The Sceptical Investor
How contrarians bet against the market and win
-and you can too
Most books on investing have a positive title, like “How to win at investing” or something similar,
but Stepek has chosen as a main title one that is fitting to his cautious and thoughtful approach
(the subtitle does a better job of whetting the reader's appetite) . The Sceptial Investor proffers to be about
contrarian investing, a subject that could be covered in a handful of pages, but this book is so
much more. The stall is set out with a foreword by Merryn Somerset Webb highlighting the need for a
new type of book which leads us into why Stepek has opted for the term “sceptical” rather than
“contrarian”. This makes perfect sense as his approach is measured towards the investment industry and media as a whole.
The subjects covered range from; how to gauge a fund manager who wants to look after your hard
earned cash, to highlighting the behavioural finance traits that have dominated finance books over
recent years. Where this book sets itself apart is, rather than just explaining subjects like loss
aversion and other types of bias, practical solutions are offered to combat these potential mental
On the subject of the book's practicality, there are sections on how to spot bubbles, finding the cheapest markets, how the role of a CEO has changed - and what to look for in one, how to use the media and a look at value investing as a contrary strategy to name but a few. These subjects highlight just quite how understated the title is.
Stepek's style of writing is polished and easy to follow, making it possible to tear through the book with ease – however I would caution against this as it should be treated as a fine wine to be sipped and savoured. The points he's making might sound simple and logical, but are often profound.
Whilst there is a bias towards equity investing rather than trading, this is a conscious decision and the practicality of whats on offer will be useful to anyone wanting to enter into the world of investing or improve their current skills.
All in all this an excellent book, packed with thought provoking advice and practical guidance that reveals a genuine desire to assist the reader. Whether you're looking to take charge of your own investments, or entrust a professional, step one should be to read this book.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was sent a copy of this title for review, however all thoughts and comments are entirely my own.
Book Review by Paul Rodriguez,