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Intelligent Investor: The Classic Text on Value Investing [Hardcover]

Benjamin Graham
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 21 2005
The Original 1949 Edition

Benjamin Graham's classic best seller on value investing has taught and inspired hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. This reissue of the pure, unadulterated 1949 text by Graham offers the investing principles as he originally laid them out -- principles that continue to stand more than half a century since the book was first published.

Time and market developments have proven the wisdom of Graham's basic strategies, and in today's volatile market, this is the most important book you will ever read on making the right decisions to protect your investments and make them a success.


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Review

“By far the best book on investing ever written.” (Warren Buffett)

“If you read just one book on investing during your lifetime, make it this one” (Fortune)

“The wider Mr. Graham’s gospel spreads, the more fairly the market will deal with its public.” (Barron's)

About the Author

Benjamin Graham (1894-1976), the father of value investing, has been an inspiration for many of today's most successful businesspeople. He is also the author of Securities Analysis and The Interpretation of Financial Statements.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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THIS CHAPTER will outline the viewpoints that will be set forth in the remainder of the book. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Deal Sept. 29 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I do not have much experience for buying second hand books from Amazon but what i've got is just the perfect. Excellent condition, looks like new, no dirty spots, no used feeling anywhere... It was a great deal.
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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read, but still ... April 25 2010
Format:Hardcover
Some people consider this book to be some sort of "Bible for investing" but after reading it I certainly don't.
First, this book is really long, and I mean REALLY long to read, and especially considering what knowledge you acquire from spending so many hours reading it. You can find all of what is said in these hundreds of pages in about any book on personal finance that has been written in recent years, and that is about 150 pages long.
Second, I had a hard time sometimes reading and following what was said since the style of writing is kind of hard to read and because there is so much emphasis on technical stuff and financial data that, in my view, doesn't bring that much to the book.
I think this book is worth reading since it's a classic, or if you're interested in what was going on in this field in the 40s, but other than that, I would not recommend it.
Don't count on this book to teach you how to organize your financial life or helping you achieve financial goals or anything, if you thought about reading for this book for some reason like that, forget it, read something else.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  57 reviews
102 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Text Laying Out Solid Principles of Value Investing June 13 2005
By Craig Matteson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When Warren Buffett says that this book is by far the best book ever written on investing one has to take notice. While "The Intelligent Investor" exists in print in several editions, (4th rev edition 0060155477, 2003 rev edition w/ Jason Zweig 0060555661, and some audio book versions), this is a reprint of the original 1949 edition and has several virtues.

It is the original statement of what has come to be called Value Investing. This is a very philosophical book more than a book of techniques or methods of investing. Mr. Graham writes firmly and clearly about where the Investor's interests really lie. He is very hard on brokers, whose profession he considered more of a semi-profession because they have their own interests at heart more than those of their client. He also makes a strong case of about the kinds of returns one can expect from the market versus a company one actively manages. If investors of the 1990s had headed his views on management and their interests not being aligned with those of shareholders a lot less money would have been lost.

In several places he states that shareholders need to act more like owners and should not simply submit to management or let them have free reign with the resources of the company. He also advocated the importance of an independent board of directors rather than a board of management cronies. He rejects the notion of simply selling shares if you don't like the way the company is being managed. That is a dereliction of their duty as owners.

There is also a discussion of a variety of approaches to investing and he contrasts defensive investing or investing using analysis versus speculating. Like Buffett, Graham views investment as a buy and hold for the long term with active influence on the way the company is run. In his view, frequent trading is the road to losses. But at least you make capital gains possible for others.

Obviously, much of the specific information about companies, stock performance, taxes, US Savings Bonds, and such have to be adjusted for. We are more than fifty years later and much has changed. However, the core philosophy of the book is solid, readable, and profound.

The foreword provided in this reprint is by John C. Bogle who founded The Vanguard Group. He made a wonderful career and happy retirements for many based on the principles put forward in this classic text.
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the true classics June 19 2006
By Befragt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is a true classic, and most investors would be well-advised to start with this book as they seek to learn more about the process of making their money work for them. In particular, Graham's book is useful because it recognizes that the universe of potential investments is greater than just stocks - he covers warrants, bonds, etc.

