Below is Part I of an interview I had with Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, and Michael LeBoeuf, the authors of The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing and frequent contributors to the Vanguard Diehards Forum. I want to thank the guys for agreeing to do this interview. I have a copy of the book and will be posting my review of it over the weekend or early next week. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the interview. UPDATE: Don’t forget to sign up for a Bogleheads’ Book Giveaway!
1. How did you three meet?
We first met on the internet when we were each answering questions on the Vanguard Diehards Forum on Morningstar.com . Later, we met in person at our Bogleheads reunions.
2 . How did the idea for the Boglehead book first come about?
Bill Fallon, Financial Editor John Wiley and Sons, our publisher, saw Taylor’s postings on the Diehards forum and thought Taylor could write a successful book. Taylor told him he was not interested. He then approached Mel to write the book, but Mel declined to write the book without Taylor being involved, since they had been a team from the very early days of the Diehards Forum and the Bogleheads reunions. The publisher then offered us a ghost writer as an enticement, and Taylor and Mel said they’d prefer to have their friend and accomplished author, Michael, as a co-author, rather than a ghost writer. Wiley agreed. Working together as a team sounded like something Taylor would enjoy doing, so we all agreed to do the book. Over the course of the year we worked together, we developed a really great relationship.
3. How did you divide up the work? Did you each take different sections of the book or did you work together all the way through?
We worked together to create an outline of 23 chapters. Michael was chosen to be the project coordinator due to the fact that he was an experienced author. Based on what he perceived to be our respective strengths, each of us were assigned chapters to write. When we finished our assigned chapters, we sent the draft to our co-authors for additions, deletions and changes. Many times we went throught three and four revisions to a chapter before we were all satisfied with it. The result is that every chapter represents our combined knowledge. We think it is one of the strengths of the book. As a result of our combined efforts on each and every chapter, the book is definitely better than any one of us could have written alone.
4. While reading the book, I noticed that the advice is applicable to every age group. Was this by design or was there a particular audience you were trying to reach with the book?
We tried to write the book to a general audience choosing everyday financial/investing topics that concern most people at some point in their lives. Because our book is based on the thousands of financial questions from people of all walks of life that we get on the Vanguard Diehards Forum, we think it was natural for us to write a book that answers questions for a broad spectrum of investors.