Character Counts

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April 15, 2002


Electronic book text, 304 pages


0071418121 / 9780071418126

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Main description

How John Bogle built Vanguard and transformed the investment world­­in his own words

Jack Bogle remains one of the titans of the investment world and a hero to the independent investor, as renowned for his influence as he is respected for his accomplishments. Character Counts is the story of how Vanguard was born, why it has flourished, and what leadership principles and management practices fostered its development.

Covering the period 1974­2001, the story is told through the dozens of potent and memorable speeches he has given to Vanguard crew members over the years, interspersed with a narrative that provides context and explanation. This "you are there" approach provides new insights into one of the world's most important financial institutions­­and into the mutual fund industry itself. Character Counts paints an indelible portrait of the man Fortune named one of the "four giants of finance" of the 20th century.

Author comments

John C. Bogle is the founder and former chairman of The Vanguard Group, the pioneer­­and world's largest­­no-load mutual fund company. One of the towering business leaders of this or any generation, Bogle has also written three books on successful investing, including John Bogle on Investing: The First 50 Years, Bogle on Mutual Funds, and Common Sense on Mutual Funds.

Back cover copy

How John Bogle Built Vanguard and Transformed the Investment World­­In His Own Words

Vanguard has introduced generations of independent investors to the wealth-building might of the U.S. stock market. But it owes its existence to the visionary genius and dogged tenacity of one man­­John C. Bogle, one of the last of a breed of principled and unbending financial legends.

Over the years, Bogle's prescient and fiery speeches to the burgeoning Vanguard staff have also become legend. Character Counts collects those speeches in one volume. More than just an insider's portrait of the reasons behind Vanguard's remarkable success, however, it is a fascinating oral history of the too-long-in-coming empowerment of America's independent investor­­and the take-no-prisoners attitude of the man who dedicated his life to making it happen.

What they're saying about John Bogle . . .

"I date my success as an investor from the day I met Jack Bogle and learned about index mutual funds."­­Jane Bryant Quinn, Newsweek columnist, author, Making the Most of Your Money

"(Bogle is) the investment genius who defied conventional wisdom and proved his critics wrong."­­William E. Simon, former Secretary of the Treasury

"Jack Bogle is one of the great pioneer/visionaries of the investment business."­­Byron R. Wien, Chief U.S. Investment Strategist, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

"(Bogle is) a solid advisor in the world of charlatans, false prophets, and hysterics."­­Financial Times

"Jack Bogle (is) the Molotov cocktail-throwing founder of Vanguard Group."­­Robert Barker, BusinessWeek Online

"John C. Bogle (has) the mind of an economist and the personality of a preacher."

­­The Washington Post

Vanguard has grown to become the world's largest no-load mutual fund organization and by far the world's lowest-cost provider of financial services to independent investors. But far more than its unprecedented size and remarkable rate of growth, it is Vanguard's concern for the rights of the independent investor that mark it as the most truly progressive company in the mutual fund industry . . .

And its founder Jack Bogle as the industry's greatest visionary.

Character Counts presents Bogle at his most straightforward and unvarnished, through the words and ideas of forty-two actual speeches­­complete with newlywritten commentary­­that he has given to Vanguard crew members since Vanguard's founding in 1974. At times fierce and funny, calculated and compassionate, Bogle's words represent an entertaining and insightful chronicle of Vanguard, the mutual fund industry, and the late-twentieth century financial markets.

This remarkable book provides a uniquely candid window into the opinions, ideas, and human values of the man Fortune called "one of the four key financial figures of the twentieth century." Step inside as Jack Bogle holds court on:

  • The Vanguard Experiment­­Learn how Vanguard­­formed to benefit investors, not managers­­changed the fund industry.
  • Persistence­­Bogle discusses how his strongest quality in establishing Vanguard­­stubborn persistence­­has been the key to building a company that can stay the course.
  • Principles­­ He eschews contemporary buzzwords to emphasize corporate character, stewardship, and service to human beings­­and demands that his company never lose its soul.
  • Organizing for Success­­Driving home the mission of the firm, Bogle brings the crew aboard HMS Vanguard with inspiring calls to join in the battle for competitive success
  • The Legacy­­Bogle hammers home the importance of fair dealing, value, performance, and integrity.

John Bogle has been called the conscience of the mutual fund industry, but that tells only half the tale. Character Counts recounts the real-life struggles John Bogle endured in launching his crusade and seeing it through and the deeplyheld principles that he strove to instill in all who worked with him. At times both humorous and serious­­like the man himself­­this engaging and enlightening collection will be an indispensable addition to the library of every investment historian and Bogle aficionado.

Copyright 2014 McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings, LLC


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