‘Beating the Odds’

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Sell or stay? Stay or sell?

In times like these, when the market resembles a cheap yo-yo, you don’t know which to do. Should you sell your stocks before they drop further, or sit tight? Should you buy now that prices are down, or is that just throwing money away?

The market’s a bear these days, which makes you madder than a bull. But when you read “Beating the Odds” by Eddie Brown (with Blair Walker), you’ll be reminded that it’s always best to keep your sight on the light.

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Life for Eddie Brown did not start out well.

Born to a 13-year-old unmarried mother, Brown was just two years old when she abandoned him to the care of her parents and older brother in Apopka, Florida. Her decision turned out to be a good one: Brown’s grandparents raised him right, taught him values, educated him, and his uncle taught him not to fear money.

At age 14, Brown’s idyllic childhood came to an end. His beloved grandmother died on the way to Pennsylvania to visit Brown’s mother, who was trying to rekindle a relationship with her family. Shortly thereafter, Brown was sent to his mother’s house permanently, which was another stroke of luck.

Constantly hungry for knowledge (“Whenever I enter a learning environment,” he says, “I feel like a famished lion wandering into a butcher shop!”), Brown decided that he wanted to go to college but he didn’t know how it could happen. When a local community leader learned that Brown was eyeing Howard University, he arranged for the dream to come true by contacting an unusual benefactor: an anonymous white woman who paid for Brown’s tuition, room, and board for four years.

Brown craved an education, but more than that, he wanted his family to never worry about money. With an engineering degree in hand, Brown job-and-college jumped from Washington, D.C. to Florida to New York, then to St. Louis, Indiana, and to Baltimore. Along the way, he learned how to read the stock market, how the financial world works, and how to make money. He also learned four essential ways to protect a business.

Looking for some financial advice? You’ll have to be insightful here, because author Eddie Brown is subtle with suggestions in his book. “Beating the Odds” is really more of business biography than anything else but that’s okay—you’ll be so entertained that you won’t care.

From his moonshine-running childhood in a heavily-segregated small town, to the making of Brown Capital Management in Baltimore and his lifelong dream of financial strength, Brown writes about his life and his path to success.

(“Beating the Odds: Eddie Brown’s Investing and Life Strategies” by Eddie Brown with Blair S. Walker, c.2011, Wiley, $27.95/$33.95 Canada, 207 pages, includes index.)

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