Graham's main point is that investors look at the fundemantals that underly a potential investment to determine the probability of a satisfactory outcome. Hence, Graham does not focus on macroeconomic factors, but instead, he determines the "intrinsic value" for any investment, hopefully buying well below that value, a concept he calls the "margin of safety."

As some reviewers have noted, this book has been criticized by some thinkers as being out of date. In particular, most readers should understand that one of the theories that underlies Graham's philosophy, that a stock is worth the aggregate value of its expected dividends (See John Burr Williams' "Theory of Investment Value"), has been modified somewhat by "discounted cash flow" theories. This means that to some investors, p/e ratios and dividend payouts are de-emphasized somewhat. To me, this does not mean that Graham's theories lose validity, particularly as concerns the notions of intrinsic value and the margin of safety.

As far as I am concerned, Graham's book is most useful when viewed as a theory about how to invest. As such, it is a valuable guide, particularly when read in conjunction with Phil Fisher's book "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits" and Marty Whitman and Marty Shubik's book "The Aggressive Conservative Investor." Another book that readers of the Intelligent Investor might like would be Dreman's "Contrarian Investing: the Next Generation."

A quick warning to prospective readers: at the outset, reading anything by Graham can be somewhat slow going. I received a copy of this book as a gift years ago, and could not slog through more than 1/2 of it. It was only years later, after learning more about investing and accounting, that I truly came to appreciate the wisdom contained in this book.

Readers who appreciate The Intelligent Investor might also want to try "Security Analysis," which develops the ideas in the Intelligent Investor in much greater detail, and also sets forth more criteria about how to analyze investments (the chapters on financial statements are particularly useful). I have reviewed that book (3rd edition) as well, if anyone is interested.

Although it takes some work to make it through this book, one point that readers should understand is Graham firmly believes that it takes work to invest wisely. He would never encourage investing on tips, momentum investing, etc. A reader would be well-served to apply himself or herself to investing research with the same diligence that reading this book requires, and I don't doubt they will be rewarded as a result.
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Like This One The Best April 11 2006
By James H. McDuffie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Out of all the editions of this book commonly available I have to admit liking this one the best. It is the original Graham unfiltered by Warren Buffett or anyone else. There is some great advice in the book but much of it is available elsewhere these days and much of it many experienced investors understand only too well after recent adventures in the stock market. It is worth noting, however, that despite all the hype about Graham's being a buy and hold kind of guy, the book contains a Dow Jones timing strategy that the author thought the public might find useful in timing their sales and purchases of stocks.

Anyhow, those wanting to hear this advice from the horse's mouth will enjoy this book better than the other editions.
116 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It may not be the BIBLE of Investing - But it certainly is the NEW TESTAMENT March 9 2007
By Richad of Connecticut - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
What are you waiting for, buy the book and rock your world. I am reminded of the old joke we use to tell in Wall Street when I was with Lehman Brothers back in the 1970's. It's the story about the guy who is given permission to remove as much gold as he can from Fort Knox but he only has a morning, and must work alone. He's given a truck and a wagon to haul the gold with. He gets in the truck and heads the wrong way. "Where are you going, you are going the wrong way, you only have a morning to work with, and the clock has started." His answer is classic, "I am going to get breakfast first."

The point is very simple. People are reading Wall Street Journals, getting MBA's, and watching the talking heads on television. I've got portfolio managers who would kill for an edge, and every one of them, all of them are missing the point. It's all there, all the knowledge, all the wisdom you need to become a MASTER in the financial markets. You simply have to know what to read, and you begin by reading THE INTELLIGENT INVESTOR.

