Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings: 40 Paperback – 29 August 2003
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"...these updated classics are packed with investment wisdom..." (What Investment, November 2003)
From the Back Cover
"You will find lots of jewels in these pages that may do as much for you as they have for me."
from the Introduction by Kenneth L. Fisher Forbes columnist
Widely respected and admired, Philip Fisher is among the most influential investors of all time. His investment philosophies, introduced almost forty years ago, are not only studied and applied by today's finance professionals, but are also regarded by many as gospel. He recorded these philosophies in Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, a book considered invaluable reading when it was first published in 1958, and a must-read today.
Acclaim for Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits
"I sought out Phil Fisher after reading his Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits...When I met him, I was impressed by the man as by his ideas. A thorough understanding of the business, obtained by using Phil's techniques...enables one to make intelligent investment commitments."
"Little known to the public, rarely interviewed and accepting few clients, Philip Fisher is nevertheless read and studied by most thoughtful investment professionals . . . everyone will profit from ponderingas Warren Buffett has donethe investment principles Fisher espouses."
James W. Michaels Editor, Forbes
"My own copy [of Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits] has underlinings and marginal thoughts throughout."
John Train author of Dance of the Money Bees
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Basically, in this book are about 250 pages.
The book worths every penny. The parasites who wrote "preface" and "introduction" are not.
Fisher also addresses what a good business should have. I have 10 years of investing experience before I read this book. In my opinion this book should work as a guideline to develop our own investing philosophies (and not our philosophy itself). There are no one size fits all strategy in the investing world the magic frmula works for Buffett but he is one in a million. This book drives home the point - especially for the novice - that investing (rather than speculating) is not easy and is a complex process. Being emotionless and keeping disciplined with one's approach can allow for gains and success as a disciplined investor.
The book itself is quite old, so some circumstances considered by Mr. Fisher may be obsolete (cold war), but I'd say that most of the content is quite timeless. Especially Mr. Fisher's recipe for a good analysis of long-term growth investment opportunity (the process is referred to as scuttlebutt).
As for contents of the book, I see 3 distinct areas:
1. Very detailed description of scuttlebutt method (the most valuable part, in my opinion),
2. Mr. Fisher's insights when considering particular circumstances connected with investing,
3. The last chapter is a step-by-step guide on how to be Mr. Fisher (or work like him at least).
Mr. Fisher's style is quite formal but restrained in the wording. For me, it was a perfect read.
Notwithstanding the hype evidenced on the book covers and the introduction by the author's son, a highly-regarded and well-known investment manager, the author has credentials that money cannot buy. That would be fifty years of being a successful , professional, private investment manager. In this book, he will bring that experience into play as well focusing on factors that are not covered by the mainstream financial media, or as he refers to them as "the financial community. "
Here are some basic concepts that that the author will cover in his treatise: He will differentiate between a stock trader and stock investor; He will analyze what to buy and when to buy it; He will explain the movement of stocks in general or of a particular stock; He will argue the merits whether to follow the herd or to do otherwise; He will advise you whether to concentrate on intrinsic or extrinsic factors in evaluating a firm's stock; He will give you his opinion of the value of reading reports of the financial community.
Here are three key questions that he will pose and answer: Should you buy cheap or otherwise? How long should you hold on to hold a stock? When should a stock be sold? The author will provide you with his views on the value of historical prices and earnings. He will correlate stock prices with interest rates. The closest the author will come to using numbers is when he lists his fifteen points of what to look for in buying a common stock. And after listing those points, he will highlight that one point that will override the other fourteen points in not buying the stock. In fact, that one point could very well summarize the book in a single word.
As a reader, you will not get buried in a landslide of financial trivia but will learn general techniques and trends of investment analysis that often aren't considered by the statistically-oriented investors. However, in order to glean these gems of intrinisic stock information, you will have to have to forgo charts, illustrations, tables, and financial data commonly presented in stock analysis.