Readers who read investment books aren’t looking for the twists and turns of a mystery novel; they want advice and ideas on how to become better investors. David Rubenstein’s “How to Invest: Masters on the Craft” is filled with interviews from a handful of the smartest and most successful investors in recent decades, but offers relatively few “practical takeaways,” according to a review of the book in The Wall Street Journal.
Many of those interviewed in the book offer suggestions for individual investors, such as investing in the S&P 500 (from Marc Andreessen) and putting money into your own home (from John Paulson). Stan Druckenmiller was frank in his interview, telling Rubenstein that investors “shouldn’t be listening to anything I’d say [in the] short term because my views could change.” All of that is worthwhile reading, but not exactly ground-breaking.
Meanwhile, well-known investors such as Ray Dalio and Jim Simons offered platitudes while withholding their secret formulas for success, the review opines. Such banal advice reiterates what Adebayo Ogunlesi told Rubenstein: “No matter how smart you are…there really is no substitute for experience in the investment business”—advice he himself received from Henry Kravis. That would suggest that reading all the advice contained within “How To Invest” won’t make anyone a better investor.
But while readers might not come away with much practical advice they can put to use, the book is still filled with fascinating biographical information and character studies on some of the world’s foremost investors of our generation—some of whom have been notoriously private, such as Seth Klarman. Their personal stories and ideas about investing alone are what make the book interesting, rather than its lack of trade secrets or potions for successful investing, the article concludes.