Andrew Allentuck

Monday, February 11, 2002

CNBC Guide to Money & Markets: Everything You Need to Know about Your Finances and Investments
by CNBC with Jeff Wuorio
John Wiley & Sons, 2002
175 pages
ISBN 0-471-39993-0

Want to be a bond investor but haven't got a year to study the subject or even a couple of evenings to read a good bond book? Then the CNBC Guide to Money & Markets, complete with the conceit that it's got everything you need to know, could be an answer. Let's be honest here - there is more to know than what this book presents on topics like buying mutual funds. The guide covers it in 24 pages, which is barely what most book on the topic use for an introduction. But in those 24 pages of tight, right prose, the guide hits the hot buttons on fees, volatility, effect of management fees and sales loads, tax efficiency and portfolio turnover.

The book is candid too, more than one might expect for a purportedly quick study of securities markets. On Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), the CNBC Guide shows that the hype that goes with an offer quickly fizzles. When that happens, trading volume declines, the price sinks and early investors who got in on the IPO and held on turn out to be losers. In the end, the Guide says, "more often than not, IPOs sold to individual investors aren't worth the time."

The CNBC Guide to Money & Markets is so sharp, so concise, and so wise that even professionals can pick up pointers on securities markets they seldom touch. From discussions of finanical goals to asset types, and even risk aversion plans like insurance, it's a virtual emergency kit for investors. It's really a must-have.