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Learn to Earn: A Beginner's Guide to the Basics of Investing and Business

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Mutual-fund superstar Peter Lynch and author John Rothchild explain the basic principles of the stock market and business in an investing guide that will enlighten and entertain anyone who is high-school age or older. Many investors, including some with substantial portfolios, have only the sketchiest idea of how the stock market works. The reason, say Lynch and Rothchild, Mutual-fund superstar Peter Lynch and author John Rothchild explain the basic principles of the stock market and business in an investing guide that will enlighten and entertain anyone who is high-school age or older. Many investors, including some with substantial portfolios, have only the sketchiest idea of how the stock market works. The reason, say Lynch and Rothchild, is that the basics of investing—the fundamentals of our economic system and what they have to do with the stock market—aren’t taught in school. At a time when individuals have to make important decisions about saving for college and 401(k) retirement funds, this failure to provide a basic education in investing can have tragic consequences. For those who know what to look for, investment opportunities are everywhere. The average high-school student is familiar with Nike, Reebok, McDonald’s, the Gap, and the Body Shop. Nearly every teenager in America drinks Coke or Pepsi, but only a very few own shares in either company or even understand how to buy them. Every student studies American history, but few realize that our country was settled by European colonists financed by public companies in England and Holland—and the basic principles behind public companies haven’t changed in more than three hundred years. In Learn to Earn, Lynch and Rothchild explain in a style accessible to anyone who is high-school age or older how to read a stock table in the daily newspaper, how to understand a company annual report, and why everyone should pay attention to the stock market. They explain not only how to invest, but also how to think like an investor.


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Mutual-fund superstar Peter Lynch and author John Rothchild explain the basic principles of the stock market and business in an investing guide that will enlighten and entertain anyone who is high-school age or older. Many investors, including some with substantial portfolios, have only the sketchiest idea of how the stock market works. The reason, say Lynch and Rothchild, Mutual-fund superstar Peter Lynch and author John Rothchild explain the basic principles of the stock market and business in an investing guide that will enlighten and entertain anyone who is high-school age or older. Many investors, including some with substantial portfolios, have only the sketchiest idea of how the stock market works. The reason, say Lynch and Rothchild, is that the basics of investing—the fundamentals of our economic system and what they have to do with the stock market—aren’t taught in school. At a time when individuals have to make important decisions about saving for college and 401(k) retirement funds, this failure to provide a basic education in investing can have tragic consequences. For those who know what to look for, investment opportunities are everywhere. The average high-school student is familiar with Nike, Reebok, McDonald’s, the Gap, and the Body Shop. Nearly every teenager in America drinks Coke or Pepsi, but only a very few own shares in either company or even understand how to buy them. Every student studies American history, but few realize that our country was settled by European colonists financed by public companies in England and Holland—and the basic principles behind public companies haven’t changed in more than three hundred years. In Learn to Earn, Lynch and Rothchild explain in a style accessible to anyone who is high-school age or older how to read a stock table in the daily newspaper, how to understand a company annual report, and why everyone should pay attention to the stock market. They explain not only how to invest, but also how to think like an investor.

30 review for Learn to Earn: A Beginner's Guide to the Basics of Investing and Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Richard Stephenson

    I would recommend this one - especially to High School young adults. Note: it's a bit behind-the-times, but the philosophies presented are timeless. I was almost turned away once I found out it was written for a bit younger crowd, but I gave it a chance and was pleased with the results. There is a ton of history, good examples, and conversational-style lessons taught in a pleasing manner. Since I had *0* experience with investing stuffs, this beginners approach was useful for me. ...and BIG kudos I would recommend this one - especially to High School young adults. Note: it's a bit behind-the-times, but the philosophies presented are timeless. I was almost turned away once I found out it was written for a bit younger crowd, but I gave it a chance and was pleased with the results. There is a ton of history, good examples, and conversational-style lessons taught in a pleasing manner. Since I had *0* experience with investing stuffs, this beginners approach was useful for me. ...and BIG kudos to the young adult who gets started thinking about this stuff early. Oh, if you want to jump right in to the non-history portion of the book (though it is quite useful and interesting), then skip over to Page 92. Scratch that: read Appendix Two on page 251, THEN go to Page 92 and start reading. Get ready to learn to earn. Found for $3 at Half-Price-Books.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Yoga Prakasa

