Don't Count on It!

Full Name
Don't Count on It!: Reflections on Investment Illusions, Capitalism, "Mutual" Funds, Indexing, Entrepreneurship, Idealism, and Heroes

In Don't Count on It!, John C. Bogle—referred to as "the conscience of Wall Street"—determines the flaws of modern capitalism, explains what led to these economic crossroads, and scrutinizes how to repair the damage before it's too late. This volume shows a collection of Bogle's latest thoughts, centered on wise guidance into accepting deceptive numbers instead of focusing on fundamental reality. He also puts forward a cogent study of the cracks in the armor of a financial system that has failed to live up to the responsibility owed to its individual and institutional investors.

"This collection of Jack Bogle's writings couldn't be more timely. The clarity of his thinking—and his insistence on the relevance of ethical standards—are totally relevant as we strive to rebuild a broken financial system. For too many years, his strong voice has been lost amid the cacophony of competing self-interests, misdirected complexity, and unbounded greed. Read, learn, and support Jack's mission to reform the industry that has been his life's work."

— PAUL VOLCKER, Chairman of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve (1979–1987)

"Jack Bogle has given investors throughout the world more wisdom and plain financial 'horse sense' than any person in the history of markets. This compendium of his best writings, particularly his post-crisis guidance, is absolutely essential reading for investors and those who care about the future of our society."

ARTHUR LEVITT, former Chairman, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

"Jack Bogle is one of the most lucid men in finance."

NASSIM N.TALEB, PhD, author of The Black Swan

"Jack Bogle is one of the financial wise men whose experience spans the post–World War II years. This book, encompassing his insights on financial behavior, pitfalls, and remedies, with a special focus on mutual funds, is an essential read. We can only benefit from his observations."

HENRY KAUFMAN, President, Henry Kaufman & Company, Inc.

"It was not an easy sell. The joke at first was that only finance professors invested in Vanguard's original index fund. But what a triumph it has been. And what a focused and passionate drive it took: it is a zero-sum game and only costs are certain. Thank you, Jack."

JEREMY GRANTHAM, Cofounder and Chairman, GMO


"On finance, Jack Bogle thinks unconventionally. So, this sound rebel turns out to be right most of the time. Meanwhile, many of us sometimes engage in self-deception. So, this book will set us straight. And in the last few pages, Jack writes, and I agree, that Peter Bernstein was a giant. So is Jack Bogle."

JEAN-MARIE EVEILLARD, Senior Adviser, First Eagle Investment Management

“Don’t Count on It! is a wise book. As most traders and investors remain convinced that they can beat the market, it’s always sobering to hear a compelling voice from the other side.”

Seeking Alpha

"If Bogle writes it, it’s worth reading. His latest, Don’t Count On It, is a collection of 35 essays, every one of them filled with wisdom and insight. . . While I have read Bogle’s views on these issues many times, I’m always impressed with the quality of his writing (Where else can you read quotations from Adam Smith to Winston Churchill to Cato?), the wit and humility he shows and his passion to help investors. The book is a compelling read, one that in effect tells the story and mission of a great man. We’re lucky and privileged to have him fighting on our side.  As Bogle noted in his book, Machiavelli “described the accumulation of worldly ‘glory’ as the motivating principle that drives leaders to undertake ‘great enterprises’ and do ‘great things’ on behalf of their fellow citizens and not just themselves.” Hard to find a better description of Bogle himself."


“Mr Bogle’s prescription for a better system is relatively simple: to demand proper fiduciary management from money managers. They must prioritise client interests, act as responsible corporate citizens, charge reasonable fees and eliminate conflicts of interest. Amen to that. It may sound like nostalgia from an old-timer, or idealism from a visionary. But without such changes, investors and society will continue to be short-changed as the financial community carries on regardless.”

Financial Times

“In Don’t Count on It! Reflections on Investment Illusions, Capitalism, “Mutual” Funds, Indexing, Entrepreneurship, Idealism, and Heroes, Bogle hammers at what he labels the cost matters hypothesis: Whether markets are efficient or inefficient, investors as a group must fall short of the market return by precisely the amount of the aggregate costs they incur. It is the central fact of investing. Not surprisingly, the book deals extensively with the low-cost innovation for which Vanguard is best known: the stock Index mutual fund. When the company first made Indexing available to small investors in 1975, critics derided the notion as “Bogle’s folly.” To Bogle, however, the benefits to investors were irrefutable. . .  The impact of Indexing has been so great that a second, hugely important contribution by Vanguard has been overshadowed. Vanguard originated the now standard segmentation of bond Funds into short-, intermediate-, and long-term varieties. Bogle was enshrined in the Fixed Income Analysts Society Hall of Fame for this innovation. The author of Don’t Count on It! does not dwell on such honors, which include being named one of the world’s 100 most powerful and influential people by Time magazine. In fact, Bogle devotes the final section of his book to tributes to four of his own heroes: Walter Morgan, economist Paul Samuelson, investment guru Peter Bernstein, and Dr. Bernard Lown, a Nobel laureate whom he credits with keeping him alive in defiance of a mystifying heart ailment. Bogle also shows modesty in sharing credit for his contributions to the field and in downplaying his own theoretical expertise. His unashamed display of such old-fashioned virtues, as well as his heretical view that running a business is not entirely about maximizing the wealth of the owners, has earned him the nickname ‘St. Jack.’”

— Financial Analysts Journal