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A Must for Every Investor's Library
on April 17, 2004
I first read this book over ten years ago, and like the other reviewers, I too found it a difficult read. When I first read it, I thought the advice was somewhat impractical for the small time investor (try to imagine calling Bill Gates asking him what he thought of Steve Jobs' company). Graham's security analysis was much easier for the little guy investor to apply. Yet Fisher's techniques were and are used by the big time investors ( most notably Peter Lynch, and though I don't think he gives Fisher enough credit, Warren Buffett). Even the rankings of "Top CEOs" by Forbes, Businessweek, Fortune etc. was based on Graham's security analysis. Then came the corporate scandals of the 1990's, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and Elliott Spitzer of New York and now the little guy investor can apply Fisher's theory of investing. Fortune Magazine's CEO ranking has as much to do about corporate governance as it does with security analysis. There are websites devoted entirely to corporate governance. The Institutional Shareholder Service was created solely to act as a corporate governance watchdog. I recently re-read Common Stocks. It's still a difficult read and you can't read it in one day or even in one week. It's a book that you have to read and re-read to get the most out of it. The most useful chapters for an investor are Chapter 3 "What to Buy: the fifteen points to look for in a common stock", Chapter 8 "Five Don'ts for Investors, and Chapter 9 " Five More Don'ts for Investors." Fisher's Common Stocks and Graham's the Intelligent Investor are the two basic building blocks that every investor must master to be succesful in the stock market.