    This book holds sentimental value to me, for it introduced me to the world of investment. A world which, later, not only becomes a personal interest but also a professional one. I started my first investment in stocks and mutual funds shortly after I finished the book. Fast forward, I started my career five years later in an Indonesian state-owned investment bank in the equity research department. In this book, Peter Lynch starts with a brief history of what would become Corporate America and lat This book holds sentimental value to me, for it introduced me to the world of investment. A world which, later, not only becomes a personal interest but also a professional one. I started my first investment in stocks and mutual funds shortly after I finished the book. Fast forward, I started my career five years later in an Indonesian state-owned investment bank in the equity research department. In this book, Peter Lynch starts with a brief history of what would become Corporate America and later, describes how it can change and have changed the fortune of ordinary Americans who participate by owning the shares of those companies. It pays to start early, and only invest in what you know, as often as possible, compounding works.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shunnosuke Yelich Kanematsu

    This book is a great for kids to read and understand the concept of investing. In this book, the author is Peter Lynch, who is an investing mastermind. Lynch graduated from Boston College in 1965 with a degree in finance. He served two years in the military before attending and graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Business Administration in 1968. As you can probably guess, yes, he is one of the richest people in this planet. Everything the book me This book is a great for kids to read and understand the concept of investing. In this book, the author is Peter Lynch, who is an investing mastermind. Lynch graduated from Boston College in 1965 with a degree in finance. He served two years in the military before attending and graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Business Administration in 1968. As you can probably guess, yes, he is one of the richest people in this planet. Everything the book mentions can be easily understandable because of how easy he makes it and how entertaining it can be. When my parents usually told me about the stock market, I nodded my head, not knowing why I was nodding my head. After reading this book that my dad gave me, I now know how this really "complicated" concept work. My favorite line of this book is on page 19 where it says "... it's always a thrill to walk into a McDonald's a Toys R Us, ,or a Circuit City and watch the customers lining up to buy the merchandise, knowing that you've got a piece of the action and that some smidgeon of the profits will end up in your pocket." And this is my favorite line because it just makes everything much easier to understand. What it is basically saying is how a stockholder would be really happy to walk into a place in which he has a stock because he knows that all that money earned will be split and one part of that share will end up in his wallet. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading other investing books.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shubham Kansal

    This is a great book. It introduced me to the world of investing. It was the first book that I read on investing. Since, the book was written in the early 90s, the examples taken by Mr. Lynch would sound somewhat old to you but they will still give you a fair idea of what he is trying to teach you. The principles taught by him in the book are still valid today. he has explained everything in such an easy way that you would be able to relate to everything easily although the book is written from This is a great book. It introduced me to the world of investing. It was the first book that I read on investing. Since, the book was written in the early 90s, the examples taken by Mr. Lynch would sound somewhat old to you but they will still give you a fair idea of what he is trying to teach you. The principles taught by him in the book are still valid today. he has explained everything in such an easy way that you would be able to relate to everything easily although the book is written from the perspective of an American investor. The book is completely divided into 4 chapters : 1. A short History of Capitalism 2. the basics of investing 3. the lives of a company 4. the invisible hands overall, it was a good book for beginners who want to know about investing and stock market trading. Looking forward to reading some more books on investing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Rincon

