Library / Biographies | Industries

Date of review: February 2020
Book author: Charles Schwab
Вook published: 2019

Invested: Changing Forever the Way Americans Invest by Charles Schwab (2019)

The book was useful in two ways. The life of the founder, Charles Schwab, shows that a successful business starts with addressing a clear customer need (high brokerage fees by established players), and success comes from a constant focus on helping the customer (similar to ideas expressed by Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos). Schwab saw this market opportunity because he was a customer of one of the big established traditional brokers himself and wanted to invest directly in the market at much lower fees.

Long-term focus leads to superior shareholder returns

My second takeaway is that founder's led businesses are indeed much more long-term focused and tend to generate better shareholder returns over the long term. Schwab specifically said that he did not want his business to be most profitable, but definitely focused on all possible growth opportunities.

Schwab's experience also confirms the importance of keeping a long-term perspective when investing as markets tend to go up eventually.

Also worth pointing out that Schwab faced personal challenges such as dyslexia which made reading and learning at school in general much more challenging for him. But he remained very focused and determined to learn, which helped him overcome this challenge.

Later, just before starting his new brokerage business, Schwab found himself divorced, carrying a six-figure debt including business debt, he was married a second time and lived in a small flat with their baby. He had three children from his previous marriage.

Key notes

  • I don't think human nature deals very well with the patience and strong stomach investing requires. We're wired for fight or flight. Look at the chart of the S&P 500 over 40 years, and you see an endless series of jagged peaks and valleys. Each of those downs and ups is a moment of panic or elation. But step back for a wider view, and you see the inevitable direction is up. Stick with it and ride out the emotions, and you're an investor.

  • Family is life's cornerstone. It gives you purpose and strength.

  • You don't do anything of significance in business alone... I discovered early the power of delegation and teamwork…Business is all about people, and you need to find those who share your vision and values, who will bring their own passion and strengths to the task.

  • Find passions that fuel different parts of your soul.

  • Embrace the human spirit and creativity. Business is a creative process. You move forward into the unknowable future, try new things, make discovering along the way, and repeat. It's all about learning and growth.

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