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The Warren Buffett Portfolio: Mastering the Power of the Focus Investment Strategy [Paperback]

Robert G. Hagstrom
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 20 2000 Mastering the Power of the Focus Investment Strategy
The Warren Buffett Way provided the first look into the strategies that the master uses to pick stocks. A New York Times bestseller, it is a valuable and practical primer on the principles behind the remarkable investment run of the famed oracle of Omaha. In this much-awaited companion to that book, author Robert Hagstrom takes the next logical step, revealing how to profitably manage stocks once you select them. THE WARREN BUFFETT PORTFOLIO will help you through the process of building a superior portfolio and managing the stocks going forward.

Building a concentrated portfolio is critical for investment success. THE WARREN BUFFETT PORTFOLIO introduces the next wave of investment strategy, called focus investing. A comprehensive investment strategy used with spectacular results by Buffett, focus investing directs investors to select a concentrated group of businesses by examining their management and financial positions as compared to their stock prices. A strategy that has historically outperformed the market, focus investing is based on the principle that a shareholder's return from owning a stock is ultimately determined by the economics of the underlying business.

Hagstrom explains in easy-to-understand terms exactly what focus investing is, how it works, and how it can be applied by any investor at any level of experience. He demonstrates how Buffett arranges his stocks in a focus portfolio and reveals why this is as responsible for his incredible returns as the individual stocks he picks. Ultimately, Hagstrom shows how to use this technique to build and manage a portfolio to achieve the best possible results.

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It's no secret that most mutual funds fail to beat the performance of the S&P 500. And if the pros can't beat the averages, it's not unreasonable to assume that most individual investors can't, either. Why? According to Robert Hagstrom, author of The Warren Buffett Portfolio, a big reason is the industry's emphasis on diversification. In the interest of minimizing risk, many investors have "become intellectually numb to its inevitable consequence: mediocre results." As a result, they wind up owning too many stocks and churn their portfolios unnecessarily (for example, the average mutual fund holds 100 stocks and turns over 80 percent of its portfolio annually). In The Warren Buffett Portfolio, Hagstrom shows how Buffett and others use the idea of focus investing to organize winning portfolios.