    While this book was not perfect, I'm giving it 4 stars because I think everyone should read it, or at least a book like it. It does a great job as a primer on capitalism, businesses, and the basics of investing. The two authors are both unabashed capitalists, wholly in favor of the system. This makes sense, as Peter Lynch made countless millions in the stock market, and John Rothschild wrote about the financial system for years. Some of their pro-capitalism passages were a little tough for me to While this book was not perfect, I'm giving it 4 stars because I think everyone should read it, or at least a book like it. It does a great job as a primer on capitalism, businesses, and the basics of investing. The two authors are both unabashed capitalists, wholly in favor of the system. This makes sense, as Peter Lynch made countless millions in the stock market, and John Rothschild wrote about the financial system for years. Some of their pro-capitalism passages were a little tough for me to swallow, but overall I thought they made a compelling argument for why people should be getting involved in investing. Written in 1995, this book is of course a little outdated. The internet was barely a thing, the epic meltdown of 2008 had not yet happened, and the companies who are big in business have changed a bit since then. But the core principles do still seem to remain the same. This book will teach you how to read the stock ticker tape, how to interpret balance sheets and understand what separates a strong business with potential from a business on the brink of failure. The authors are adamant about investing in only stocks, which I think makes sense if you don't mind not touching the money for decades. Overall, I thought the writing was strong (though perhaps a bit too much time was spent in the beginning on the history of capitalism, which was interesting to some extent but perhaps not as essential). I find the topic fascinating. And the authors did a great job making the whole world of investing accessible. Definitely worth becoming more familiar with the topic.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Walter Spence

    Lots of good stuff in this book, particularly the chapter, "A Short History of Captalism". But since the book came out in 1995, parts of it are now quite outdated (the primary reason I gave it four stars instead of five), and will only become more so in the years to come. Hoping that the authors consider a second edition, because today's young people are in serious need of an education on this book's subject.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dio Handoyo

    Great intro book for beginners. Written in layman's terms with some practical items included. Presents a compelling case for capitalism. It would be interesting to see an analysis on how the arguments for going long on stocks holds up after the 1999 and 2008 crises, due to the great volatility history has shown.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Phat Nguyen

    This book provides some amazing information not just about stock and the stock markets, but also about investing in general and the strength and disadvantages of different types of investing options. However there are so many pages that go on and on about the history of companies and their founders, and most of them are American companies, some of which may have vanished now. So for someone who is not American, these information are just irrelevant to me. One big plus for the book is that the aut This book provides some amazing information not just about stock and the stock markets, but also about investing in general and the strength and disadvantages of different types of investing options. However there are so many pages that go on and on about the history of companies and their founders, and most of them are American companies, some of which may have vanished now. So for someone who is not American, these information are just irrelevant to me. One big plus for the book is that the author used a humorous style to tell his stories, so it is so hard to put the book down at times.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jorge Rosas

    More like an introduction to the capitalist system and a defence to it, also how to get a share of the fun, but this book was mostly an explanation of economic and social dynamics of the wealth distribution through the creation of companies. This book appears to have been written by the second author John Rothchild, because when referring to Peter’s activities those are in third person. Not quite useful but I’m looking forward for “Beating the Street”.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gloynk

    This is should be the first book for any new investor out there. The book set a stage for investment. It provides fundamental and background that is useful for your further studies. I took out one star because the information in the book is kind of dated.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    Severely outdated, at least the audiobook version from the library I listened to. The basic principles are of course reasonable, but I already knew those things. I suppose I’m not a beginner. The other info is so horribly outdated it sounds absolutely ridiculous. Perhaps a new updated edition is due.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dayananda Aswathaiah

    It's great book for beginners like me. It gave insights into the mechanics of capitalism, consumerism, industries and environment, banks. Lays foundation for one to continue to reading other books like The Intelligent Investor.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Eugene Tan

