October 22, 2009

Book Review

A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel

This is a classic investment book. It gives a brief introduction to the major investing styles/theories and explains why the best bet for most people is to buy and hold (mostly index funds).

The book is separated into 4 parts:
  1. Stocks and their value
  2. How the Professionals operate
  3. New Investment Methods
  4. A Practical Guide
Even though this book provided me with no new insight, I believe this is a great book for anyone interested in learning about investing in the stock market.

The fact remains that buying and holding good companies over the long run works. The question is, what are the good companies? Why not just buy them all with an index fund!


October 06, 2009

Questionable Practices

I received a phone call the other evening. The lady on the phone identified herself as "so in so" from the American Cancer Society. She wanted to thank me for donating money to them last year.

I responded that I wasn't aware of donating money to them, but it could have been my wife.

She asked if it would be ok to send me a pledge card for this year.

I replied, "Sure, send me some information."

This weekend I received an envelope from the American Cancer Society. Inside it there was a return envelope, a blue slip of paper thanking me for my donation this year, and a return "invoice" for my donation this year.

The blue slip of paper also had in big bold print across the top of the page, "Your prompt reply will save us the expense of a reminder mailing."

This is unreal! I simply agreed to receive their information, not be invoiced for a donation I don't plan on making!

Also, I looked at the postage on the envelope and it had $0.61 on it! Even more unreal. I weighed the contents of the envelope and it was 0.4 ounces which would require the standard postage rate not $0.61!

What a waste of money. If this is the kind of marketing scheme or tactic that the American Cancer Society is using, then it should be SHUT down immediately. Let them live off the money the tobacco companies give them each year.

I wonder how much money the American Cancer Society could have saved if they would have charged the correct about on postage.

Let's see, 0.61-0.44=.17 times 10,000 letters equals $1,700! They could have saved this money if someone was just doing their job correctly.

Also, I don't watch football much, but I noticed this past weekend it was some type of breast cancer awareness day or something, everything was pink. I wonder how much they spent on the advertisement of that, the cost of the shoes, the banners, etc. What a waste.

I believe charitable organizations play an important role in our society, but they also need to be good stewards of their money. Needless to say the American Cancer Society won't be getting my money.


October 02, 2009

Book Review

The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur

This is probably the best book I have read which clearly and easily explains the Gospel as Jesus did. A true Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, receives Him both as Lord and Savior.

The Book is separated into six parts:
  • Today's Gospel: Good News or Bad
  • Jesus Heralds His Gospel
  • Jesus Illustrates His Gospel
  • Jesus Explains His Gospel
  • Jesus Fulfills His Gospel
  • Appendixes
Parts two through five are explanation and commentary on specific things Jesus said and did during His ministry. This, of course, comes right from Scripture.

The appendixes contain brief information about what the Apostles did and said regarding the Gospel as well as the teaching from church history.

MacArthur ends the book with some answers to common questions people have about the Gospel.

Overall, this is a great book to read for anyone wanting a better understanding of what it means to truly follow Jesus Christ. It is good for the new Christian and the mature Christian.