Most of the books that we review are either in-depth discussions of a specific financial topic or are meant to present a broad framework that investors can put to use. Wealth & Wisdom: Timeless Quotations and Comments About Money and Investingby George B. McAuliffe III is a very different sort of book, but it would still make a good addition to many independent investors’ bookshelves.
“It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations […] The quotations, when engraved upon the memory, give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more,” says Winston Churchill, in the first quotation that Wealth & Wisdom presents us with.
Wealth & Wisdom is a collection of quotations with a point of view
On one level, Wealth & Wisdom is a well-chosen collection of quotations, but a comparison to something like Bartlett’s misses the mark because this book has a point of view. McAuliffe is certainly interested in finance, and he quotes extensively from foundational thinkers like Walter Bagehot and Benjamin Graham as well as modern investors like Warren Buffett and Jeremy Grantham, but the real purpose of this book is to portray the state of mind that leads to good financial choices.
Drawing on quotations from Teddy Roosevelt, W. Somerset Maugham, religious texts and pop culture, McAuliffe gradually builds the case that the principles of proper preparation, calm in the face of adversity, and readiness to seize opportunities have never really left, it’s just that people keep re-learning them every few years. The parallels between pre-crash optimism in 2007 and 1929, for example, really drives home how much trouble we could avoid by keeping these principles in mind.
Wealth & Wisdom is ideal for investors who want to stay above the fray
Financial professionals may enjoy Wealth & Wisdom: Timeless Quotations and Comments About Money and Investing, and anyone who has to give regular talks will find it to be a great source of material, but the real audience for this book is the individual investor who wants to build the right mindset for a lifetime of patient, value investing. It’s easy to imagine financial advisors handing this books out during both ecstatic bull markets and trying bear markets so that clients don’t get too caught up in the mood of either.
It’s not a book that you should read straight through in an afternoon, but one that you should dip into from time to time, treating the chapters as short meditations on important topics. This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive guide to investing, but it’s a light and enjoyable book packed with sensible advice.
Readers can find the book on Amazon.com here – Wealth & Wisdom: Timeless Quotations and Comments About Money and Investing