Follow Rajiv and watch his videos on Facebook and Twitter.

Rajiv Patel is economic attaché at the Embassy of India in Berne and business columnist for Swiss Radio and Television. He has a degree in finance from the University of Delhi and does management consultancy for large corporations worldwide. He enjoys cricket, sudoku and love songs.

What should investors read to stay informed?

Dear Rajiv,

What should investors read to stay informed?

Steve R., Tokyo

I have five golden rules regarding this matter.

1. Read what everyone else is reading. That means the Financial Times and The Economist. Don’t bother with the 20-page reports; just read the leaders. Then go out to dinner and tout those opinions to other people who think just the same way you do. This will make you feel self-confident, and that’s what investing is all about.

2. Use an aggregator like Facebook or Twitter to bring you the things that are making the Internet all abuzz. Don’t waste time on websites like Buzzfeed, Mashable or Business Insider, when “12 things you didn’t know about Steve Jobs” or “These 15 aerial photos will take your breath away” can be delivered straight to your doorstep.

3. Always stay in touch with home base. Thanks to the Hindustan Times, I catch up with all the local gossip from India, so I can keep up my end of a good chat with Mummy-ji when she calls me every Sunday. Remember, harmonious family relationships are proven to be one of the keys to sound financial decision-making.

4. Reserve the glossy paper for the water closet. Great business magazines like Forbes, Wired or Bilan have the perfect format to be appreciated on the throne. So why not become a little smarter every time you visit “the place where the Queen goes alone”?

5. Avoid books like the plague. If you really want to be able to say you read the latest bestseller by Malcolm Gladwell, just sign up to a service like getabstract.com and scan the summary. But even these get boring and repetitive after a few pages.

Oh, and one more thing. I once read an article on how a gaggle of hamsters hooked up to a computer were able to buy and sell stocks over a six-month period, and they outperformed the S&P 500. I immediately obtained three hamsters for myself, and they have been handling my portfolio ever since. They are doing brilliant work. And by the way, they still can’t read. 

Follow Rajiv and watch his videos on Facebook and Twitter.

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