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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beating the Street
This is one of the "must read" books for anyone wanting to invest well, and gets 5 stars for that reason only. It is by and about Lynch and his legendary carreer @ Fidelity's Magellan Fund, and the period Lynch knocked the cover off the ball hitting home run after home run for a long string of years.

How did he do it? Well, several other reviews point out the...
Published on September 13, 2004 by Amazon Customer

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184 of 196 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars They chatted about the mountains
I wrote this review in the hope that you'll avoid the mistake I made.

I bought (and read) in reverse chronological order the first two books Mr. Peter Lynch wrote, "One Up On Wall Street" and "Beating The Street". I got "Beating The Street" before "One Up" because I have been misled by a favourable review of this book made by a well-known financial internet...
Published on February 17, 2005 by Giancarlo Nicoli


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184 of 196 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars They chatted about the mountains, February 17, 2005
By 
Giancarlo Nicoli "Pharmacist and Publisher" (Appiano Gentile, close to Como Lake, Italy) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beating the Street (Paperback)
I wrote this review in the hope that you'll avoid the mistake I made.

I bought (and read) in reverse chronological order the first two books Mr. Peter Lynch wrote, "One Up On Wall Street" and "Beating The Street". I got "Beating The Street" before "One Up" because I have been misled by a favourable review of this book made by a well-known financial internet site (maybe they make money out of every book they help to sell?).

Imagine you have written an excellent book and you have sold one million copies of it. What would you do after that? Would your publisher push you to write another one? Wouldn't you write again to try and repeat the success?

I think this is what happened to Mr. Lynch. He wrote "One Up On Wall Street", which is an excellent book indeed (I published a few weeks ago a review of this book, where I explain why I warmly recommend it) and he sold over one million copies of it.

"Beating The Street" is, I presume, an attempt to profit from the success of the first book.

Problem is, "One Up" is a masterpiece: it explains very well Mr. Lynch's proven investing philosophy and methods. If so, what else to publish in a later book?

While "One Up" is a book that explains and recommends strategies, i.e. tells how to successfully pick winning stocks, "Beating The Street" is actually a book that picks stocks for you.

Remember, this book has been published in 1993. I believe it is easy to understand that, after so many years, the then cheaply valued companies recommended by Mr. Lynch may be fairly valued, overvalued, no longer in business, or taken private by now.

In my opinion, "Beating The Street" is now a poor and completely out of date book.

Here's an excerpt (from page 206 - ISBN 0-671-89163-4):

"I talked to Glacier (Bancorp) the day after Christmas. I'd come into my office in Boston wearing plaid pants and a sweatshirt. The building was empty except for me and the security guard.

(...) whoever answered the phone at Glacier Bancorp in Kalispell told me they were having a retirement party for one of the officers, but they'd inform chairman Charles Mercord that I called. They must have dragged him out of the party, because a few minutes later Mercord called me back.

Asking a president or a CEO about a company's earnings is a ticklish proposition. You're not going to get anywhere by blurting out, 'What are you going to earn next year?' First you have to establish rapport. We chatted about the mountains.(...)

My only worry was that Glacier may have overpaid for its acquisition, a topic I approached obliquely. 'I assume you had to pay over book value for this,' I said, inviting Glacier's president to admit the worst. But no, Glacier hadn't overpaid.

(...) I never hang up on a source without asking: what other companies do you most admire? (...) I've found many good stocks this way."

Well, apart that the well-known SEC-enforced "Regulation Full Disclosure" (Reg FD - not existent at the time Mr. Lynch wrote his book) now forbids analysts to talk privately about business matters with companies' officials, I'm not sure any of you would be able to pick up the telephone and have a nice conversation the day after Christmas with any CEOs, wouldn't you?

I estimated that, if every buyer of those one million copies "One Up" sold were to call Glacier Bancorp, the CEO would have to spend over nine years talking to the telephone (one million 5-minutes calls, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year...).

