The Zurich Axioms is a classic. In fact it’s the first investment book I ever read from cover to cover. It’s also got a very easy to read style. I was fourteen when I read it. This isn’t as odd as it sounds as Max Gunther claims to have been thirteen when he first made money on the market.
The Zurich Axioms aims to tell a small time investor what they need to do to become rich in the markets by showing them practical behaviours and attitudes that they need to develop in the shape of 12 major and 16 minor axioms.
He has some strong tastes. For example he believes that not risking money on the markets is stupid, over the long run you’ll just get poor. He also compares “Chartism” (what we now call technical investing) to astrology in its predictive power, and I think he favours astrology. Although he doesn’t make it explicit he’s a perfect market follower, thinking that all the information is in the price so the best thing to do is to trade on your gut feeling, limit your losses and ride your wins.
He is a proud contrarian. His tenth axiom is “disregard the majority opinion, it is probably wrong”. He’s also not a fan of any predictive model, not just technical analysis, as the future can’t be predicted. He hates diversification, which he believes to be a bad thing for an investor as it’s a rather expensive way of reducing risk, which is not the point of going into the stock market.
The style is either engaging or unbelievable. It’s written in a way familiar to readers of American self-help books. Its folksy style may very well irritate, but it makes it an easy read, and considering the concepts that he’s dealing with that is quite a feat.