The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing Book Review

Jeremy BiberdorfBy: Jeremy Biberdorf

March 28, 2013March 28, 2013

Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing Book Review

For a while now I’ve been wanting to be more active in my financial endeavors and get more into investing. You always hear all these stories of people getting their money working for them with solid investments that knowledgeable market investing has established. Meanwhile my money had been sitting in lousy mutual funds that bank reps had somehow convinced me to choose.

You can read more about how my stance on investing has been evolving since becoming a finance blogger.

While I have had some good chats about investing with some fellow bloggers giving me advice on how to do this and that, and which company or companies to invest in, I’ve already accepted that to really get started I would have to do plenty of reading on my own, to discover how to make the most of money in the stock market. Already I was seeing that different investors will have different strategies with regards to trading and buying shares. So to establish my own strategy I was going to have to read more into these different strategies on my own.

One of the first books I started with was ‘The Millionaire Teacher‘. While that provided a good passive strategy, I knew that would be potentially leaving money on the table.

Luckily I stumbled upon another book that provides a much more comprehensive strategy. This book is called ‘The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing‘ by Jason Kelly. The great thing about this book is that it is especially geared towards the novice investor who just getting started in investing. It doesn’t assume you are an experienced investor or that you already know all the various terminology. For me this was perfect as a guide to stock market investing. Kelly captured my investment needs perfectly.

I wouldn’t be so quick to disregard this book if you do have investing experience, and knowledge of Wall Street, though. The author highlights several investment strategies that are easy to employ with the clear instructions provided, in a concise and highly effective manner. So it very well could give you some ideas on how to adapt your strategies to achieve a higher return on your investments and protect yourself against losses. It might be just what you’re looking for to better streamline your strategy.

In my case I started this book knowing very little about investing other than the basics. Now I feel like I really understand the ins and outs of investing thanks to the discussion of principles that made it invaluable. Plus I have some solid strategies that I can put to use without the help of anyone. These strategies are rooted in the principles of informed and knowledgeable investing. If I do want to get more advanced with my investing strategy, this book provides a game plan for that route too. When I gain the confidence to make that move I’ll be sure to reread some key chapters of this book.

While Jason Kelly does push specific strategies that he’s had success with, he doesn’t insist that his strategies are the only way to prosper. He also highlights the strategies of some other very successful investors, such as Benjamin Graham and Peter Lynch. I especially like the way that Kelly summarizes the connections between disparate investment strategies such as focusing on the importance of research and always making sure to buy at a price that is less than the company’s potential value. Kelly also examines some long term strategies that have been proven by the history of the stock market.

With this diversified approach, we are sure to find some strategies that suit our personalities and specific situations and that we can use in conjunction with tools such as a reliable stock screener.

The part that I found most interesting is when the author covered how well certain strategies would’ve worked if employed over the years. This even captured my investment methods to some extent. Granted the research was done by someone else and published in another book, but Jason Kelly did a great job of summarizing it and explaining how those strategies could be used. Personally I’m all for techniques that have stood the test of time.

I also really enjoyed his explanation of how to research stocks. The author provides a worksheet to use to keep track of stocks and mutual funds and tells you exactly where to find the necessary info. You find out what you should be looking for in each piece of information that you compile.

Overall it was just an easy to understand book which was still highly informative. Jason Kelly captured that perfectly. I just wish I had read more investing books in the past to truly compare this book. In my opinion it’s a pretty solid book, but I admit I don’t have a whole lot of perspective. That shouldn’t take anything away from this book though. I still highly recommend the latest edition of “The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing.” It’s invaluable from the start.

Now read more about the author Jason Kelly in his words…

“I began as a technical writer, not an investor, focusing on how to explain the intricacies of hardware and software to IBM customers. The experience showed me how to teach people about complex topics in a way that was interesting to them.

I’d always been fascinated by finance and helped my mother manage her retirement account of mutual funds. One Christmas, I decided to write a book for her about mutual funds, which I called “The Neatest Little Guide to Mutual Fund Investing.”

Photocopies of it made their way around the family and into the community, and before I knew it I sent the book to my agent in New York. Until then, she represented only a novel of mine. We’d never discussed non-fiction, much less an investing book. In one of the great coincidental boosts of my career, her husband turned out to be a European equities expert at Goldman Sachs. He later started his own hedge fund in New York. So, the book found a good home with my agent. She placed it at Plume, and The Neatest Little Guide series was born.

After that, I devoted myself to investment writing. I met regularly with traders, managed both my own and private client money, started a newsletter to monitor the market, and wrote more books. My angle in the beginning was to show people how to prosper in the market without getting screwed by brokers and other hucksters, so my outsider status was valued.

I wrote The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing to put everything a newcomer could want in one book. Part of the challenge with stocks is that there are so many ways to approach the market. Beginners are overwhelmed with the volume of information. This is not unique to stocks, though. It’s true in computing and other fields, as well, and my experience distilling such information works perfectly with stocks.

I culled advice from the best market books, seminars, and other sources into a list of bullet points, found common ground among them, then pulled them together in a logical order that takes readers by the hand through the basic terminology of stocks, what the masters teach us, what market history has demonstrated, and some easy portfolio systems that put these lessons to work.

As investors venture into new territory to try their own ideas, they need resources. I gathered the best ones I’ve found in print and online so people know where to turn. The book is now in its fifth edition, the 2013, and is a helpful combination of timeless truths and updates to what’s constantly changing, such as performance numbers and websites and more perspective on the crash of 2008.

A new reader to this book should expect to understand the stock market better, and know concrete steps to take to open his or her first account, buy their first investment, and manage it through the ups and downs that follow. The progression from plans that are safe to plans with higher risk is a good one in the book, helping people learn with small amounts of money rather than big.