Unlike Hagstrom's first book, The Warren Buffett Way, which describes how the world's greatest investor selects individual companies, this book looks at the mathematics, the psychology, and the mental models necessary to build a successful portfolio. The basic ideas: Pick no more than 10 to 15 companies with good track records and high probabilities of future success; plan to hang onto them for at least five years; and ignore predictions and the sometimes terrifying swings in market behavior. It's hard to argue with Hagstrom's approach, especially when he practices what he preaches. His fund, the Legg Mason Focus Trust, has 15 stocks, an annual turnover rate of 9 percent, and percentage annual returns in the mid-30s. For thoughtful investors and devotees of Warren Buffett, who are looking for more than the next hot stock tip, The Warren Buffett Portfolio is well-written guide. Recommended. --Harry C. Edwards --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In a straightforward follow-up to his bestseller, The Warren Buffett Way, Hagstrom shows how to put Buffett's ideas into practice. Buffett, universally described as one of the world's greatest investors, has made a fortune with a number of extremely large bets on a relatively small number of companies. By doing so, Hagstrom, who runs a mutual fund for the Legg Mason investment house, correctly points out that Buffett flies in the face of orthodox notions of portfolio diversity. Buffett's approach, which Hagstrom calls "focus investing," limits his investments to an extremely small number of stocksA10 or 15Athat he thinks have the greatest long-term potential. In The Warren Buffett Way, Hagstrom identified how Buffett chooses those stocks. And here, in his straightforward followup, he shows the benefits of this approach: if you pick right, returns will be far greater than the market as a whole. The problem, of course, is that you have to pick winners. That, as Hagstrom notes, still takes hard work and discipline.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I REMEMBER THAT conversation with Warren Buffett as if it happened yesterday. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 7 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
All the books of Robert Hagstrom very good for your money and for you too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A true treasure among modern investment books... July 2 2003
Format:Paperback
In "The Warren Buffett Portfolio", author Robert Hagstrom devotes an entire book to debunking the greatest misconception prevalent in the investment world today: the myth of "diversification". Hagstrom sets out to prove that Mark Twain was a market wizard when he said "put all of your eggs in one basket, and guard the hell out of that basket!"
The heart of this book rests on the premise that a proper portfolio must be "diverse" (i.e. must include 40 to 100 different companies) in order to remain "safe" and avoid a loss of capital. However, while such a notion may decrease short-term volatility, it does not necessarily increase returns. Hagstrom examines investment guru Warren Buffett's ideas on the subject, such as "knowledge decreases risk, not the number of stocks in your portfolio". Such an approach makes sense. Which is better, to own a few companies that you know everything about, or a lot of companies that you know little or nothing about? The less you know about a company, the more likely it is that an unforeseen event will sneak up on you and hammer your portfolio.
The book also addresses the fallacy of "re-balancing a portfolio". Again, Warren asks, why are you selling off your best company to buy a bunch of under-performing companies? Such a line of thinking is akin to saying "Michael Jordan takes too many shots and makes too much money relative to the other players on his team, so he should be traded to another team for three players so as to decrease the risk of an injury hurting the team... or we should give more shot opportunities to players of lesser talent so that the team doesn't become dependent on Michael Jordan to win." Nobody ever won an NBA Championship with run-of-the-mill players, but the Bulls won six NBA titles by relying on Michael Jordan.
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3.0 out of 5 stars If Hagstrom's so smart...why isn't he rich? March 17 2001
Format:Hardcover
I have always been fascinated by Warren Buffett ever since I heard about this character in Omaha who didn't even have a stock ticker his office but had remarkable results in Adam Smith's SUPERMONEY.
I read THE WARREN BUFFETT WAY with interest and watched with anticipation as Hagstrom launched Focus Trust as a means of replicating Buffett's success. Alas, after an initial doubling of value in the Bull market the fund has generally hovered around $20 and singularly failed to even come close to matching Buffetts track record.
Hence, I'm forced to agree that too much emphasis is on Buffett the stock picker and not enough on Buffett the Business and Management analyst. Look elsewhere.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Take It With A Grain of Salt Feb. 28 2001
Format:Hardcover
Don't get me wrong- I learned a lot of valuable lessons about investing from this book. However, I believe most people don't understand the true secret of Mr. Buffet's success, and that is his ability to buy influential stakes in large concerns that he understands thoroughly. Buffet is not the typical small investor who is trying to nickel and dime his way to riches. Far from this, he is a man who has a lot of cash behind him, and can wield that cash to obtain seats on the boards of promising companies. Once there, using a bit of common business sense and uncommon financial influence, he can effect positive change in a company (there may also be a few derivatives being bandied about to boot). None of us small investors can ever do that.
Like I said, I learned a lot from the book. Instead of telling me which stock to buy, the book offered me basic principles to guide me in my investment activity. The book also helped me to better understand my own financial behavior and accurately diagnose my investment temperament. It also gave me some very important pieces for a strong blueprint for successful investing. Three of the most important lessons that I took from this book are first, buy only those companies that you understand intuitively, second, be patient with your investments, and third, the most important lesson, never hesitate to buy into quality and transparency. The book also pointed me in the direction of other references that I believe are worth reading, such as John Burr Williams' Theory of Investment Value, Benjamin Graham's Security Analysis, B. Graham's Intelligent Investor, and Philip Fisher's Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Warren Buffett Portfolio---An Investment Gem Jan. 18 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Hagstrom's second book is outstanding, especially for anyone looking to develop and define a rational investment style and process for managing their own money. As a professional money manager, I have read many books on investing, and like to refer the better ones to my clients. This one would be at the top of my recommended list, because it is clearly written, logical in its approach (Hagstrom backs up the tenets of his "focused portfolio" approach to investing with good empirical data), and provides a consistent and rational framework for people to invest their money. Hagstrom advocates that investors own relatively few stocks (maybe 10-15), and concentrate their holdings in companies that have a high probability of enjoying financial success over the long term. He points out the risks of this approach (fewer stocks in a portfolio can result in higher than average portfolio volatility in the short run, which can be disconcerting to some investors), but also highlights the success that Buffett and other practicioners of a long term, focused approach have had historically. Hagstrom includes interesting discussions of the math underlying his strategy, and the psychological factors that predispose a person to embrace or reject the principles of investing he recommends. The beauty of the book, and the focused portfolio approach to investing, is that it is logical, supported by solid mathematical principles, makes sense intuitively, is relatively easy to apply, skews the odds of outstanding absolute and relative total returns in the investor's favor, and provides a solid framework against which to invest in a world that is fraught with risk and dominated by a media culture that probably hurts more individual investors it helps (CNBC, internet sites, mutual fund advertising, etc). Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Comment in book description is so untrue!
It says "It's no secret that most mutual funds fail to beat the performance of the S&P 500. Read more
Published on July 21 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, but "Buffettology" is Better.
I liked this book and I'd certainly recommend it. However, Mary Buffett's "Buffettology" is a much better book. Read more
Published on Oct. 1 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A Baron's reader response
I haven't read it yet, but purchased it after reading Eugene Baisch's letter to Baron's. He stated that "It's absolutely terrific". Read more
Published on July 24 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Great practical contribution to investment thought
There are many roads to wisdom and as one who wants to invest (not trade) intelligently I found this book to be invaluable. Read more
Published on June 5 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable to understanding how Buffett invests
I read Hagstrom's previous book, The Warren Buffett Way, years ago. This book taught me to apply Buffett's strategies in a whole portfolio -- in a way that is easy to learn and... Read more
Published on June 4 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't add much to the understanding of Warren Buffett
Don't get me wrong...the book isn't awful. It is just that it is more of a compilation of 3 sources of Buffett-isms and investment psychology than anything else. Read more
Published on June 1 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars Buffett Recommends Essays by Cunningham
Just to complete the theme of the recent reviews, Warren Buffett at the Berkshire annual meeting in 1998 recommended Cunningham's Essays of Warren Buffett as the book to read about... Read more
Published on May 11 1999
3.0 out of 5 stars Emphasizes the importance of a focused portfolio
.................................................
I am still half way through this book. But I must say that I was impressed by the author's arguments in favor of a focused... Read more
Published on May 10 1999 by Sira Sudhindranath
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