I recently came across Jim Rogers’ new book – Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets – and I’d figure some of you may enjoy reading a brief review of it.
For those of you who do not know who Jim Rogers is, permit me to give you his brief bio. James Beeland Rogers, Jr. (born October 19, 1942) is an American investor and author. He is currently based in Singapore. Rogers is the Chairman of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests, Inc. He was the co-founder of the Quantum Fund with George Soros and creator of the Rogers International Commodities Index (RICI). Jim is a well-known investor who has appeared on numerous financial TV shows.
He has written several other books, some of which are: Adventure Capitalist, Investment Biker, A Gift to My Children, Hot Commodities, A Bull in China. I haven’t read any of his other books but I plan on grabbing a copy of each one soon.
Now on to the book. First of all I should mention that this book is not a “how to” guide on investing. Instead this books is part memoir, part investment primer, part history lesson, part travelogue, part sermon, and just an all around good read. Jim Rogers is a strongly opinionated guy and I for one can definitely appreciate and respect that. He has a wealth of investing experience so what he says is not a bunch of hot air or rehashed investment cliches. So if you get a chance to read the book (and I suggest you do) and you get to a parts where Mr. Rogers espouses his passionate opinions, take a deep breath and consider what he is saying before you react in a sort of “knee-jerk” fashion.
I’m not a literary critic by any means but if I was to comment upon how the book was written I’d say that Jim did a fine job. His language is simple, clear, concise, and empty of any jargon or run on sentences. Put simply, it is terse and pithy, which is precisely how a book should be in my opinion. It is also not a super long read either, so I think if you dedicate an hour tops per day you should be able to finish it in a week or two.
In this book Roger puts forth several personal viewpoints that I believe are worth considering. Some of them you may not agree with some of them you might. I found myself agreeing with quite a few of them. Some of them I can’t comment on as I do not happen to have the relevant background experience (such as the US educational system – I was not educated in the US , etc). Here are some of the interesting “core” ideas in this book:
- The US is declining as fast as Asia is rising.
- If you want to give your kids a good education, make sure they learn Chinese.
- The best investment opportunities are in Asia.
- The US spends twice as much on healthcare as the average nation and gets terrible outcomes.
- High healthcare and litigation costs are the major reasons why American carmakers can’t compete globally.
- The fourth leading cause of death in the US is hospital infection.
- The US will go the way of Rome, Timbuktu, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Greece.
- The cure for high prices is high prices.
- Jim Rogers is always two or three years ahead of the curve.
- Because governments are debasing currencies, commodities are the best investment.
- Don’t believe government statistics.
- According to government stats, there are more pets in Japan than children.
- The school system in Singapore is far superior to any in the US.
- Marco polo did not have a passport.
- Throughout history, the most prosperous societies have been open ones.
- In the US, the primacy of the individual has become subordinated to the state.
- If you want to save America, change to a consumption tax, change our education system, institute healthcare and litigation reform, and bring home our troops (from over 100 countries.)
- The only real failure is not to try; the only improper question is the one unasked.
What do you think? These ideas are definitely unconventional, but wisdom is rarely conventional – especially when one truly has a pioneering ideas. History will prove Jim Rogers right or wrong, and thus far he’s been right with a remarkable level of accuracy. Let me know what you think of his ideas and if you get a chance to read his book let me know what you think.
So this concludes my humble review. Overall id’s give this book a score of 9 out 10. It is in my opinion a good read and I definitely recommend it. Now on to ebay and amazon to find me some copies of his other books.
Happy investing to you all!