Author: Deepak Mullick

Publisher: Notion Press;

Rating: 4/5

Reviewed by Tasnima, Criticspace Journal

Divided into 10 chapters, Simply mutual is a nonfiction book about the manner of investing in equity through mutual funds. The book begins with a rather long disclaimer but it is an essential read especially for beginners. This disclaimer draws on some of the crucial points regarding handling one’s finances in terms of mutual funds that are subject to market risks. This disclaimer is straightforward and highlights the areas where an investor needs to be cautious. It immediately sets the tone for the book as coming from an expert who has enough hands-on knowledge and knows well about the scenario in terms of making investments. However, the book also remarks that most of the information is for general applicability only and not for anybody who may have situation-specific questions. The book is concerned with general topics of financial planning only.

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Despite all that what is interesting to note is that the narrative of the book is very conversational. It opens in the year 1947 during the partition of India and Pakistan. The author’s grandparents left their life’s savings behind in Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan to Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The author notes that he has grown up hearing these stories particularly about how his family earned their surname Mullick which is related to wealth. This short anecdote immediately breaks the ice between the reader and the narrator. It also adds the human touch to the main topic of discussion that corelates with the notion that life is unpredictable. It immediately drives home the notion that people’s life’s savings need to be invested in diligent manners. Drawing on Warren Buffet’s saying: ‘successful investing takes time, discipline, and patience,’ Mullick adds his own take to it by stating: “wealth building is also about optimism. I consider myself an eternal optimist! It’s in my DNA! And even after witnessing the ups and downs of economies for over 25 years, I continue to believe in the India growth story. But more on that later”.

This takes the narrative towards the core themes and issues that the book dissects. The narrative is highly scientific, organised and well formed. The arguments are well structured and meticulously substantiated through the ideas of theorists and thinkers from various fields. This calls for a holistic approach to the issue of investing and the necessity to do so. The book then moves on to decode the share market in India. The idea that one does not need to be a genius but just an aware citizen is constantly put forth. The book addresses the fear and worries one has about making these investments and realistically charts out the way out of such worrisome thoughts. The idea is to be financially stable in one’s lifetime while being able to generate wealth for the future through fair means by using one’s resources and hard-earned money. In this sense, the book does not provide any false hopes about rags to riches story or ways to become a billionaire overnight, but a realistic way to improve one’s investment methods for better results. Hence, the book seeks to empower the reader.

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The cover of the book is rather usual despite all the interesting illustrations on the inside. This does not take away from the seriousness of the topic but it makes for an engaging read. The chapters have been written in capital letters which is indicative of the start of a new chapter but it would have been better had the chapters been numbered and written in bold. Nonetheless, the 1% formula to financial freedom is Mullick’s innovative take “ to build a corpus over 15 years that would give you a sustained ‘salary–pension’ after this time period that amounts to 1% of the original corpus”. This forms the heart of the book and is clearly a simplified version of an otherwise thoughtful idea. Overall, the book is a handy guide into the world of investment that anybody who wants to be better equipped and aware of how to utilise their resources should give a read.

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