Save your money and get "One Up On Wall Street" instead.
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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beating the Street, September 13, 2004
This review is from: Beating the Street (Paperback)
This is one of the "must read" books for anyone wanting to invest well, and gets 5 stars for that reason only. It is by and about Lynch and his legendary carreer @ Fidelity's Magellan Fund, and the period Lynch knocked the cover off the ball hitting home run after home run for a long string of years.

How did he do it? Well, several other reviews point out the difficulty of extracting Lynch's secret formula, and they rightly describe the lack of formulaic presentation. If there was a fabulous book on Lynch instead of this autobiographical one, I might put it on the "must read" list instead. There is not (yet, maybe Lowenstein will grace us with one?). However, too many fail in investing by looking for instant-coffee recipies that any boob can implement from the couch. If it was that simple, everyone would be rich. Success takes work and in-depth understanding of some, probably simple, strategies that ordinary investors can learn. In fact, investors who focus on fundamentals of the sort described by Lynch, & stay tuned out of the frenetic trading centers' "action," are likely to increase chances of success. The real beauty of Lynch's book is the myriad of different strategies, one or a few of which each of us can learn and implement as our investing "sweet spot."

Lynch covers a series of investment decisions in some detail. The detail is not uniform from company to company, position to position, making comparison of his formula difficult between investments. And he does not summarize his formula anywhere in the book. This oversight (which may be intentional to more quickly drop the instant-coffee addicts) leaves it up to the reader to digest the material and extract the essential focus of the master. I suggest a relaxed, 3 part method to do the extraction:

1) read the whole book (its easy reading), then set it down for a week or so.

2) read it a second time, pencil or highlighter in hand, and mark where you spot formulaic focus you can implement.

3) read it again in 6 months or a year, and repeat #2. This time around, with the aging of the first 2 readings, you will be surprised at how the formulae stand out. You will "see" more of what Lynch describes, and take your understanding of the master's strategic vision to a new and satisfying level. Not all examples will give the same level of insight to the master's strategies, so don't strain to make Lynch's magic stand out on every page. It is really only about what you can see & replicate. Even one good trick, well understood, will be worth the effort for your invesment results. If you can find 2 or 3 good tricks, like I did, you are on your way to richer success.

I have read this book at least 5 times (so far), and I get a firmer understanding of Lynch's myriad strategies each time. As a master of the game, and with a mountainous pile of cash demanding a high yield, Lynch needed many strategies to keep out-distancing all the averages. He did just that. Although a cookbook would be easier to put into use, it probably wouldn't work as well, as it wouldn't require depth of understanding. Patience is the key to implementing this important work.

Beating the Street stands among others on the "must-read" list:

~ The Intelligent Investor, Benjamin Graham (ignore the mathematical formula, but savor the stuff on perspective & margin of safety; another book that should be re-read periodically),

~ Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, Phil Fisher (ditto on the re-reading),

~ Conservative Investors Sleep Well, also by Fisher; out of print so watch here on Amazon for a clean used copy,

~ Buffett, the Making of an American Capitalist, Roger Lowenstein

~ The essays of Warren Buffet: Lessons for Corporate America, Buffett & Cunningham (great compendium of Buffett's own analysis of corporate governance, accounting and other issues investors need to watch),

~ When Genius Failed, the Rise & Fall of Long Term Capital Management, Roger Lowenstein. This is the sort of post-mortem on investing mistakes that every investor needs to guard against, and all the more important because it was a cadre of smart guys who lost their butts,

~ academic papers of Terrance Odean & Brad Barber, finance professors @ UC Berkeley & UC Davis, respectively, see their websites for links to papers about investor mistakes to avoid.

