A Capitalist’s Lament by Leland Faust is a book about “How Wall Street is Fleecing You and Ruining America.”
For full disclosure, the publisher of this book sent me a copy for free. That said, it did not impact my review.
And by the time you’re done reading, I think you should have a great understanding of what this book is all about, and whether or not it’s the right investment book for you.
One of the interesting things about this book, is that the author is a decided capitalist. It would be one thing to read a criticism of capitalism written by a Marxist. But in this case, the author has been a successful investment advisor featured prominently in the media over the last couple of decades.
Now that you have that background in mind, let’s take a closer look at what this book is all about.
A Capitalist’s Lament – Book Overview:
A Capitalist’s Lament is exactly what the title sounds like. The book is written by a dedicated capitalist, who seems to be legitimately disenfranchised with what our economic system has become.
As the sub-title of the book implies, the contents of the book is all about the many different ways Wall Street takes advantage of it’s customers. And there are many of them.
Some of the topics covered include:
- Outrageous execution compensation.
- Why Wall Street has largely become a short-term focused casino.
- The various conflicts of interest that exist in the financial services industry.
- The high-fees brokers and bankers often push on their clients.
And much, much more…
The book accurately critiques a variety of things that have gone wrong with our modern form of capitalism. It really is a lament.
In a lot of ways, this investing book has a similar feel to David Stockman’s book The Great Deformation, and the all-time classic, Where Are The Customers’ Yachts?. To some degree, I think this latter piece indicates the problems on Wall Street are relatively persistent, and not necessarily something new.
Even though that’s the case, A Capitalist’s Lament was published in October 2016. So there are lots of contemporary examples that make the book interesting and relevant. But there’s one aspect of the book that really stood out to me.
My Favourite Part About a Capitalist’s Lament:
The author of A Capitalist’s Lament, Leland Faust, is a successful investment advisor. He’s the founder of a company called CSI Capital Management, which he started over 33 years ago after graduating from Harvard Law School. Today, the company has over $1.5 billion in in assets under management that he supervises. For his role actively managing money, Faust also has numerous awards and accolades. So why does all this matter?
To be honest, given the credentials of the author, I take the criticisms of the book much more seriously. It would be easy for someone outside the system to throw stones. But for someone to have been so successful in an environment, only to turn around and objectively criticize it is very interesting.
It’s one thing to see sensationalist headlines about the misgivings of majors banks and the financial fees they pay. But when it’s supported by this educated and informed critique, it really makes you stop and think. And I think in large part, that’s what this book delivers. For me, it was the author’s seasoned and respectable perspective that really made the book sing.
On the other hand, there was one part of his tone I didn’t love.
Where A Capitalist’s Lament Comes Up a Little Short:
Overall, A Capitalist’s Lament does a very effective job summarizing the problems, conflicts and fees plaguing investors. The book rightly shines a light on the fact hat most individual investors are getting fleeced.
And I also realize that the book is titled a lament. So in some regards, this slight criticism might not even be warranted. But as a reader, I would have appreciated a little more focus on potential solutions. While awareness of the issues certainly matters, it isn’t enough on it’s own.
To that end, the book does have some recommendations on next steps and questions to ask of your investment advisors and product dealers. I think this kind of information is very helpful, and I would have appreciated it if some of these ideas were sprinkled throughout the book a little more. Overall though, I really did enjoy the approach in this book. So let’s finish this book review up.
A Capitalist’s Lament – The Final Word:
By now, I hope you have a good understanding of what A Capitalist’s Lament is all about. The book does a good job accurately summarizing the problems facing Wall Street, and the general investing public. For this reason, it may be of interest and I recommend taking a closer look at the book on Amazon.
I also encourage you to check out the short video book review. After that, you’ll have everything you need to know about A Capitalist’s Lament.