Get the Skinny on Silver Investing
By David Morgan
Morgan James Publishing 2009
109 pages. $9.95
A few years ago, the social philosopher Charles Handy wrote an article entitled ‘Type Two Accountability.’ In his delightful article, Handy pointed out that accountability is “a tricky notion when you get into it.” He then defined two types of errors. Type one errors were when an individual was simply wrong. Type two errors occurred when an individual was right but not right enough.
Handy asserted that accountability followed a similar pattern. Type one accountability was “our responsibility for not getting it wrong.” Type two accountability, “for making it better than it otherwise would have been.”
In Get the Skinny on Silver Investing, David Morgan is guilty of a type two error. He’s right but not right enough. For the book could have been a lot better than it is.
At the beginning of his introductory remarks, Morgan states “The main purpose in writing this book was to make the investment community at large aware of what I believe to be the single best investment in the world at the present time – silver!” He then uses the succeeding chapters to provide evidence to support his premise. Unfortunately, the evidence is either superficial – at best – or puff at worst. Deciding between the two alternatives depends on one’s perspective. For example, the author – comparing silver and gold – writes, “By far, silver is the more undervalued of the two precious metals.” Numbers to prove this assertion are provided. Yet rather than demonstrating that silver is undervalued, the numbers appear to show that gold and silver are sympathetic. When the value of one moves up, so does the value of the other.
Chapter 2 of Get the Skinny – supposedly – furnishes more grounds for investing in silver. In reality, all the chapter does is inform the reader that silver is the by-product of base metal mining operations. “Nearly seventy five percent of silver coming to the surface is the result of copper, lead, zinc and gold mining. This is an important fact because this does present some unique conditions for the silver market.” Which sounds great. But there is no discussion of the “unique conditions” or what impact they have on silver investing.
Morgan concludes chapter 2 with a short summary. The final sentence of the summary is this: “Since demand for these items is expected to grow substantially, it is reasonable to project that demand for silver from these traditional applications will remain strong as well.” No data is provided to support this statement. The reader is left wandering through a statistical wasteland, wondering how the demand for silver has grown in the past, and whether or not the demand will increase or decrease in the future.
The fourth chapter of Get the Skinny discusses ‘Silver Leasing.’ However, there is no frame of reference. In other words, there is no explanation of what silver leasing is, along with the pros and cons of leasing. Instead, the entire chapter is “courtesy of Investment Rarities from an article from Mr. Ted Butler.” The article is described as “controversial” and possibly “somewhat libelous.” In fact, it’s so controversial that a disclosure statement is included. The disclosure statement ends by saying, “We do not guarantee the accuracy or correctness of these somewhat inflammatory statements.”
The author was right to include the disclosure statement, because the article seems to be nothing more than an angry diatribe against silver leasing, which, by the way, is quite common. The reader comes away from the chapter feeling intellectually impoverished. For the article is full of sly sarcasm, innuendo and false logic. Any objective discussion about silver leasing is fugitive.
Get the Skinny on Silver improves dramatically in chapters 6, 7, and 8. These chapters consider the monetary characteristics of silver, new uses for silver, and silver bullion. Beginning investors should find the content enlightening as a primer.
However, in chapter 9, Get the Skinny on Silver sinks back into mediocrity. ‘Silver-Stocks-How to Pick a Good Mining Company’ is the title of the chapter. Wherein mining is described as a tough yet vital business. But the ‘how’ of picking a good mining stock is never broached.
Chapter 9’s subheadings include Exploration Risk, Assay Risk, Management Risk, Financial Risk, and Trading Risk. Sadly, none of the topics is covered adequately. Morgan skims rapidly through them, as if eager to finish his book. He concludes the section on Trading Risk with the following remark: “My point is that determining the best investment areas for mining companies involves as much art as it does science.”
Such a statement may contain some truth, but it instills little confidence in readers of the book. For it sounds as if Morgan is saying that investing in silver mining is equivalent to the interpretation of omens.
Aside from a lack of any concrete information, Get the Skinny has other problems. For one, it needs the talents and efforts of an editor and a proofreader. There are simply too many grammatical, syntactical and spelling errors to overlook. After a while, the reader stops hoping to glean any helpful information and starts looking for abuses of the English language. Which is too bad, because the book does contain some useful advice.
Also problematic is the tone of the book. Get the Skinny comes across as nothing more than a propaganda pamphlet – an example of cheerleading. Rah, rah, rah! Sis-boom-bah! Buy silver! There’s very little explanation as to ‘why’ you should buy it. Just the exhortation to ‘buy it.’
Which brings us back to the type two error mentioned in the opening paragraphs of this review. Get the Skinny could have been a lot better than it is. For it’s obvious the author is intelligent and understands investing in silver. Only he fails to convey his knowledge in a comprehensive, objective and absorbing manner.
On the Read-O-Meter, which ranges from 1 star (deplorable) to 5 stars (outstanding), Get the Skinny on Silver Investing comes in at 2 gaunt stars. It’s just a little too skinny.