Rich as a King

By Susan Polgar and Douglas Goldstein

Rich as a King
Rich as a King
Morgan James Publishing (2014)
277 pages
Reviewed by Jeremy Silman
Iíll start out by admitting that Iím not fond of self-help books, and I have no interest in books about investing. And I often roll my eyes when I see multiple authors since the mix often is stilted and, at times, creates a bit of literary tug of war. Finally, I wasnít sure how Susanís chess knowledge would mesh with Goldsteinís investment knowhow. How could such apparently divergent things compliment each other?

I should mention one other thing: Susan is a friend of mine, and I dreaded the possibility that I might not like the book! But, one has to be fair and, if it wasnít to my taste, I would do my job as a reviewer and be honest about it. Fortunately, all my worries turned out to be unnecessary.

I know nothing about investment. But I do know quite a bit about chess, so I started off reading it with a view towards the chess content, while looking at the investment content from a beginnerís eye. I was surprised when the book started out with Susan discussing her move from Hungary to the U.S. It was extremely interesting (I wonít describe it since I donít want to ruin a surprising moment or two) and I was impressed when she ended it with, "What if I made a mistake?Ē It was a brilliant connection to not only mistakes in life, but also in the way a person deals with oneís finances. And so, we were off to the races!

There followed Goldstein, who explained why chess and investing connects in more ways than one might imagine. He also discussed a thing known as "loss aversion,Ē which actually made perfect sense to me Ė I could see how this would be helpful to a lot of people.

And so the tone of the book was clear: Goldstein would deal with the heavy hitting investment theory & practice, while Susan mixed chess information, stories, similes, and metaphors to, once again, show that chess and money were not complete strangers.

There is a lot of information in this book. The chess material always kept my interest and, shockingly, the investment information also was never boring and, indeed, it sometimes was downright exciting! This was achieved by having two authors who knew their stuff on a world-class level, while also having two authors that wrote in an incredibly clear manner Ė these two know how to share their knowledge, and it showed on every page.

As a writer, I prize the mix of knowledge and clarity above all other things, and the material from both authors seamlessly complimented each otherís work. Both Susanís and Goldsteinís prose was exceptionally smooth and enjoyable. Perhaps the biggest surprise though, was the humor. A very nice cartoon-icon version of Susan let you know when her material was taking center stage. Oddly, the cartoon also helped make her stuff more human and personal. I donít know how they pulled this off, but thatís the effect it had on me. Cartoon-icon Knights were used to let you know when a "Rich As A King Action PointĒ was offered, and a Douglas Goldstein cartoon-icon appeared when he was discussing some personal story.

I also loved the full-blown cartoon strips that appeared when both Susan and Goldstein were together. These ranged from one to three frames, and all of them were very well done.

For those that are wondering what kind of material is in the book, Iíll give you the main Chapter Headings, which should give you a taste, though Iím too lazy to give the endless sub-headings:

Chapter 1 Avoid These Mistakes and Youíre Halfway There
Chapter II How to Achieve Your Financial Goals
Chapter III The Plan to Get Rich
Chapter IV Computers, Chess, and Money

Part B: TACTICS Chapter V Budgeting: How to Use Your Sixteen Pieces Wisely

PART C: How The Pieces Move: Stocks, Bonds, And Mutual Funds
Chapter VI Building Your Castle with Stocks
Chapter VII Strengthening Your Position with Bonds
Chapter VIII Mutual Funds: Let an Investment Grandmaster Manage Your Portfolio

PART D: Getting Rich Using Chess Strategies
Chapter IX 64 Strategies to Make You rich as a King

I found this book to be absolutely delightful, and extremely well done. I give it my highest recommendation if you are interested in investment strategy, are an adult beginning chess player and want to see chess material that you wonít find in chess books, or if you are a Susan Polgar or Douglas Goldstein fan.