    A real classic book, written more than 20 years ago, in 1995! As the book title suggests, "A Beginner's Guide to the Basics of Investing and Business", this book was written, assuming that the reader has absolutely no prior knowledge of Investing and Business. It is mainly targeted at teenagers to young working adults, who are beginning to explore the financial world. Despite it being an extremely novice book, I had chosen to give it 4/5 stars for the sheer simplicity that the book has in conveyi A real classic book, written more than 20 years ago, in 1995! As the book title suggests, "A Beginner's Guide to the Basics of Investing and Business", this book was written, assuming that the reader has absolutely no prior knowledge of Investing and Business. It is mainly targeted at teenagers to young working adults, who are beginning to explore the financial world. Despite it being an extremely novice book, I had chosen to give it 4/5 stars for the sheer simplicity that the book has in conveying its contents of business, stock investing, and the connection between the two, in an engaging manner. The list of contents are as follows: 1) A Short History of Capitalism 2) The Basics of Investing 3) The Lives of a Company 4) The Invisible Hands In the Appendix 2, Peter Lynch goes through the basics of understanding a balance sheet, which is my main take-away from the book. Elsewhere, it also gives me a better perspective of (American) history, in the context of the economical world, as well as a nice recap of the 5 basic different investment instruments. I would recommend this book as a starting book for having a basic understanding of investments and its impact on the world around us.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andi Sulasikin

    I got the idea to read Peter Lynch’s books from R. T Kiyosaki on Rich Dad Poor Dad. Kiyosaki, himself, learnt from Peter Lynch about investing especially how to pick successful stocks on the market. Not what I expected at the beginning, but it turned out to be the right decision I made before reading the other books of Peter Lynch’ on my ‘To Read’ shelf, which are older on published year than this book. Another one to put on the foundation before continuing to other books of investing. I absolute I got the idea to read Peter Lynch’s books from R. T Kiyosaki on Rich Dad Poor Dad. Kiyosaki, himself, learnt from Peter Lynch about investing especially how to pick successful stocks on the market. Not what I expected at the beginning, but it turned out to be the right decision I made before reading the other books of Peter Lynch’ on my ‘To Read’ shelf, which are older on published year than this book. Another one to put on the foundation before continuing to other books of investing. I absolutely would recommend it, especially for beginners on investing. It introduced about short history of capitalism (including the story of early entrepreneurs, father of financial system, modern economics, the beginning of stocks), and why it’s better than communism. It also elaborated reasonable explanations why we should choose real estate & stocks over other basic investments. Lastly, his advice is "Invest Now! What are you waiting for? Lebih cepat lebih baik" 😄

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I read this book twice, at the age of 9 and 13 (as it was recommended to me by my father, of course). English is not my mother tongue and despite the lack of fluency at that age I was still able to understand absolutely everything in that book and take away the most important message. It is, in my humble opinion, one of the best books out there for people with no particular knowledge of finance/investing to understand the fundamental basics of investing with equities. In addition to that, the bo I read this book twice, at the age of 9 and 13 (as it was recommended to me by my father, of course). English is not my mother tongue and despite the lack of fluency at that age I was still able to understand absolutely everything in that book and take away the most important message. It is, in my humble opinion, one of the best books out there for people with no particular knowledge of finance/investing to understand the fundamental basics of investing with equities. In addition to that, the book contained a lot of thought-provoking stories about how particular companies were founded and became one of the biggest corporations in the world. A great read!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rolling Ideas

    It's a fantastic read - even a family read for Lynch's daughters.The book's on the overall mechanism of the stock market. The method of value investing entails the positive trajectory of healthy and undervalued firms even through turmoils. The economic culture is unpredictable, just like weather. Rather than betting on the market, it's better to "research the firm, interact and act upon it." For young readers, this book entails histories of stock market, a few exemplary stocks through recessions It's a fantastic read - even a family read for Lynch's daughters.The book's on the overall mechanism of the stock market. The method of value investing entails the positive trajectory of healthy and undervalued firms even through turmoils. The economic culture is unpredictable, just like weather. Rather than betting on the market, it's better to "research the firm, interact and act upon it." For young readers, this book entails histories of stock market, a few exemplary stocks through recessions and best strategies employed along. It's the best read so far on American stock market!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gopinath Manchikanti

    This is a wonderful book and the apt name would be ' History and Basics of Stocks' Coz it goes way back in the history when capitalism was born and how it emerged into multi trillion dollar market. This book gives basic understanding of a lot of things a beginner investor should know. Definitely worth reading.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Abhinay

