The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism John C. Bogle

Publication date:
30 Jan 2007
Yale University Press
288 pages: 235 x 156mm


A financial expert explains what’s wrong in corporate, investment, and mutual fund America, the reasons behind the problems, and what should be done about it

There is no one better qualified to tell us about the failures of the American financial system and the grotesque abuses that have taken place in recent years than John Bogle, who as founder and former chief executive of the Vanguard mutual funds group has seen firsthand the innermost workings of the financial industry. A zealous advocate for the small investor for more than fifty years, Bogle has championed the restoration of integrity in industry practices. As an astute observer and commentator, he knows that a trustworthy business and financial complex is essential to America’s continuing leadership in the world and to social and economic progress at home.

This book tells not just a story about what went wrong but, more important, the story of why we lost our way and of how we can right our course. Bogle argues for a return to a governance structure in which owners’ capital that has been put at risk is used in their interests rather than in the interests of corporate and financial managers. Given that ownership is now consolidated in the hands of relatively few large mutual and pension funds, the specific reforms Bogle details in this book are essential as well as practical. Every investor, analyst, Wall-Streeter, policy maker, and businessperson should read this deeply informed book.

John C. Bogle is founder and former CEO of Vanguard mutual funds. In 2004, Time magazine named him one of the most influential people in the world. In 1999, Fortune magazine named him one of the four investment giants of the twentieth century.

"...[Bogle has a] fine analytical ability and strong moral sense...we should be grateful that an insider like him is willing to elucidate the often murky workings of [Wall] Street." - Jeff Madrick, International Herald Tribune

?[Bogle?s] book is yet another important contribution in an illustrious career."?Arthur Levitt










"This is an important book for the post-Enron era. In his characteristic hard hitting style, one of the legends of the mutual fund industry presents an insider?s view of what?s wrong with corporate America and what can be done to improve it."?Burton G. Malkiel, Princeton University

Simply put, capitalism has too many characters and not enough men of character. When one of the few tells us that the system he loves is ailing, and how he'd fix it, we had best listen."?Cliff Asness Ph.D., Managing and Founding Principal, AQR Capital Management

"In his characteristic style, Bogle delivers strong medicine for what ails our capital markets and corporate governance framework. Not all will agree with everything that he has written, but they would be wise to take note, as his message is resounding and his proposals go to the heart of crucial debates about management, ownership, and value creation."? Devin Wenig, President, Business Divisions, Reuters Group

?Jack Bogle has written a brilliant and insightful book that highlights the many ways that our economy has suffered because managers have placed their own economic interests ahead of those of owners and investors. Bogle offers prescriptions that, if enacted, will help prevent a repeat of the scandals that we have witnessed over the past five years.??Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General, New York

"John Bogle has written an insightful book with great historical and contemporary perspective. His analysis of what has gone wrong and what needs to be done should be required reading for students, financial practitioners, and official policymakers."?Henry Kaufman, President of Henry Kaufman and Company, Inc.

"Bogle describes the continuous struggle for control of our capitalistic system, the odds being heavily in favor of the managers.  Individual investors and beneficiaries remain helpless, intermediaries are passive or conflicted, and boards not yet effective.  You owe it to yourself to read this book and reflect on his call for further federal intervention to restore some balance."?Ira Millstein, Senior Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP  

"Once again Jack Bogle is the clearest and most courageous voice pointing out critical flaws in our governance and financial system but also showing in constructive, brilliant ways how to make the timely repairs. This book presents a rare blend of erudition, experience, and utility. It should be required reading for CEOs, public policy leaders, and MBA students?if not all informed investors."?Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Yale University

"In this tour de force, Bogle subjects corporate America to a forceful critique. Keen insights, rich experience, and moral courage shine throughout. Anyone interested in our corporate system should read this book, and those who do will never see corporate America the same again."?Lucian Bebchuk, Harvard University 

"This superb book should be a required reading for every business student in college. Like a fine surgeon, Jack Bogle dissects what is wrong with the capital markets from an investor?s view, and at the same time provides a well-reasoned cure."?Lynn Turner, Former Chief Accountant of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

"Jack Bogle has done more to protect corporate shareholders from mounting abuses at the hands of greedy and negligent CEOs, directors, and money managers than anyone in America. The case he makes here is so powerful and well reasoned that our Washington politicians will be hard pressed to ignore it."?Mario Cuomo, 52nd Governor, New York State