Review: 10 Minute Guide to the Stock Market

10 Minute Guide to the Stock Market
10 Minute Guide to the Stock Market
Dian Vujovich
Alpha Books, 1997

Review Copyright © 1998 Garret Wilson — December 20, 1998, 4:15pm

If you’re thinking of getting into stocks, Dian Vujovich’s 10 Minute Guide to the Stock Market is an excellent place to start. This is a very quick read — you should be able to finish it in just two or three sittings if you digest several chapters at a time. It covers a lot of information, though.

The information isn’t just general fluff, yet it’s not just a dry list of definitions, either. The information covered is a very good blend of technical tidbits and behind-the-scenes workings of the stock market, presented in a readable, flowing style. The book is divided into 18 chapters, each of which quickly sketches a certain subject without leaving out the technical details.

While other books may try to present too much information, or try to teach certain bits of information without telling you why something is, 10 Minute Guide to the Stock Market makes sure you know all the fact. For instance, you’ll not only find out that the NASDAQ is an over-the-counter (OTC) market (as opposed to the exchange markets, like the New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange), you’ll also learn that stocks on the national exchanges generally use one to three letter symbols (e.g. "F" for Ford) and that those on the OTC markets have four or five (e.g. "AAPL" for Apple") (22). Have you heard that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is made up of certain stocks, but wondered which stocks those were? They are listed here (129).

Some of the information here can be found in the even shorter Wall Street Journal's Guide to Understanding Money and Investing. In fact, the Wall Street Journal’s Guide is even quoted when giving the definition of a broker (89). The main difference between the two books (besides the fact that the 10 Minute Guide provides more information) is that the Wall Street Journal’s Guide presents information, and the 10 Minute Guide teaches it. While the former presents pages full of colorful pictures and facts, the latter actually guides you through the information. Little blue boxes are scattered throughout the text that give you more insight in certain subjects, such as the difference between fundamental analysis and technical analysis (66).

There are a few places where another edition of the book could bring about some improvements, most noticeably concerning options. What little information on options that is present (110) is sparse and haphazard -- not at all like the rest of the book. And Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIPs) are covered twice (61, 106), but these parts do not complement each other and seem incomplete.

The 10 Minute Guide apparently intended one to spend 10 minutes on each chapter (for a total of 180 minutes), but many people will be able to finish the book in much less time than this. This little work shows that "easy-reading no-nonsense book" is not an oxymoron. The information you need is presented without gimmicks, making it an excellent introduction to stocks that you’ll keep around for a reference at least through your first few trades.