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Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life – John C. Bogle

27th June 2023
enough book cover


Enough contains John C. Bogle’s life story and his advice. The author wrote down his opinions on money, on what we should be proud of and ashamed of in our business and professional callings, and on what are the false and true treasures in our lives. This book was recommended in Richer, Wiser, Happier. The is my fifth book from its recommended book list. I am just continuing my mission of finishing my unread recommended books from Richer, Wiser, Happier.


For more information about John C. Bogle, you may refer here.


Enough has an introduction, 10 chapters, a wrapping up (What’s Enough?), and an afterword. The chapters are divided into 3 parts: Money (3 chapters), Business (4 chapters) and Life (3 chapters).

The chapters are

1. Too Much Cost, Not Enough Value

2. Too Much Speculation, Not Enough Investment

3. Too Much Complexity, Not Enough Simplicity

4. Too Much Counting, Not Enough Trust

5. Too Much Business Conduct, Not Enough Professional Conduct

6. Too Much Salesmanship, Not Enough Stewardship

7. Too Much Management, Not Enough Leadership

8. Too Much Focus on Things, Not Enough Focus on Commitment

9. Too Many Twenty-First-Century Values, Not Enough Eighteenth-Century Values

10. Too Much “Success,” Not Enough Character


Enough lets the readers know what kind of a person the writer was and also his way of thinking. He worked hard throughout his life. He was not from a privileged background as the Great Depression wiped out his family fortune. He had to toil since young to support himself.

His investing principles are balance, diversification, and focus on the long term. Investing is about the long-term ownership of businesses. In the very long run, all returns earned by stocks are created not by speculation but by investment – the productive power of the capital invested in business enterprises. Investing in business is a winner’s game, beating the stock market for all of us as a group before those costs is a zero-sum game, but it becomes a loser’s game after intermediation costs are deducted. The author admits that financial system subtracts value from the society on balance. Thus, what is good for the financial industry is bad for us for the most part.

The expected returns from simple, broadly diversified portfolios of stocks and bonds are likely to be 7 and 5 percent respectively. There is no reason to expect that just because an event has never happened before, it cannot happen in the future. Over time, with businesses (even as with stock prices), any gap between perception and reality will be reconciled in favor of reality.

It is character, not numbers, that make the world go round. The bromide “if you can measure it, you can manage it” has been a hindrance in building a great real-world organisation, just as it has been a hindrance in evaluating the real-world economy. The trouble with complex calculations is that they cannot be trusted to convey simple truths. Nonetheless, he was well aware that if revenues fail to exceed expenses, no organisation – even the most noble of faith-based institutions – will long exist.

He defined success in terms of service quality, and of providing investors with their fair share of whatever returns our financial markets are generous enough to bestow on us, thus he looked after investor. The proper measure of a right career and right success is your own expectations and making the most of your talents. A right career is not undertaken solely to get rich, or to gain fame, or to throw one’s weight around, or to meet others’ expectation. A success is not right if it is achieved at society’s expense. In businesses, the task of managers is to do things right while the task of leaders is to do the right thing. We need both managers and leaders to have a thriving business.

He advised that the road of life is rarely smooth and we need to be prepared for the inevitable reversals in our fortunes, whether constituted by wealth, or health, or family. He was very grateful for his blessing – what he termed as “acres of diamonds”.

This book is not really about investment, but more like his prescription to fix the mutual fund industry and how to conduct oneself. The message from this book that he hoped we would remember: the great game of life is not about money; it is about doing your best to join the battle to build anew ourselves, our communities, our nation, and our world.

One-sentence summary: Beating the market is a zero-sum game and long-term investing is the way to go.


  1. Daily swings in market returns have nothing to do with the long-term accretion of investment values.
  2. Statistics – in charts, graphs, and tables – can be used to prove almost anything in business, but unquantifiable values have a way of holding steady as a rock.
  3. Once you decide whether you expect to be in business for a short time or a long time, most of the right decisions are easy.
  4. If a job is to be done, best to do it right.
  5. Success, in short, can be measured not in what we attain for ourselves, but in what we contribute to our society.


2 out of 3 stars

Interested in Enough?

You may get the book from through the link below*.

Get the print book from Shopee Malaysia here

*Disclosure: The above link is an affiliate link. Thus, I may earn a small commission when you purchase the book through the link.

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