OLD Media Moves

A slew of new personal finance books but little help

January 20, 2009

Eleanor Laise of The Wall Street Journal writes Tuesday about all of the new personal finance tomes out to help readers deal with the current economic crisis, and argues that the actual usefulness of many of these books may be less than advertised.

Laise writes, “Some of the authors offer few specific tips, while others are substantially altering the advice they’ve served up in the recent past.”

Later, she adds, “There may be one way readers can use all these books to their advantage: Ignore the gloomy tone. A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Finance in 2006 found that stocks perform substantially better after the publication of bearish financial books than they do after bullish titles are published.

“‘If you go to the business section and everything is bullish, it’s time to watch out,’ says Larry Speidell, chief investment officer at Frontier Market Asset Management in La Jolla, Calif., and co-author of the study. On the other hand, Mr. Speidell calls the recent publication of ‘The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in History’ ‘a major buy signal.’

“Indeed, the work of Harry S. Dent Jr., author of ‘The Great Depression Ahead,’ shows that financial titles don’t always have perfect timing. While Mr. Dent’s 1993 book ‘The Great Boom Ahead’ was a well-timed forecast of the 1990s bull market, his 2004 book ‘The Next Great Bubble Boom: How to Profit from the Greatest Boom in History: 2005-2009’ proved less prescient.”

Read more here.

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