write some more),

MEVDFE

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Poor guy, that is if
he actually read the book in the first place.


I had the same thought myself!!

It's a good read, and it has a clearly presented investment philosophy. It was worth all $15.49.
(Being a Fool, I know you didn't expect me to pay full price!)

I was a bigger Fool, for I checked it out from the library just to save a few bucks.
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