    This book has a very easy going tone to it and though it dates back to 1995, I've found the historical parts very informative. That apart, Peter Lynch shares a lot of examples with regard to different paradigms in investing, with a final message advising us to think for the longer term. So there you go, no scalping :)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gmarik

    Very gentle introduction into world of business. Didn't learn much, but it'd be a good introduction book to start with The author dislikes communists and is a big fan of US government from business perspective.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Josip

    A good book to learn the basics of capitalism and the stock market. If you are expecting some magic tips about stock picking you'll be disappointed. The number one suggestion is patience and buying when nobody else is.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    Great book for a high schooler who has no idea how the markets work or their historical significance to our nation. As a means of basic info, it works well. Unfortunately for me, it was a little too basic. Very light reading, but enjoyable anyways.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Vilmantas

    Great source of info for beginner investor and it is great way to start you financial journey.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dimitar

    With a caveat - while a bit outdated now, this is an inspiring book for someone who has no experience in the business/investment world.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dina

    I like P. Lynch, but he shouldn't be quitting his day job.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Manish

    For the beginners of world of equity...simple language...simple ideas..

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Little

    Great book. This one I have to read a few times. Definitely a great book for new investors.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Qingwei Zhang

    I think this book worth reading, everyone who interested in investments should read it. I am kinda regret that it is a bit late for me to know this book. Anyway, I will recommend it to you.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Vikash Anand

    Learn to Earn by Peter Lynch and John Rothchild is an awesome book to get fundamental understanding about the importance of business and investment in the society. The initial chapter of the book is a sort of history of capitalism or free market, and how a society overall benefits from free market based ecosystem. The invisible hand of market keeps the supply and demand of everything in check. There is no need of central authority to decide what the country should make, and how many of each item, Learn to Earn by Peter Lynch and John Rothchild is an awesome book to get fundamental understanding about the importance of business and investment in the society. The initial chapter of the book is a sort of history of capitalism or free market, and how a society overall benefits from free market based ecosystem. The invisible hand of market keeps the supply and demand of everything in check. There is no need of central authority to decide what the country should make, and how many of each item, and who should be allowed to do the manufacturing. The market automatically sorts out this. It is usually said that in a market based economy, people are self-centered and greedy. But self-interest is not entirely selfish. It motivates people to do the best they can at whatever job they undertake. And the society hugely benefits from this self-interest. Economic freedom is essential for prosperity and development. Competition is key to capitalism or free market. As long as somebody else could come along and make a product better and cheaper, a company couldn't do a lousy job and expect to get away with it. Competition ensures companies on their toes. They are forced to improve their products and keep their prices as low as possible, or they will lose their customers to a rival. Communism broke down as central planners decided almost everything. Socialism has its own problems. Free market oriented countries have better prosperity due to economic freedom and competition. It’s important to understand the market, economy, companies and products. And if this understanding can be substantially rewarded through stock investment, the pursuit of understanding & learning is even more joyful & rewarding. Investment is important, it's important to understand and start saving & investing as early as possible. It's important to put your money to work to achieve financial Independence where one is free to go to places and do what you want. Millions of people work in industries where they come in daily contact with potential investments and never take advantage of their front-row seat. Doctors know which drug companies make the best drugs, but they don't always buy the drug stocks. Bankers know which banks are the strongest and have the lowest expenses and make the smartest loans, but they don't necessarily buy the bank stocks. Store Managers and the people who run malls have access to the monthly sales figures, so they know for sure which retailers are selling the most merchandise. But how many mall managers have enriched themselves by investing in specialty retail stocks. Once you start looking at the world through a stock pickers eyes, where everything is a potential investment, you begin to notice the companies that do business. It’s important to just not be a cog in the wheel. The understanding of the entire system or super-critical is important. I wish I could have read this book earlier. It’s a definitely worth reading for those who want to understand the principles of business & investing. Its insightful, interesting and enjoyable reading.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chetan Sullabiah

