Saturday, November 7, 2009

Book Review : Benjamin Graham on Investing

Reading an author 's early writing allows us to see juvenile attempts at expressing a message more fully developed in that author's later works. Having read through the Intelligent Investor and Security Analysis a few times, reading Benjamin Graham on Investing was an interesting opportunity to do just this.


Rodney Klein has put together a collection of early writings from Benjamin Graham pulled from a selection of shorter magazine articles by Graham dating from the period 1917-1927. Chapters include such topics as: Valuation of Great Northern Oil Certificates, and Is United Drug Cheap at 53?

What we see in these early works is an author struggling to find the right words to express a concept so eloquently birthed later in the Intelligent Investor. The readings are interesting, less in their content, but more in the way the magazine format forces Graham to be conscience in his message. With Security Analysis filling some 600 pages and the Intelligent investor some 500 more these short articles force Graham to compress and deliver in a format more akin to a university term paper than any of his other literary works.

The book serves another purpose, it shows Graham's principals in action. While his later works speak more to the principals of value investing here were see examples of Graham getting down to brass tax and applying some of the valuation techniques he actual used on a daily basis. If Security Analysis and The Intelligent Investor are the theory of value investing then this book brings us face to face with some practical analysis.

This book is an adequate read appropriate for those who are anxious to learn more about Graham and his early works. If you are looking for a fresh perspective on the issue you won't find much that isn't covered in later works though. This book doesn't quite hit the mark for the beginning reader as some of the context of the words are lost if the reader doesn't understand Graham's overall goals. All in all though a good weekend read if you want to see the father of value investing in action.

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