By Patrick Pappano
Cardyf Company, $39.95, 646 pages
Owning Main Street: A Beginner’s Guide To The Stock Market by Patrick Pappano is an excellent resource for the person who has a basic understanding of economics. At almost 600 pages, it functions less so than just a quick guide, but rather more like a textbook or a true course in the foundations of investing. It’s a fabulous resource, as Pappano has training as a stockbroker, and he offers his experience like a great teacher. He makes references to many great thinkers and creates metaphors and connections that really work. Readers will enjoy his conversational, yet informative writing that is not condescending. Pappano brings in interesting examples of investment history, from Tulip Mania of 1637 to the stock market crash of 2008.
“Economics is the study of scarcity.”
Owning Main Street advises readers to skip financial advisors and to avoid listening to “Wall St. Chatter,” and instead pay attention to what’s going on in newspapers and on the street in order to choose wisely when investing. Important topics that aren’t necessarily directly related to investing are discussed in order to give readers a broad context and understanding of investment. The difference between investing and gambling is broken down, mutual funds are demystified, The S&P 500 is discussed, the cycle and patterns of corporations is covered and basic concepts such as the rule of 72 are mentioned. Helpful graphs give visuals of concepts and patterns over time. Color reproductions of paintings of Wall St. characters and office life head each chapter, all done by Ben Aronson.
This book is well written, and interesting—one might imagine that a book on the subject could fall into the category of a boring, lecture-like read. One downside is that, for readers wanting a quicker tour through the world of investing, the book is lengthy. While all of the information is relevant and useful, readers might benefit from chapter summaries that recap the important points. Perhaps an outline at the beginning of each chapter would help the flow of the book (although it is already quite good). It is always helpful to know where you’re at and what’s to come.
Reviewed by Giovanna Marcus