Good Luck on the Street!
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123 of 144 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware - easy reading & some learning but lots of fluf, February 28, 2002
This review is from: Beating the Street (Paperback)
Having worked on Wall Street I think this book is great and poor at the same time.
Great because
1) It is ideal to read for the casual to serious investor.
2) Some of Lynch's prominent themes like "Buy what you know" and investigating the companies that you buy are great strategies, especially for non-professionals.
3) He walks you through his thought process on numerous stocks in several industries, highlighting mistakes as well as successes. I found his various rules of thumb with respect to each industry (retail, restaurants, cyclicals) helpful
I say it is poor because Lynch himself used to buy and sell stocks frequently. So while he says "buy and hold" he did that, but he also traded the heck out of stocks he knew inside and out. When they got expensive, he would trim his position and when something got really cheap he would buy the heck out of it. This enabled him to compound his returns by a phenomenal amount
Lynch primarily invested in retail stocks. This was great as brand names and the "homogenization" of retail concepts via chain stores was sweeping the nation with the baby boom wave. However, most of that "easy money" was made along time ago. Current baby boom themes of biotech, health care, along with some financial service industry stuff is tougher to make money at and it doesn't grow as fast as retail. Well, biotech can but it is far riskier.
Lynch never talks about debt. The U.S. economy expanded in the 80's due to 1) heavy government spending, which created a huge national debt (2) consumer spending a ton of money and going into debt and (3) the entrepreneurial spirit. The government actually funded a lot of the developments we see today. The problem with this is that they have mortgaged the future to pay for past wealth creation. He never once mentions the impact of debt. It is great while you are charging the credit card up and enjoying the ride but eventually you have to pay the bills!
Lynch spends a lot of time telling the reader how he went about picking stocks for his Magellan Fund, but he has the ability to talk to CEO's and visit companies on site headquarters, something the average investor certainly does not have. I would say though that Reg FD has made the playing field more even, as now nobody gets a lot of information!
My thoughts on stock picking, having worked in the financial service industry for 3 years in research (got out because my values didn't correlate with the business) is that no one should expect to beat the pros unless they are 1) very observant and 2) willing to commit time to finding new investment concepts/vehicles.
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58 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you lust for stocks and lust for money, Lynch will help, June 11, 2000
By 
Bernard M. Patten "Book worm" (Seabrook, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beating the Street (Paperback)
My profession is writing, but my business is investing. With over 50 years of experience in the stock market and having made millions, I think I know what's up. Not only is this book definitive on stock picking, it is also fun and easy to read and the author's humanity comes right through. And the core message that you can do better than the fund managers (for a variety of reasons) is, from my own experience, true. Try Lynch's system: What worked for him, might work for you. Oh yes, by the way, this book is mainly a repeat and better version of his previous work and represents a more masterful and confident telling of the ways to beat the street.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars GOOD, BUT NOT GREAT LIKE 'ONE UP ON WALL STREET', May 16, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Beating the Street (Paperback)
The first half of this book picks up where his previous (and much better work) One Up on Wall Street left off. About half way through though Lynch veers off and rambles on and on about SNLS and other obscure stocks thereby abandoning his "buy what you know" theory (unless, of course you are an investment banker and probably wouldn't need this book). A big letdown after loving his first book. Difficult to get through after first half. Better to re-read OUOWS again.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy for you to say, December 30, 2003
This review is from: Beating the Street (Paperback)
Lynch's story is a good account of how a top performing mutual fund manager (better than 25% a year over 13 years) accomplishes a superior track record, but it's a poor how-to manual for the individual investor. Unfortunately, you will not have the access to all the brokers, analysts, and CEOs that Lynch had by merely picking up the phone. Also, most investors do not have his knowledge of finance and business practice intricacies. Thus, his advice has to be taken with this in mind. Still, he's something of a genius and you can benefit from his experience.
