Common Sense: The Investor's Guide to Equality, Opportunity, and Growth

Joel Greenblatt

Columbia University Press, 2020

Agent: Sandra Dijkstra

The United States is supposed to offer economic opportunity to everyone. It shouldn’t take a worldwide pandemic and nationwide protests to bring economic and racial inequality to the forefront of problems we desperately need to solve. But now that the opportunity is here, what should we do? How can we create more equality, opportunity, and growth for everyone? Not someday, but what can government and the private sector do right now to disrupt a status quo that almost everyone wants to change?

In Common Sense, the New York Times best-selling author Joel Greenblatt offers an investor’s perspective on building an economy that truly works for everyone. With dry wit and engaging storytelling, he makes a lively and provocative case for disruptive new approaches?some drawn from personal experience, some from the outside looking in. How can leading corporations immediately disrupt our education establishment while creating high-paying job opportunities for those currently left behind? If we want a living wage for everyone, how can we afford it while using an existing program to get it done now? If we subsidize banks, what simple changes can we make to the way we capitalize and regulate them to help grow the economy, increase access, and create more jobs (while keeping the risks and benefits where they belong)? Greenblatt also explains how dramatically increasing immigration would be like giving every American a giant bonus and the reason Australia might be the best place to learn about saving for retirement.

Not everyone will agree with what Greenblatt has to say?but all of us can benefit from the conversations he aims to start.



"Like many others, I am deeply saddened by the degree of inequality in our society. In Common Sense: The Investor’s Guide to Equality, Opportunity and Growth, Joel Greenblatt goes beyond documenting the problem to advance a handful of proposals that can contribute to a solution or at least jumpstart the debate. I recommend this book to anyone who cares about these things. It’s not just for investors."

-- Howard Marks, cofounder and cochairman, Oaktree Capital Management


"Even Joel Greenblatt, superb investor and lucid stylist, would be shocked if you agreed with each and every one of his ideas for improving the quality of American life. But there's not one idea in these fine and well-wrought pages that won't make you stop and think."

-- James Grant, editor of Grant's Interest Rate Observer


"The only thing more appealing than common sense, humor, and brevity is?impact. In this thoroughly engaging tome you will find, among other things, a workable way to break the cycle of poverty (imagine our country without an underclass!) and a bipartisan immigration reform that screams to be enacted. Not bad for twenty bucks."

-- Andrew Tobias, author of The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need