John Bogle's Books on Investing

I have heard a lot about Bogle’s books and even though I already agree with investing passively in cheap Index ETFs being the best option for most investors I thought that it might be interesting to see what he had to say.

So, I have been thinking of reading one of his books.
I have searched online and it seems like these are the two most popular/helpful:

  • The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns)

  • Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor

Has anyone read either, or even better, both?
And if so, would you be happy to let us know your thoughts?

Note: I understand that he is the founder of Vanguard, which is based around passive investing, hence he is likely to be very biased.

Thank you.


To add, there is another reason why I am considering reading one of his books.

I think that passive Index investing is the best way of investing for those people that want to invest but do not have the time to research individual companies (which is actually most people I would say) and for those that would like to limit their volatility and risk. Basically a bit of a “set and forget” type of investing, just to come back a number of years down the road and take the benefits :smiley: .

As such, I have a friend who is looking at starting to invest in the near future. I was considering that if they ask me I would suggest them a book on passive investing and I was thinking that one of the John Bogle books might be useful. I would like to read it beforehand before recommending it though.

So, another point to consider, which would you say is the best book to gain an introduction into investing and passive Index investing?
My friend knows nothing about investing, so if the book could cover the basics, as well as some content about passive investing that would be great :smiley: .


For your friend, it may make sense if they start with a robo investor to dip their paws in so to speak.

Some of them have some decent sign up offers for those starting from zero. Think £40 bonus after 6 months when you invest £400, or £100 bonus after 12 months when you invest £100 a month.

They also publish some articles which may be of interest to a new investor, like you say who does not have time to research stocks themselves. That and the sign up bonus effectively counts as a 8-10% buffer for short term losses.

Once they are a bit more comfortable investing, the books might help direct them to cheaper ETFs, so they are paying say 0.2% in fees for a global equity tracker picking it themselves, rather than paying fees up to about 1% all in for a robo investor, at a time they are more comfortable managing things themselves.

1 Like

This new edition of The Little Book of Common Sense Investing offers you the same solid strategy as its predecessor for building your financial future.

  • Build a broadly diversified, low-cost portfolio without the risks of individual stocks, manager selection, or sector rotation.
  • Forget the fads and marketing hype, and focus on what works in the real world.
  • Understand that stock returns are generated by three sources (dividend yield, earnings growth, and change in market valuation) in order to establish rational expectations for stock returns over the coming decade.
  • Recognize that in the long run, business reality trumps market expectations.
  • Learn how to harness the magic of compounding returns while avoiding the tyranny of compounding costs.

The narrative for the book sounds like it would actually make a very good read to new investors.

I know far too many people forget dividend stocks and think they lose value over time because of the dividend, and do not consider the total return. Reading reviews of this book, this appears to address that in some sense.

1 Like

I bought both of them.
Common sense i’ve not read yet but the little book yes, and is very instructive about passive investment although very focused from a US person perspective.

Also I bought a couple more books : the quest for alpha, how a second grader beats wall street, millionaire expat (i think is the best with a global perspective), unconventional success a fundamental approach to personal investment (a very very good one from the Yale endowment fund CIO David Swensen with a interesting portfolio to replicate)


I’ve not read any of his books yet but I’ve always liked this WSJ article he wrote about the proliferation of ETFs for every trend under the sun.

1 Like