This is one aspect of the book that separates it from others. While respecting the intelligence of the reader, I also keep in mind that the stock market is dangerous, and go to great lengths to protect them from their own unseasoned judgment. We’ve all been there. The goal with educating newcomers in the market is to limit the damage during the learning process. Pay $1,000 to learn from losses and unexpected outcomes, not $100,000. Believe me, more people than will admit have lost six figures to stocks before finally learning basic truths.”

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Jeremy Biberdorf
Jeremy Biberdorf

About the Author:

Jeremy Biberdorf is the founder of Modest Money. He's a father of 2 beautiful girls, a dog owner, a long-time online entrepreneur and an investing enthusiast.

29 thoughts on “The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing Book Review”

  1. John S @ Frugal Rules

    Sounds like an interesting read. I like that you said it is geared towards novice investors. A lot of times investing related material assumes too much and that the reader knows more than they really do and ultimately is not very helpful.

    1. I agree and that fact makes it pretty intimidating for new investors to get involved. How can you learn something when you get all this industry terminology thrown at you that you might not understand in the first place?

    2. You’re right, John. Overwhelming newcomers with jargon and concepts they’re not familiar with is where most financial books go wrong, and why legions of people don’t understand money basics.

      This book follows a tried-and-true approach of telling readers what it’s going to tell them, telling them, then telling them what it told them. Key concepts are introduced, used, then recapped. Each chapter ends with a “What you should retain” summary, and even the whole book is summarized in bullet points.

      I hope it helps you get started!


    1. I think this book plays well off of Millionaire Teacher. While that book teaches you why mutual funds are not worthwhile, he focuses too much on index funds. This book gives a better alternative for people who want to be more proactive with their investing.

  2. I think there is a particular science to stock market. But then again folks who are “experts” are picking out stocks for others – like the folks on CNBC – deceive the public by not detailing why they pick a stock. The more they shout at callers on TV, the more they are successful and the more money they make for themselves. They don’t give a single iota about their audience.

    1. Yeah I wouldn’t put much faith in the people recommending stocks for the masses. Most of them have questionable records and care more about publicity than anything else.

    2. Without a doubt, Shafi. Five minutes of real stock research — which isn’t hard to assemble if you know where to look — is better than five hours of listening to so-called market gurus. Most of them lose to a coin toss over time, after all, which has been confirmed in study after study.

      Following a set of fundamental guidelines that have stood the test of time, knowing what history has revealed, and using resources with good track records is the way to go.

      Good luck!


  3. At the end of the day, I’m content to have a smaller return in return for having to do less work managing my portfolio. Part of the reason I don’t do much stock investing is because I don’t have a firm grasp on it. But the reason I’m 32 and don’t have a firm grasp on it is because it just feels like too much work that I’m just not interested in.

    1. It sounds like the couch potato strategy with focusing on index funds might be right for you. It can be done with minimal time and still provide better returns than mutual funds. I’m in the same boat that I don’t want to invest a lot of time at this point, but I’d still like try to free up some time and see what kind of success I could have.

  4. The Norwegian Girl

    I don`t know much about investing, so this might just be a must-read for me. I´ve been wanting to learn more about investing smart, but I`ve found the whole thing a bit confusing and much to learn, so I just put the whole thing off. But now…

    1. I think this book would be a great place to start. I really didn’t know much at all before reading it, but I’d feel a lot more confident investing now. If I wasn’t about to buy my first condo I’d already be out there doing the initial stock research to get started.

  5. I think the best advice in your post Jeremy is when you write “to establish my own strategy I was going to have to read more into these different strategies on my own”

    Whether you’re a novice or a more savvy investor, always research the researcher and make sure the decision is made that best fits you, your core values, and what direction you want your life to go in!

    Good post J 🙂

    1. Thanks Lou. It does make a lot of sense to base your strategy around your own personal situation. If you try to force the strategies recommended to the masses, you might have a tough time sticking to the strategy specifics or it might not suit you for other reasons. Too many people see someone else have success with a certain approach and then try to copy it without thinking of whether it is truly right for them or not.

  6. Kim@Eyesonthedollar

    I really enjoyed The Millionaire Teacher.This one looks like something I would like as well. Thanks for the giveaway.

    1. The reason I mention The Millionaire Teacher is because it is focused on a similar novice investor market. So if you enjoyed that one but you’re looking for more than just those index fund strategies, you’ll find this book to be quite useful.

    1. Let me know how you enjoy the book when you get a chance to check it out. I’d like to know how useful it is for someone with more investing experience.

  7. dailygainsletter

    In my opinion it is a great post about stock market investment. Experts believe that stock investment is a gamble and the ones who play their cards right makes it big while other bite the dust. With well performing stocks and market showing bullish trends, 2013 is indeed a great year for investing in the stock market.

    1. Yes it does seem that 2013 so far is a good year for investing, but who knows what the rest of the year will hold. After a lot of momentum there is a good chance that people could start to lose faith that the good times will continue.

  8. KC @ genxfinance

    Learning about finances, and everything else for that matter, never really stop. So, I’ll look this up.

  9. A good blog, especially for new investors and a complete guide for the existing ones. Though I guess each one’s choice of investment would differ as per their circumstances. So, one can take these essential tips and venture into the stock market. I invest in IRA along with investing in stock market as I’m looking for a comfortable retirement and I prefer looking up to the latest reports to keep a tab on the market trends.

  10. I’ve had so many investors e-mail and calling/ cold call/ on wanting me to invest with them. I have had money in a mutual fund but have not tried the stock market. Its a lot to keep up with and time consuming. I definattly would like to but finding the time and the effort it neeeds is something I don’t have and playing with money is just not me.

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