Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I recently read "Enough" by John C. Bogle. Bogle founded the Vanguard mutual fund complex in 1975. Its low cost shareholder oriented philosophy has been very successful. I have owned shares in a couple of Vanguard funds for many years.

Unfortunately while I think Bogle accomplished a great thing by creating Vanguard he doesn't seem to be a very interesting man or writer. When selecting someone to entrust with your money there is a lot to be said for the boring straight arrow. However this is less attractive in a writer.

"Enough" largely consists of various arguments that people today are overly selfish and insufficiently public spirited. Few of the ideas are original. Bogle is hardly the first to observe for example that it would nice if everybody followed the Golden Rule . And Bogle is not a particularly compelling writer.

This is not to say Bogle is wrong. I think our society would be better if there was more social pressure against seeking purely private advantage. But Bogle is not in my view the best advocate for this position. Warren Buffet has similar views and in my experience is a better and more interesting writer.

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