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Father of all investing truths

Celeb American investor Jim Rogers sweeps up his financial savvy, peppers it with pragmatic posits on life and packages it as an overtly impassioned legacy for his two daughters in A Gift to My Children: A Father's Lessons for Life and Investing.

There are two kinds of truths. The ones on life are usually abiding, immutable; the truths of investing have a way of being defined by the proponent's financial success.

Celeb American investor Jim Rogers can stake a smug claim to framing some of the latter, given his rousing run-in with market-spawned riches and subsequent retirement at 37. Thirty years on, Rogers sweeps up his financial savvy, peppers it with pragmatic posits on life and packages it as an overtly impassioned legacy for his two daughters. The result is A Gift to My Children: A Father's Lessons for Life and Investing.

The father's gift may seem a tad premature, considering that the daughters are 7 and 2 years old, but the investor's lessons are inspiring. They smack of success achieved the old-fashioned way, through sweat, research, toil and sheer doggedness.

This is what makes most advice genuine, mawkishly so in places, but it is also generic and tends to trigger financial deja vu-'learn to think', 'learn history', 'know who you are', 'be ethical'. What prevents its quick descent into banality is mounds of rich personal experience. The anecdotes, combined with the puny size of the book, make for a swift, pleasurable skim for a willing reader.

As for Rogers' daughters, the paternal intent is patworthy aimed as it is at character-building, investing or otherwise. However, there are patches so centred on the present that by the time the girls grow up and decide, if at all, to pursue their father's vocation, the suggestions may be well past their expiry date.

Also, not all tenets are practical. Due diligence is an exemplary attribute, but how many people can head out to any part of the world to verify dubious information at the drop of a stock? How many would be at home with a global perspective to investing? It's easy to be blessed with traits like unwavering focus and acute curiosity; acquiring these is a daunting endeavour.

But this is Rogers' road to riches; it's the only one he knows. It's for you to decide whether you want to go down this investing path. If you don't amass the riches, at least you will have an enviable investing integrity. And if you do, you can script your own legacy, pen some of MT your own truths.

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