Are Investing Books Superior to Investing Seminars?

 

In this blog post, I’ll examine the differences between investment books and investment seminars as a source of financial information to help inform your trades and your financial planning. 

We’ll begin by looking at what investing books and seminars actually are; what they typically look like as a proposition to the investor. This will include factors like price, location, level of detail and so on. 

Next we’ll think about the needs of the modern day investor. What type of financial education is actually worth paying for, and which of these educational formats bests serves that need?

Finally, we’ll consider any externalities of these learning methods. Are there other consequences of restricting our learning to just one medium which we should take away? 

Finally, we’ll conclude which is the superior educational method: the best investing books or the best investing seminars. 

 

What are investing books

Investing books are published titles issued by the large publishing houses. I will not include the recent ‘ebook’ phenomenon which has seen online book stores flooded with many poorer quality and cheaper titles. When I refer to investing books, I mean the best sellers in their class – tried and tested paperbacks or hardbacks which have imparted information to investors for several years at least. 

I do not include financial magazines or financial journalism in this category. While these are honourable formats, and their authors are often very knowledgeable and have a credible level of experience and insight – the objective of this writing is subtly different to investment books

A magazine is generally trying to produce the paper-equivalent of ‘clickbait’, i.e. catchy bitesize pieces of information that tempts a reader into purchasing a copy. 

Financial news is concerned with high volume, and doesn’t often attempt to distill themes and information into actionable principles. A newspaper isn’t trying to advise its readers, nor it is trying to teach them how to invest. This is why I don’t hold them up to the same standard as investing books in this review. 

 

What are investing seminars?

Investment seminars are short courses, held in a physical class format or as an online streamable session. Webinars are typically only a single class. Multiple webinars held on a single day are often known as a conference, particularly when the day features multiple speakers not directly employed by the conference organiser. 

I’ll distinguish investment seminars from investing courses, which tend to run for longer periods of time, such as 10 sessions over 10 weeks. Investing courses also include a higher level of ‘self-study’ and revision/course work which means that the total time requirement is much greater than the length of time listening to the classes themselves. 

I am not including investing courses in this article because their cost is significantly higher than investing books – and therefore it doesn’t lead to a fair comparison. Investment seminars, being often just 3 hours long, are often marketed at prices which equate to a small stack of investing books, so they’re within the …

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