If someone promised to show you the way to break out of your mediocrity and get rich and successful, would you want to listen to him? What if he wanted to spent some time bragging and belittling you first? Still? Now imagine the actual advice is blindingly obvious and insultingly vague. If you would still feel good about it, this book is for you.
I bought the book for some out-of-the-box financial tips by an exceptional financial leader, as stated on the backside. Disappointingly, only about a third of the pages is actually about that. Brace yourself for never heard-of advice: New cars lose value very quickly. Houses are expensive, maybe renting suits you better. All debt has to be payed off at some point. Spend less than you earn. Start your own business, then you can work exclusively for your own wealth. Great advice, inspiring, maybe a bit superficial and not exactly the radical paradigm-shifting insights we were promised. Ok, so much for the good part of the book…
What is the rest about? Insults and bragging. Many pages of Investment Punk are filled with rants against the middle class, usually in the form of strawman arguments with the reader. Hörhan mocks our need for social status and security, our lack of financial foresight and our refusal to leave our comfort zone of nine-to-five mediocrity. You decide if this is relevant for you. For my part, I was promised an investment banker who lashes back at society for accusing his profession of causing the global financial crisis, and I do not feel the book delivered on that promise. Then there is the biographical part. Let me give an example: The author is at a party where entertainment is provided by forty girls flown in from the middle east. We learn that attending these parties is a privilege for those women and gain insight to the super strict selection process (no uglies allowed near rich people). This is followed by a detailed description of the girl he ends up in bed with and the nonchalantly dropped fact that many men at the author’s income level keep a harem. Are you cringing? I certainly was.
You simply are not supposed to write about this in your book on investment. This is the kind of information you expect to find in a private diary or one of those “honest” biographies were people confess all their sins (and sometimes make up some additional ones to sound more interesting). Also, nothing of this is important. The story is not connected to other parts of the book and does not convey any useful information. Yet, the book is full of similar incoherent, irrelevant bits and pieces of biography, which I will call bragographies from now on, because that is what they are. The funniest part of the book: We are not supposed to think that anything of this is a sign of decadence. The author has such a stressful job that he has to party EXTREMELY HARD just to draw level with normal people. That is an actual argument that is actually brought up in the book.
Hörhan maintains a branding as “radical” financial advisor, for which he needs infamy as much as praise. Investment Punk clearly is a calculated provocation, and a very successful one. As much as I appreciate the attitude (I usually like arrogant people), there is little more than that. Two thirds of the book were clearly written by the author for the author, and contain nothing but superfluous bragographies and rants, while the rest can’t nearly deliver on the shameless promises made in the blurb and teaser texts. Here you will not learn a lot about investing like a punk.
I did not enjoy it.
- Invest in things that increase in value
- Entrepreneurs get rich, employees don’t
- Nope, nothing more
Gerald Hörhan is an investment banker, financial consultant and coach.
Ullstein, 10th edition (April 15th 2011), first edition 2010, german