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Book Reviews

  1. Amy Lignor says:

    When it comes to the trials and tribulations of Wall Street, not to mention the million-dollar deals and products that can be bought and sold at lightning speed, successful investing can seem like a barrier that no layman can break through. Many people who are interested in the market and all the financial products out there believe they must have a person by their side who owns the title of ‘Financial Advisor’ in order to have any financial success. This is untrue.
    Author Patrick Pappano combined his present wisdom and past experiences in order to create a text that brings ease to the investor’s mind. Investors want nothing more than to build a nest-egg that will not disappear and leave them with nothing to look forward to except for a future of constant work and no chance of retirement. Owning Main Street helps the investor build that nest-egg safely.
    Mr. Pappano decided after a long career as a sales engineer to become a person who others could rely on. He wanted to show investors that trying for the ‘fast-buck’ was not the way to go about things. He further wanted to show that investing in the right choices will bring about riches slowly and surely, which is the only way you can create a solid nest-egg for you and your family.
    This amazing book is not only a true learning guide, which offers information on Mutual Funds, 401(k) Plans, Life Insurance and Annuities, etc.; but it’s also a perfect guide for the beginner to easily understand inflation, taxes, the economy, and how the ‘normal individual’ is the largest asset when it comes to keeping this country up-and-running.
    Public corporations will be seen as far better deals than what the Wall Street wizards sell. And the empowerment a person will have after reading this tome will not only have more people investing with confidence, but it will also show the difference between good financial investing and a weekend in Las Vegas where you will definitely crash and burn.
    As a person who spent years in the realm of a financial investment firm, this reviewer applauds the tact, openness, and sheer honesty of this literal encyclopedia that will help people take charge of their own futures.
    Quill says: For any person who needs to understand the investment process and learn the right doors to walk through, this is the ‘bible’ that should be sitting next to your computer at all times before making any decisions.
    Feathered Quill Book Review
    Nov 7, 2013

  2. admin says:

    Owning Main Street: A Beginner’s Guide to the Stock Market is an unusual, striking pairing of a basic stock market financial guide with artistic pictures by Ben Aronson. The combination of illustrations with explanations of financial concepts makes for a unique presentation certain to capture the interest of even those who believe stock market books are dry (and, most of them are!). For, here’s the exception to that belief: a book written by a layman who became a stockbroker at the age of 61.
    Fueled by the notion that despite his lack of experience he’d gain much from the training, Patrick Pappano’s sole business plan for success was to ‘just be a good broker’. His education in the field went beyond understanding asset classes to realize a different approach was required in order to provide lay readers (without financial backgrounds) with the basic keys to beating inflation through investing.
    Owning Main Street: A Beginner’s Guide to the Stock Market stresses the idea of understanding the overall process over setting targets when making investment decisions. There’s a basic key involved in such an understanding: “In the end, which stocks you invested in will hardly matter — what will matter is that you invested in them at regular intervals, over a long span of time.”
    This key to success is outlined over and over again in chapters that assume no prior stock market (or even financial experience), and which condemn the usual active trading strategies as losing propositions.

    It steers beginners, instead, to routines and perspectives geared to building a retirement nest egg by letting the market do the work, and focusing on more passive strategies than aggressive management promoted by many/most brokers who profit by constant customer change and buy/sell orders. And instead of index-watching, it promotes more of a “Ferris Wheel” approach to understanding the highs and lows of the market’s process.
    Chapters reveal this progression by considering all aspects of stocks, business, and their managers. They provide examples of business fluctuations and changes designed to help investors understand the ups and downs of stocks, companies and the market: “The obvious argument is that if the CEO is also the Chairman, who has the power to look after the interests of the owners? The answer is nobody.”
    While some of these discussions would seem to apply to general business, in fact all of them are important clues to understanding the market and making the right investment choices.
    From underwriting processes and the variable annuity product’s pros and cons to growth, savings and investments, Owning Main Street: A Beginner’s Guide to the Stock Market advocates a strategy for taking back power in investment decisions rather than relying solely on stockbroker recommendations.
    Charts, graphs, and illustrations throughout assure that novices receive all the written and visual information needed to reinforce Patrick Pappano’s review of Wall Street processes. The result is a powerful assessment of not just stocks, but an investment process that individuals can take charge of without extensive financial background.
    Owning Main Street is thus recommended for any novice business reader and any investor who wants an understanding of the market based on no prior knowledge or experience with its nuances.

    Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

  3. PW Publishers Weekly, 12.17.2013
    Former stockbroker and Columbia M.B.A. Pappano’s disdain for the sages of finance provides a unifying theme for this massive outpouring of ideas and opinions aimed at the everyman-turned-investor. The author’s conventional wisdom, often expressed in banalities, stand out among folksy and sometimes irrelevant anecdotes. Pappano suggests that beginners should avoid frequent trading and complicated financial products, but his paean to fiscal self-reliance sometimes veers into dubious logic and leaps of faith. The contradiction between Pappano’s insistence upon simple investment guidelines and the complexities of the market is also problematic, and his own experience in the world of finance is seemingly at odds with his distrust of financial experts. Readers who plough through this guidebook may find merit in the author’s faith in traditional investment aphorisms: buy dividend-rich blue chip stocks, invest at regular intervals, and leave your investments alone. But Pappano’s frequent warnings to avoid financial professionals are unconvincing, leaving some to wonder whether his book is really required reading for aspiring investors. Neophytes may glean a few useful tips from this book, but many readers will find themselves no wiser than before.

  4. admin says:

    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.

    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.

    Portland Book Review, Reviewed by Giovanna Marcus

  5. admin says:

    The author’s experience within the subject and passion for educating the masses is evident within these pages. Owning Main Street will provide enough knowledge for even the most intimidated of potential investors to take a stand and enter the industry with confidence. This book is necessary if you wish to build a financially secure future built on knowledge. Slight humor laced throughout makes this work an enjoyable read.

    Michael H. Gardiner Lieutenant, US Marine Corps., For Penn Book Review

  6. admin says:

    OWNING MAIN STREET is a practical, down-to-earth guide to financial success. There’s a common belief among the masses that Wall Street is untouchable; this is because the professionals within the WS culture have created the illusion that they have an advantage over non-professionals in actualizing wealth from stocks. The author quickly debunks this mythology and carefully explains that it’s 100% possible to bypass WS all together and own Main Street. As an example, the author explains that while a mutual fund may start out “with a modest capital base” it can quickly turn into a mission of “keeping the money they have gathered” via various tactics such as free lunches and data-mining. Applicable examples throughout aid in understanding.

    In addition, the author argues that Wall Street has successfully “hijacked the investment landscape, convincing people who otherwise might be inclined to study the stock market that it is dangerous and complicated place that can only be understood and negotiated through a stock brokerage firm.” This is an interesting concept for anyone who is entrusting money to commercial investment advisors. The author illustrates that it is far better to know what you are doing, rather than to trust somebody else.

    Pappano created a highly readable, comprehensive guide on investing; impressing that the services of a stockbroker should end with buying and selling stock. Biblical, Classical and Colonial references are incorporated throughout; giving an overall great mixture of advice with some personal narrative. Highly recommended.

    J.M Calvin for Penn Book Review

  7. admin says:


    A comprehensive beginner’s guide to investment.

