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Book Review: That Thing Rich People Do

That Thing Rich People Do

If you know anything about investments, this is not the book for you.  This is the book for your relative or friend that doesn’t have the barest idea about how to manage money.

This was another book that I thought I would not like after the first few chapters.  Too cutesy.  Too certain.  As the book moved on, it broadened out and gave the sort of advice that I would give to neophytes, with a few exceptions.

The book’s title derives from the show “30 Rock,” where the character played by Tina Fey says, “I have to do that thing rich people do, where they turn money into more money.” (Sigh.  I am so glad I don’t own a television.  Hey, let me give you some unsolicited advice: get rid of your television.  You will become far more rational and productive, and then, you will have more opportunities “to do that thing rich people do, where they turn money into more money.”  Sorry, turning rant mode off.)

This book gives the basics:

  • Saving
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Asset allocation
  • Warnings on insurance and annuities.
  • Diversification
  • Avoiding Fear and Greed
  • Avoiding Expenses
  • Avoiding Taxes
  • Passive Investing (best for neophytes)
  • Further Reading — if a neophyte needed a book list to expand his knowledge, the author gives a good list.

The book is clearly written, and sometimes engaging, sometimes humorous.  But it gets the job done for neophytes, and that is what counts.


It would have been a benefit to the average reader to point them to Vanguard, especially for bonds, when expenses eat up so much of the returns.

Who would benefit from this book:

Only neophytes will benefit from this book.  It’s not long at ~140 pages; the chapters are easy to read at an average of 6 pages.

If you want to, you can buy it here: That Thing Rich People Do: Required Reading for Investors.

Full disclosure: I asked the publisher for a copy, and they sent one to me.

If you enter Amazon through my site, and you buy anything, I get a small commission.  This is my main source of blog revenue.  I prefer this to a “tip jar” because I want you to get something you want, rather than merely giving me a tip.  Book reviews take time, particularly with the reading, which most book reviewers don’t do in full, and I typically do. (When I don’t, I mention that I scanned the book.  Also, I never use the data that the PR flacks send out.)

Most people buying at Amazon do not enter via a referring website.  Thus Amazon builds an extra 1-3% into the prices to all buyers to compensate for the commissions given to the minority that come through referring sites.  Whether you buy at Amazon directly or enter via my site, your prices don’t change.

Asset Allocation, Bonds, Book reviews, Personal Finance, Portfolio Management, Stocks | RSS 2.0 |

3 Responses to Book Review: That Thing Rich People Do

  1. tapertaper says:

    I thought that quote was pretty funny, actually.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David Merkel, seriouslystocks. seriouslystocks said: Book Review: That Thing Rich People Do: If you know anything about investments, this is not the b… #stocks #bonds [...]


David Merkel is an investment professional, and like every investment professional, he makes mistakes. David encourages you to do your own independent "due diligence" on any idea that he talks about, because he could be wrong. Nothing written here, at RealMoney, Wall Street All-Stars, or anywhere else David may write is an invitation to buy or sell any particular security; at most, David is handing out educated guesses as to what the markets may do. David is fond of saying, "The markets always find a new way to make a fool out of you," and so he encourages caution in investing. Risk control wins the game in the long run, not bold moves. Even the best strategies of the past fail, sometimes spectacularly, when you least expect it. David is not immune to that, so please understand that any past success of his will be probably be followed by failures.

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