A Fool and His Money

John Rothchild, Author Viking Books $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-670-81177-9

""If you think it's right it's wrong, and vice versa,'' quips freelance writer Rothchild in this picaresque odyssey of his search for a surefire way to multiply money. With a $14,000 grubstake, he invested in stocks and made the rounds: visiting brokerage houses, interviewing financial advisers, studying market newsletters, appraising mutual funds, penetrating the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Reserve purlieus and Chicago's commodity trading pits (where putting one's money is ``like holding up bread for the seagulls''). His education complete, Rothchild found that most of his capital evaporated even before the October '87 Crash, which completed the job. The average investor, the author concludes in this rueful, ironic and doggedly humorous tale, is ``a born loser.'' Nevertheless, readers will be vastly entertained while learning investment essentials and idiosyncrasies they never knew they ought to know about. (March)