Book Review: 'The Single Best Investment'

by: Jake Johnson

I buy the vast majority of my books from Amazon. I like to read the customer reviews because it has been my experience that they are usually aligned with my personal opinions. Lowell Miller's The Single Best Investment: Creating Wealth with Dividend Growth came up when I did a search for dividend books on Amazon. It is rated 4.5 stars. Did it live up to its hype?

SIB starts out pretty well. Mr. Miller takes the time to describe what makes a high quality stock. He also explains why (most) bonds offer poor performance when compared to high quality, dividend paying stocks. I found these chapters interesting and it all felt familiar to me. I have read similar explanations in other books. The basic premise is to find great stocks that pay increasing dividends because increasing dividends are a sign of strength.

The middle portion of the book is where it started to fall apart for me. In Chapter 7, Mr. Miller dedicates an entire chapter to technical analysis with charts. I don’t have a problem with technical analysis, to each their own. However, the cover of the book says, “creating wealth with dividend growth”. I does not say, “find undervalued stocks with technical analysis”. Mr. Miller does tell the reader to use technical analysis as a basic tool to help them in their search for SIB stocks and he reiterates this later in the book.

Chapter 8 introduces you to a “gallery” of SIB stocks. While I understand any stocks listed in an investing book are usually two or three years behind reality, my problem with this section was for a much different reason. It seemed to me that instead of focusing on dividend growth rates of the stocks and the yields, Mr. Miller chose to point out trends on value line charts.

The end of the book focuses on building a portfolio of high-quality stocks and back-test information. These sections are reasonable and it really saved the book for me. Miller gives you an idea of the number of stocks to hold, how to weight your holdings, and which sectors to choose. He also lays out a set of rules to follow when choosing SIB stocks. These were all excellent points and his investing experience really showed through here.

Overall I give The Single Best Investment 4 out of 5 stars. If Miller had skipped the technical analysis in Chapter 7 and spent more time on dividend growth screening tools in Chapter 8, then it would have been much more enjoyable for me.

Now it is on to my next book, The Dividend Rich Investor: Building Wealth with High-Quality, Dividend-Paying Stocks, by Joseph Tigue and Joseph Lisanti.

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