Investment professionals tend to sneer at investment how-to books. Well they should. Many investment books promise impossible get-rich-quick schemes or unknown ways to “beat the house,” to use a phrase usually associated with casino gambling. Occasionally, however, a work comes along that offers genuine insight and useful investment guidance. One such work is Millennial Apocalypse by Zane Brown and Dr. Donalee Brown.

This book, clearly written to help millennials negotiate the world of investing, accomplishes its objective in two ways. It offers the kind of sane investment advice applicable to anyone who wants to secure and expand a financial nest egg and explains it in readable English. One could not ask for more. But it does offer more, a lot more. Millennial Apocalypse delves into the psychological tendencies of this huge generation, explaining how its experiences have fostered ways of thinking that can thwart effective investment strategies and often stymie investment success. As with the book’s investment advice, it backs up its psychological investigation with a wealth of evidence from surveys and readable digests of what must have been esoteric academic experiments and studies.

Chapter by chapter the book shifts gracefully from psychological insight to investment advice. In doing so it offers a lively and enjoyable read, certainly something richer and more absorbing than most investment books, even the best of them. After establishing, for instance, that millennials have a strong aversion to investment risk on the one hand and on the other a seemingly contradictory penchant for self-reliance, it goes on to explain how both traits can thwart an effective investment strategy. It explains further what readers need to know in order to overcome such tendencies.

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Of course, these and other conflicting traits, so well described in this volume, are hardly exclusive to millennials. They are, in fact, quite human and exist in abundance among boomers as well as the youthful members of the gen-z cohort. On this basis, Millennial Apocalypse has great value to many outside its specific area of focus. A read might also benefit brokers and other financial professionals. They might have no need the investment guidance, but the psychological insight should offer them a better understanding of their clients and hence ways to improve communication, something that is, after all, an essential part of any investment advisor’s skill set, or should be.

Investment beginners especially would benefit tremendously from this book. They might, however, desire more on the nuts and bolts of investment practice than Millennial Apocalypse offers. The same might be true of more sophisticated investors looking to stretch into more esoteric areas of practice. These people might find it useful to supplement their reading with something like Bite-Sized Investing. Supplemented or not, I can recommend Millennial Apocalypse as an essential guide to making investment strategy and securing investment success.

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