This is Insana’s 8th stop on his tour around the personal finance blog space, and we welcome his book–“How to Make a Fortune from the Biggest Bailout in U.S. History”–to Fiscal Fizzle. Many friends of the blog have already reviewed this book, but in the interest of remaining impartial, I have purposely avoided those reviews for now!
Insana is an award-winning financial journalist who has worked for CNBC for the last 17 years. Mention his name to anyone who watches the stock market carefully, and they will nod with approval (they did for me, anyway). As he explains in his book, he’s also built quite a name for himself as a market historian, and those undertones definitely come through in his message.
After finishing any book, I always like to look for the tag line and see whether the reading lived up to the hype. In this case, it’s “A Guide to the 7 Greatest Bargains from Main Street to Wall Street.” Although Insana never refers to the list of seven directly (I swear I thought he did, but could not find the passage), the seven include stocks, real estate, bonds, and bailout money. Promise fulfilled.
If you’re looking for practical investment advice, this is not the book for you. Although Insana gives some specific stock picks, most chapters are filled with quick examples, and the readers are left to their own devices to do their homework. Rather, the book reads more like an investing pep talk, briefly explaining the why of investing, and motivating you to take action.
The lack of practical advice is not, by any means, bad. To include such information would be unpractical (think of the size of that book), perhaps illegal or lawsuit-worthy (as evidenced by the large amount of disclaimers in the book), and definitely not in the spirit with which the book was written.
We already have enough talking heads on TV (coincidentally, of which Insana is one, sorry!) talking about the latest stock picks. Moving away from that, this book actually explains why you should care and how to approach investing in such a turbulent economic time.
Overall, out of all the books I reviewed in the last 12 months, this was probably the most refreshing and most interesting. It was a quick read, not because of lack of content, but because it kept my attention like only a good novel would. And it was written at the perfect level of understanding for someone like me–someone who has dabbled in investing but doesn’t understand the intricacies of market forces and how things necessarily work under the surface.
One last note: Insana’s book suffers from the fact that the write-to-publish timeline is still fairly long (+/- 6 months for this book). While he tries his best to predict events beyond the publishing of the book, the fact of today’s fast-moving political and economic climate is that things are happening quickly. I feel for him, but the reality is that this book might be outdated quickly. But then again, that’s the point–act now to profit or forever hold your peace.
Those are my thoughts on the book, but here’s what you can actually expect to learn after reading through it:
- How the real estate market and the economy as a whole collapsed, in short form.
- Why now is the time to invest, while everything’s on sale.
- What the “great” investors are doing right now to make money.
- Resources for finding great investment deals and the latest news.
- Why we look for deals in the purchases we make, but not in our investments.
- Concerns about what the future of the economy might bring.
- How the stock market has performed historically in recessions and recoveries, and what opportunities are in the market now.
- How to invest in real estate through the market.
- TIPS, muni bonds, corporate bonds, and junk bonds–how to understand and profit from these “safer” investments.
- A real estate primer, and how to take advantage of today’s low prices.
- Resources for finding rock-bottom homes in distress.
- How to profit on the government’s bailout by using asset-backed securities.
Giving Away a Copy
That’s right–the publisher will send one lucky winner a copy of this awesome book, absolutely free. (Open to US & Canada residents only, sorry!) To win, all you have to do is leave a comment, hopefully touching on the following question:
- What financial moves are you making right now that relate to what the economy is doing?
Good luck! I’ll draw one lucky winner next Friday and email you directly to send a copy.
Disclosure: The review copy of this book was sent to me free of charge by the publisher’s agent.