At Harvard we use to say they divided the building up into two lecture halls tonight. The door at the first hall has a sign that says LECTURE ON GOD, on it. The door of the second lecture hall has a sign that says GOD on it. Everybody wanted to go to the lecture. Listen up folks, this book THE INTELLIGENT INVESTOR, it's the real thing. This is not Madison Avenue sitting down with a author that they pulled out of Hollywood, and said let's put some interesting witticisms into a book on investing, dress it up, market it smart, and make a couple of bucks.

This is a book by a man with an Einstein type IQ, whose natural abilities were in the financial arena, who has the uncanny skill sets to explain himself in beautiful prose that just about all the rest of us can understand. If you want to be in the stock market, and you haven't read Benjamin Graham, it's like being in a gunfight in the old west, and not having a gun. You got to do the basics, and very few people do.

Wasn't it Woody Allen who said, "80% of making it is just showing up?" If you want to be in the market, and outperform everybody else wanting the same thing, than you can't do the same things they do, or you will get the same results, and that means mediocrity. You are in the race for Alpha, the extraordinary return. To win the race, you need an EDGE. Now how many people do you think are doing the basics? The answer is about as close to zero as you can get.

Investors, just like people want instant gratification with a minimum of effort, energy, and pain, and that's not how smart, astute investing works. You need to read books like this one not once, but over and over again, until it becomes part of you, until emotionally its wisdom becomes imprinted in your brain. You then need to start implementing it. See what kinds of results you are getting, and then make the adjustments necessary to make its wisdom YOUR OWN.

In other words, you need to OWN THE KNOWLEDGTE THAT'S IN THIS BOOK. Can it be done? Yes, but not easily. Benjamin Graham spent a lifetime figuring this stuff out. He didn't hit the ski slopes at Sun Valley. He wasn't sitting by the pool at Bungalow 5, at the Beverly Hills Hotel. He was grinding out the "Margin of Safety" concept, and testing it against the real world, did it work, and did it falter? Was it a 100 percent reliable.

I have heard Warren Buffett his most famous, but not only successful disciple tell the story of how the students in Graham's class room at Columbia would challenge the old man. Graham would used those challenges to make his thinking better, sharper, more real, and in so doing he became a better investor.

You want to know about Mr. Market, and why just about every investor ignores this theory, which is the equivalent of the Quantum Theory in Physics. You need to read the book. In Chapter 11, he teaches you how to value a business, his way. The teachers at Harvard, Wharton, Ross School, and others have nothing on Ben Graham. We are all students at his feet.

In my lifetime, I have worked with some of the smartest people on the planet. My direct mentor is the richest man on Wall Street, and I have known just about every major national and international investor worth his salt in the world in my generation. Every one of them could quote Benjamin Graham, meanwhile the want-to-bees, were out getting fitted for suits, after having lunch at the 21 Club.

Absorb some wisdom from someone who has been there. Read this book; learn about the "Circle of Competence", and the overwhelming importance of investor psychology. It is amazing that in this book several generations old, Ben is dealing with the same issues confronting us today, director independence, broker conflicts, frequent trading and the lack of performance it creates, management teams out of control, and dealing in a self-serving manner.

Each edition of this book is unique in its own way, with different world-class players commenting along side the text. I happen to like this edition because John Bogle (read his books also) is a man who I respect enormously who has impacted the investing world. The revised edition with Warren Buffett commenting is wonderful also. You simply can not go wrong touching anything that has been written by Benjamin Graham. Good luck.

Richard Stoyeck
[...]
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is what I was missing for Investing in the stock market April 11 2007
By Carlos I. Rojas Reynosa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
During the last five years I entered the stock market and took a couple of seminars on investing in stocks, the seminars were valuable introductions to the market, after reading the book I discovered that what I had learned in those seminars was to behave like an speculator rather than a true investor. After many costly mistakes I know why I needed to read the book. The cases presented in the book of companies that in many cases no longer exist do not harm the wisdom and clarity of the basics needed to become a true investor. I recommend the book to every person who wants to enter the market. It is actually a must read beforehand. Now I know what Warren Buffet means when stating "this is the best book on investing ever written". Hope you will find it as valuable.

Carlos Irving Rojas - Mexico City
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