Learn the Magic Formula!
Become a Stock Market Genius!
Get Inside the Millionaire Mind!
Become a One Minute Millionaire!

That's the message of several new books that, for lack of a better phrase, purport to have discovered the magic formula for investing.

Umm, I don't think so.

Sorry to be such a party pooper, but there is, of course, no such elixir. It takes some smarts, lots of hard work and a little bit of luck to be a successful investor.

But you probably knew that already, didn't you? If you have been following the Apprenticed Investor series , you know that we believe there is no such magic bullet. Successful investing requires effort and intelligence. We know it needs an ongoing self-evaluation process, one that requires constant adaptation and improvement. It demands a well-thought-out plan that is meticulously executed, with good record-keeping and data-mining.

The best investors aren't looking for a big miracle. Instead, they seek small ways to improve their performance, such as a capital preservation strategy that ensures minor losses do not become portfolio-wreckers. To outperform the markets requires attention to hundreds of small details such as knowing when to be a more aggressive and when to throttle back; when to do nothing; using risk management.

The best investors know their own weaknesses, and know how to keep their emotions in check.

Lastly, it never hurts to have the fair winds of chance blow your way. But magic formula? If it were that easy, then everyone would be rich.

Beat the Market

It seems that every year, a whole new crop of books comes out to advise you how to beat the markets. Over the years, there have been too many investment-advice books published to even mention. There's a related group of books that care less about stocks and more about saving money. A recent batch has titles like Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, The Automatic Millionaire and Cracking the Millionaire Code.

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