Book Review: The Ulysses Contract by Michael Kemp

Review by Glenis Phillips, originally published on Good Financial Reads

When the Foreword of The Ulysses Contract is written by Scott Pape, you immediately know this is going to be good. As the front cover says:

"You have lucked onto something very special by picking up this book."

The author of The Ulysses Contract, Dr Michael Kemp, has over 30 years’ experience in corporate finance and has been actively involved in managing his personal share portfolio.

Michael Kemp has also written Creating Real Wealth and Uncommon Sense.  I have a copy of the latter on my bookshelf.

Over the years, I have spoken with many people about how they manage their shares.  While some prefer to let the experts manage their money there are also many that choose to do it themselves.

Those who are DIY investors tend to have very strong views on whether they select their shares on the basis of the company’s balance sheet (Value Investor) or charts (Technical Analysis).  Some like me, only invest in shares that have a sound Balance Sheet but only when the charts indicate the share price is in an upward trend.

Whatever their view, I find they are adamant that their method is the best and depending on their personalities and spare time, they are probably right.  However, I ask you all to let go of all your personal biases and open your eyes to other options when it comes to managing your money invested in the Share Market.  This advice also applies to those who have most of their shares in Superannuation and Managed Funds, because you may also be losing out if you don’t take a closer look at the management fees.

Everyone is looking for “An Edge” to improve their performance.  Kemp says this can be distilled to one word: 


When it comes to “Information”, this book delivers.

In the first section, Kemp describes what he calls the Siren Songs.  These are investment traps and are often concepts that the average person will take as a truism because that have heard so called experts quote them as facts.  But he will show you why they are incorrect in many cases. 

In the section Gaining an Edge, Kemp explores the few people who have this skill.  His two main contenders are Warren Buffet, with whom everyone is familiar, but probably don’t really understand his genius.  The second is mathematician, Jim Simons, who is a Quant, or technical analyst.  His skill is in computerized trading.

In Part III, The Mast, Kemp gives you his experience of investing in the Share Market and commences to give you his gems of wisdom.  He will touch on many subjects that are at the heart of good investing.

As Kemp states, he has kept the best chapter for the last.  This is described as the Ulysses Contract.  This chapter will help you to formulate your personal plan to manage your wealth, in the Share Market.  On the cover you will see Ulysses tied to the mast of his ship by his crewman, so the course cannot be changed.  Use this book to set your course.

I believe this is a book that every Australian should read.  It is a book that will almost certainly give you an understanding as to how you can maximize the benefits of investing in shares, either directly, through Managed Funds or through Superannuation.

The subtitle says it all:

How to never worry about the Share Market again

The Ulysses Contract: How to never worry about the share market again is available now.

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