Investing Basics: 'That Thing Rich People Do,' by Kaye Thomas

by: David Merkel, CFA

If you know anything about investments, this is not the book for you. This is the book for your relative or friend that doesn’t have the barest idea about how to manage money.

This was another book that I thought I would not like after the first few chapters. Too cutesy. Too certain. As the book moved on, it broadened out and gave the sort of advice that I would give to neophytes, with a few exceptions.

The book’s title derives from the show “30 Rock,” where the character played by Tina Fey says, “I have to do that thing rich people do, where they turn money into more money.” (Sigh. I am so glad I don’t own a television. Hey, let me give you some unsolicited advice: get rid of your television. You will become far more rational and productive, and then, you will have more opportunities “to do that thing rich people do, where they turn money into more money.” Sorry, turning rant mode off.)

This book gives the basics:

  • Saving
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Asset allocation
  • Warnings on insurance and annuities.
  • Diversification
  • Avoiding Fear and Greed
  • Avoiding Expenses
  • Avoiding Taxes
  • Passive Investing (best for neophytes)
  • Further Reading — if a neophyte needed a book list to expand his knowledge, the author gives a good list.

The book is clearly written, and sometimes engaging, sometimes humorous. But it gets the job done for neophytes, and that is what counts.


It would have been a benefit to the average reader to point them to Vanguard, especially for bonds, when expenses eat up so much of the returns.

Who would benefit from this book:

Only neophytes will benefit from this book. It’s not long at 140 pages; the chapters are easy to read at an average of six pages.

If you want to, you can buy it here: That Thing Rich People Do: Required Reading for Investors.

Full disclosure: I asked the publisher for a copy, and they sent one to me.

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