    After getting interested in stock markets and investing, the two names I heard and read about over and over again were Warren Buffet and Peter Lynch. So, obviously I wanted to learn anything these two legends had to offer. When I did my research and went to the local bookstore, this is the only book they had in stock. So this is my first read in a series of investing books to come. Even though I had read and learnt about the basics of the stock market from various sources, this book was informat After getting interested in stock markets and investing, the two names I heard and read about over and over again were Warren Buffet and Peter Lynch. So, obviously I wanted to learn anything these two legends had to offer. When I did my research and went to the local bookstore, this is the only book they had in stock. So this is my first read in a series of investing books to come. Even though I had read and learnt about the basics of the stock market from various sources, this book was informative and entertaining at the same time. I particularly loved the section on history of capitalism. Starting from the dawn of capitalism, to the story of the pilgrims from a financial standpoint, to that of early entrepreneurs, to the advent of modern economy and the stock market, to the growth of the various national brands as we know it today, this short history lesson was beyond captivating. The book was also interspersed with stories and anecdotes of how companies we can’t live without today and take for granted as the blue-chips had their humble beginnings. Their struggles and battles to become who they are today was inspiring. The book took us through the lives of companies, from its inception to its extinction. In the process a lot of the business jargon was made clear. The beginning of a company as a private ownership by the entrepreneur to the roping in of angel investors to going public, then either going in for mergers or take-overs to forming conglomerates and how companies maintain their competitive edge in the demanding market or succumb to the competition and go bankrupt; this book covered it all. All this was made even more clear with the short accounting course at the end of the book where the author tracked the growth of the company through its finances. This book also gives the basics of investing in a nutshell, from the various options we have when investing with each one’s pros and cons. The author goes on to describe stocks and mutual funds in detail form how to acquire them, to how to pick companies that you know and are customers of, to the mistakes you ought to avoid and all the nitty-gritty in between. This is an amazing book written for beginners who are looking to get into this complicated, yet rewarding field of investing. I honestly wish I had laid my hands on this book when I was much younger and started this journey a lot earlier. But better late than never. I’m glad I finally read this and am looking forward to reading the other books written by Peter Lynch.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    The general info about stocks and investments is more or less fine, but the whole book is terribly dated in that you're forced to sit through endless reams of the standard Regan-era "greed is good" propaganda about how the real heroes in society are whoever is most greedy and everyone else is just jealous. That overriding agenda masks what would otherwise be useful information. I find this whole bit odd since he was far less a propagandist in his other book. As a side note, it's amusing to see tha The general info about stocks and investments is more or less fine, but the whole book is terribly dated in that you're forced to sit through endless reams of the standard Regan-era "greed is good" propaganda about how the real heroes in society are whoever is most greedy and everyone else is just jealous. That overriding agenda masks what would otherwise be useful information. I find this whole bit odd since he was far less a propagandist in his other book. As a side note, it's amusing to see that all his estimates of what are reasonable earnings that could only be considered reasonable by someone whose entire career was spent in years of monstrous growth that made virtually every moderately reasonable investor look like a genius. I mean, at one point, this guy advises that you make your assessment based on the ratings agency ratings, which while not common knowledge in 1989, are now known to be mostly pay-for-play with ratings no more meaningful than who issued them the largest legal bribe. And if someone could point me towards the 6 month CDs that pay 5%, I'd be much obliged. Still, he has a good way of explaining many of these concepts. That I mention several annoying features and point out situations where he has turned out to be totally wrong shouldn't distract you from the idea that there is something to be learned from Peter Lynch, even if it's not always the lessons he wants it to be. Overall, with the extreme dated nature of the material (he spends pages explaining how to find and read the stock section of newspapers, whatever those are), it's hard to recommend this book to anyone. It's clearly aimed at young people just finding out about investments, and it does a fair job of it, but if it hadn't been written by a legend like Lynch, I doubt it would even still be in print.

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