October 20, 2012
Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond (Wiley Finance)
From the "guru to Wall Street's gurus" comes the fundamental techniques of value investing and their applications
Bruce Greenwald is one of the leading authorities on value investing. Some of the savviest people on Wall Street have taken his Columbia Business School executive education course on the subject. Now this dynamic and popular teacher, with some colleagues, reveals the fundamental principles of value investing, the one investment technique that has proven itself consistently over time. After covering general techniques of value investing, the book proceeds to illustrate their applications through profiles of Warren Buffett, Michael Price, Mario Gabellio, and other successful value investors. A number of case studies highlight the techniques in practice.
Bruce C. N. Greenwald (New York, NY) is the Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management at Columbia University. Judd Kahn, PhD (New York, NY), is a member of Morningside Value Investors. Paul D. Sonkin (New York, NY) is the investment manager of the Hummingbird Value Fund. Michael van Biema (New York, NY) is an Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University.
- File Size: 3579 KB
- Print Length: 316 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (June 14, 2001)
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000YIWF4C
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- X-Ray: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
Value Investing in the 21st Century
I think the authors’ Earnings Power Value (EPV) approach to valuing a company is cutting edge. (Basically EPV is a rehash of Enterprise Value.) Most investors tend to value stocks based on P/E ratios – only looking at equity in a company. However, the proper way to value a company is to look at its whole capital structure – Debt, Equity & Cash. EPV is a much better tool than the P/E ratio for calculating whether a company is undervalued.
The second part of the book that profiles a half dozen or so successful value investors is interesting. It illustrates there are many different ways to execute a value oriented approach. The profiles do not give any hard cut rules that each investor follows, but it does give you a general idea. (I have been successful at applying some of the ideas in managing my own account.) The only flaw of the profiles is the lack of any type of track record. It would have been helpful to list the year-by-year returns for each investor compared to an index. (i.e. S&P 500 Index)
Overall, it’s a great book and it deserves a spot behind Ben Graham’s Security Analysis and Intelligent Investor.
Successful, Long-Term Paths to Outperforming the Averages!
If you believe that the stock market is totally efficient (current prices accurately discount everything that is or could be known about the company to accurately price a company’s securities), you will think this book is irrelevant. If you think that stock prices normally over or under value a company’s worth, you will find this book fascinating.
If you want to have a decent chance of learning how to outperform indexed mutual funds, this book is one of a handful that can help you. The methods and investors outlined in this book have successfully beaten the market averages for decades. So whether you try to do apply the concepts for yourself, or have your money invested by one of these top value investment managers, value investing is a discipline that can help you achieve superior investing results.
In some of the many back tests run in recent years to test for market efficiency concerning stock prices, simply buying stocks with low price/earnings and price/book ratios proved to outperform the market averages. More thoughtful stock-picking can do even better.
But the ideas in this book are far more important than that. Value Investing shows the many ways that situations where securities are underpriced can be found and exploited. The masters of this approach do a lot of fundamental homework, and look carefully from several different perspectives.
Many people identify value investing with Benjamin Graham and the early Warren Buffett. This book expands that perspective by also profiling Mario Gabelli, Glenn Greenberg, Robert Heilbrunn, Seth Klarman, Michael Price, Water and Edwin Schloss, and Paul Sonkin. You will find out about how they were educated, the value disciplines they have used, their long-term track records, and how they differ from one another.
You should realize that value investing is above-all an intellectual and cross-checking exercise (a bit like chess), far removed from emotion of day-trading and the thrills of following trading momentum. You need to be patient. Years can pass without any good opportunities arising. You will often sell stocks far before their ultimate peak. So you will have to think about how well the psychology of the careful hunter with one bullet in your rifle matches the way you like to do things. One of the hardest things to accommodate is that your results will look worst when everyone else is picking up easy money, mindlessly, by running with the herd of rampaging bulls.
As helpful as this book is, Value Investing has a number of weaknesses. First, new investors will probably get a little lost in the discussions. The authors usually begin at a level of understanding that people who have attended business school have. Second, you will find it hard to run down more details on concepts you don’t quite get. Third, you will get a flavor of what each investor has done . . . but not the full detail. So, think of this as a wine tasting. If you find some styles you like, plan to do more reading and studying. Fourth, if you were only taught the investing creed according to efficient markets, you will probably wonder what all the fuss is about. The book could have used more references to the new research that challenges the assumptions built into CAPM (the Capital Asset Pricing Model).
In your personal life, do you ever find it rewarding to get a great bargain on something of value that you care about? If so, value investing may be for you. The sense of satisfaction is similar, and the financial rewards can be greater.
Be cautious as you apply any investing method to outperform the market averages. Limit the size of your potential losses until you have fully developed your skill.
Look carefully, think . . . and be skeptical! There are many people trying to make the future seem rosier than it will be.
Serves as Both a Great Primer & Also a Great Idea Generator
Greenwald et.al. show a terrific aptitude for remaining informal and conversational while maintaining brevity and orderliness. Neophytes are unlikely to encounter a clearer, more concise explanation of `discounting future cash flows’, and most students of value investing will be well-served by Greenwald’s order of equity valuation: (1) Asset Value, (2) Earnings Power, (3) Growth, all of which are clearly explained. Additionally, Greenwald discusses a useful addition to common metrics such as `net asset value’ and `liquidation value’ with the concept of `replacement cost’. Greenwald also acknowledges and thoughtfully attempts to quantify the value investor’s less traditionally acknowledged principle of `franchise value’, which he judiciously attributes to Warren Buffett as the latter’s singular contribution to investment analysis.
The book’s admirable brevity is also its primary shortcoming. Whereas Graham included senior debt and convertible debt vehicles both in Security Analysis and in his investment practices, this text is for all practical purposes only an examination of equities. If the authors of “Value Investing” ever opt to write about a value approach to bonds and other instruments, I’ll bet they’d have a captive audience.
Best Investing Course in Print
All Value Investors Will Want To Read
Chapter 3 discussing the “Three Slices of Value” is the highlight of the book. The book is very readable – and unlike many similar texts has a good blend of the conceptual with quantitative examples. For those that have already read extensively in this area the second part of the book on famous value investors will be going over old ground.
From time to time the book raises concepts such as “Enterprise Value” and “Dividend Discount Model” with little or no explanation which could leave the novice reader frustrated. The book also leaves few clues about further resources that the reader might tap to dig even deeper into the topic.
Despite these negatives a great addition to my library which I have already gone back to for reference purposes.
Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond
An Excellent Addition
Educational and full of insight
Good book about value investing
I was somewhat disappointed in some of the math since I found some errors, for example on pg 139 of my edition, the formula for PV contains an error.
The Earnings Power Value seems to be useful for some situations, but not in all cases — I think that point is covered in the book, yet so much time is devoted to EPV.
Even with some rough spots, this book will indeed help me in my investing walk.