The Most Successful Investing System of All Time: The Intelligent Investor

The Intelligent Investor Rev Ed. (Collins Business Essentials)
by Benjamin Graham and Jason Zweig
Pub. Date: July 2003, Collins
ISBN 0-06-0555661
623 Pages
Review Written: 4/2/07

Success Rating :4

Why I Read this Book:
Warren Buffet became the successful man he is today greatly as a result of what he learned from the man who wrote this book. We have the chance to read exactly what he read.


Whether you are an avid investor with a complex understanding of the markets or a beginner who is yet to start learning, there is little doubt that you have heard of Warren Buffet. He represents a level of success that very few people ever reach. Most of us know Buffet as the second richest man in the world, but many of us do not stop to think that he has build his great fortune solely off of investing. He has not invented anything or built any specific business. He has gotten to where he is by nothing more than diligent value and principle based investing (with very little debt I might add).

I apologize for the long rant on Buffet especially since he only wrote the first few pages of this edition. The man behind this book’s genius is Benjamin Graham. It was many of his fundamentals and principles that got Buffet started with a foundation that soon grew to be insurmountable. The amazing thing is that anyone interested in these principles has the opportunity to buy a copy of this book for less than twenty dollars. It continues to blow me away; the amount of success-related knowledge that is available to us for the learning.

To be very honest up front, this is not the easiest read. It is written by a 20th century economist and quite frankly it often reads just like that. But to that note one should not pick this book up for humor and entertainment as much as he should to learn. Although there will be times when you will find yourself laughing or smiling at some of the stories told and how they ring true even today in our ever more sophisticated world. One such example is the concept of emotional investing, one of which most all of us have been guilty at one time or another. It is worth mentioning that for every bit of hard theory, this particular revised addition of the book has just about as much digestible commentary (courtesy of Jason Zweig) to help the reader through. This commentary is crucial to the level of satisfaction of the read.

I would not dare to get into the specifics of this book as I would not do them justice and I feel that the above should be more than enough reason to read the full edition. However I will comment on the over all tone of it. The book (as well as Buffet’s proven strategy) is based on a fundamental set of principles. These principles are something that, no matter what the circumstances, is never to be broken. This is how the rigor of an “intelligent investor” is maintained. I believe this to be the real difference between Graham and Buffet and the rest of the investment community (If you have not already, you should be sure to read Buffet’ s 13 principles on Berkshire’s website). Both these men display an inhumane level of disciple to stick to the very principles they have developed.

Having a principle-based investment strategy is something that will prove to be of much value as one progresses along his career (or hobby) of successful investing. If you are able to decide on a set of principles (be them your own or those of others) and stick to them at all costs, decisions suddenly become much more fluid and easy to make. How else do you think Buffet can make a $4 billon investment before lunch time?

The real reason I mention this is that it has a much greater underlying message. If principle based investing has proven so successful (provided your principles are sound of course) then imagine what can be accomplished in the overall success of ones life if you live by a firm set of principles and core values. This quickly becomes clear once you read through some of the top rated books in my personal development section. By now I hope you have already developed your set of core values by which to live. Now take advantage of this book to establish a similar set of values by which to judge personal investments. The added long term financial success will be explicit. Then again I guess you could just buy Berkshire, but perhaps you should make that decision for yourself after reading the book that helped create it.

Valuable Quotes:

“The intelligent investor must never forecast the future exclusively by extrapolating the past.”
—Benjamin Graham

“The more enthusiastic investors become about the stock market in the long run, the more certain they are to be proved wrong in the short run.”
—Benjamin Graham

“The only thing you can be confident of while forecasting future stock returns is that you will probably turn out to be wrong.”
—Benjamin Graham

“Blessed is he who expecteth nothing, for he shall not be disappointed.”
—G.K. Chesterton

“The unexpected can strike anyone, at any age. Everyone must keep some assets in the riskless haven of cash.”
—Benjamin Graham

“After you burn your mouth with hot milk, you blow on your yogurt.”
—Turkish proverb

“When stocks are priced reasonably enough to give you future growth, then you should own them, regardless of the losses they may have cost you in the recent past.”
—Benjamin Graham

“The more familiar a stock is, the more likely it is to turn a defensive investor into a lazy one who think there’s no need to do any homework.”
—Benjamin Graham

“For the aggressive as well as the defensive investor, what you don’t do is as important to your success as what you do.”
—Benjamin Graham

“The more you trade, the less you keep.”
—Benjamin Graham

-Reading for Your Success