    Debut author Pappano aims to arm “curious investors” with the information they need to succeed in the stock market. He also seeks to “inoculate” them against more exotic investment options that often cause enthusiastic novices to abandon common sense. Pappano writes that financial professionals have perpetuated a self-serving fiction that market success requires a rarified mastery of esoteric strategies and products. However, he argues that these same professionals are often woefully unqualified and often motivated by interests that may conflict with those of their clients’. He makes the unconventional claim that in most cases, “avoiding a broker is the beginning of a sound investment program.” This practical guide is wide-ranging and ambitiously thorough, covering an extraordinary array of financial products and approaches. It discusses stocks, bonds, real estate investment trusts, mortgages and much more in painstaking detail. This isn’t your average investor’s guide, however, as it also provides a macroeconomic context in which to understand the fundamental principles of investment. For example, it treats readers to broad discussions of political economy, including the philosophical theories of economists John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek, the true nature of inflation and the impact of different tax regimes. Few introductions to the stock market compare the corporate governances of Japan and Sweden, as this one does. The book’s grand sweep is both its principal virtue and its vice, however, as it provides beginning investors with a sounder theoretical grounding than average introductions do, but it also tends to wander too far afield. For example, most readers could profitably skip Pappano’s digressions on organized labor or executive compensation in the United States, but his section on the difference between 401(k) retirement accounts and pension plans is invaluable. Overall, there’s a lot of actionable wisdom within these pages but quite a few negligible tangents as well.

    A long but impressively meticulous guide for novice investors looking for a bird’s-eye view of the market.

  8. admin says:

    OWNING MAIN STREET: A Beginner’s Guide to the Stock Market
    By Patrick Pappano
    Cardyf Publishing, $39.95, 646 pages, Format: Trade

    Star Rating: 4 out of 5

    Who would have thought six hundred plus pages of investment wisdom could read like an action adventure? Somehow, author Patrick Pappano pulls it off. This excellent, excellent book is not only the only book you need to start building your retirement nest egg; it is also brisk, entertaining, and even funny page-turner!

    Author Pappano, finding himself frustrated in his search for a good stockbroker, decided to become one himself. His experiences on Wall Street taught him that everything Wall Street tells you is wrong. You don’t need a broker; you don’t need insider knowledge; you don’t need to watch the market; you don’t even need a lot of money; all you need is a reasonable plan and the will to let it work. Here’s the plan: Buy a fixed dollar amount of a few discrete, common stocks of good, solid companies, automatically every month, then //close your eyes, walk away, and let the market do its work//.

    Pappano is a great writer. He liberally sprinkles his tome with great illustrative anecdotes, and he has a wry, dry, understated humor that is a delight to read. He has a wealth of experience and he isn’t trying to sell you anything (except perhaps this book, which is worth every penny and more); investing can be a win for everyone, and he wants you to succeed. It’s like you have a great friend standing next to you, patiently holding your hand while he tries to convince you to do what is in your own best interest.

    First, Pappano exposes the smoke and mirrors behind Wall Street brokerage agencies. So, he says, pick a set of a few stocks from the S&P 500, invest over time, and let the market work.

    ‘But wait!”, you say. “What about Mutual Funds? Hedge funds? Commodities? Etc.?” Pappano covers each type of investment with its pros and cons (tax and/or accounting issues, for example), then reminds you that just investing in a few discrete stocks over time will be much more secure and simple.

    Allright then, how do I go about doing this? Pappano answers by suggesting how to examine companies for good governance, what to look for, and how to diversify; but, once again, the easiest and surest strategy is to dollar-cost-average (buy a certain dollar amount each month) a few discrete stocks from the S&P 500 or the Dow 30.

    Completely thorough, the book covers how to divest at retirement, and even gives a suggested list of solid companies for investment, picked from those exchanges. 401K plans and annuities and life insurance are also investment strategies Pappano covers in detail.

    This book is written for the beginning investor, of which I am one; some of the investment types really are befuddling. But as soon as I started to feel lost, my investment advisor Pappano whispered over my shoulder, “yes, this is very confusing. If you will just invest in a few discrete stocks of solid companies over time, you won’t have to worry about this.” His point is well-grounded and well-supported and constantly reiterated, but in the most entertaining and friendly way; following his advice and just letting the market do its work will allow anyone to achieve his or her retirement goals.

    Gretchen Wagner for San Francisco Book Review


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