His insight into why mutual fund ownership is not a good way to invest (due to philosophy, fees, size, past performance ratings, etc.) is timely advice today in light of recent revelations exposed by NY Attorney General Elliott Spitzer. But his best argument against investing in mutual funds has to be, "You never know where the next great opportunity will be, so don't get stuck in a fund that won't take advantage of it." The good thing about Lynch is that not only does he believe money can be made in the stock market year in and year out, but he's also proven it. It's just too bad that approximating his record the way he recommends is a real stretch.
His "buy what you know" and "check out the local malls" makes profitable investing sound easier than it really is. Just because your local clothier is prospering doesn't mean the store in the same chain 3000 miles away is also doing a bang-up business or that corporate headquarters has got its head on straight.
One area that I wished he'd commented on more was point of entry - when to buy. He talked a lot about liking a stock but missing out on it until it had already rallied a goodly percent. The old adage in Wall Street says "I'd rather buy a bad stock at a good price than a good stock at a bad price." Translation: Every stock has an optimum entry point and if you miss it, you shouldn't chase it. Find another gem. He doesn't seem to agree. He's looking for his "10 baggers." Stocks that appreciate 1000%. He does stress that the long term stock market return is somewhere around 8% - something we all forgot in the late 90s. So that means there aren't that many 10 baggers around.
Another weakness is his dependence on company reported earnings growth. We've just been through enough scandals to educate us to the fact that "earnings" frequently can be whatever someone wants them to be.
The last half of the book gets bogged down in his thought processes as he finds, researches, and picks his big winners. The mental work is revealing and does have merit in learning how good stock pickers think, but again, it's not something an individual investor can master as easily as Lynch makes it out to be. Remember, he admits he retired early because of too many 24/7s on the job, whereas the individual investor has to work with what can be easily and accurately obtained.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Themes, Nothing Revolutionary, December 28, 2000
By 
Bruce C. Erb (White Plains, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beating the Street (Paperback)
This is a good book to read for the casual to serious investor. Some of Lynch's prominent themes like "Buy what you know" and investigating the companies that you buy are great reinforcement. However, if you expect to read this book and come away with the ability to pick stocks a will that will make money, you won't. Lynch spends a lot of time telling the reader how he went about picking stocks for his Magellan Fund, but he has the ability to talk to CEO's and visit companies on site headquarters, something the average investor certainly does not have. To be honest, the second half of the book gets boring and you don't take much away from it but some basic common sense themes. I would reccomend this book to enhance your overall knowledge, but don't expect anything you haven't ever heard before.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as "one up on wall street", October 11, 2000
This review is from: Beating the Street (Paperback)
I have to say that Lynch's ealier book is a better reading, as it detail more of his matters of picking stocks.
In this book, nothing new is introduced beside trying to get the average investor to invest more wisely in mutual funds. I really think that Lynch should actually discuss more on the technical aspect of his stock picking matters.
My advice to other readers - Do not waste your money if you already had a copy of "one up on wall street".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Lynch Shares More of His Expertise..., December 26, 2005
By 
Bruce Gilliz (Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beating the Street (Paperback)
When Peter S. Lynch speaks, wise investors will listen. This book covers the famous fund manager's career at the helm of Fidelity Magellan from 1977 to '90, and post career into '92. It's far more introspective than "One Up On Wall Street" and it was no doubt meant to be for this purpose. For example, there isn't nearly as much fundamental principles for stock picking outlined in this book as the former. My belief is that the reader would do best by reading "One Up On Wall Street" first and follow up with this title, as its the newer of the two, regardless.

Peter's style of writing (with John Rothchild) is no-nonsense and easy to take in. To my knowledge three books have been published by the duo and all three have been entertaining and never dry. The reader can comfortably take in some very important stock-picking principles from one of the greats without feeling intimidated at any point. I think this is a sign of a well written book that covers a topic that isn't child's play (unless you like playing with money).

And although this book doesn't cover nearly as much technical information as the first, it still offers a lot of tasty tidbits for stock pickers. I made plenty of notes while reading "Beating The Street", and I'm confident that I'll be well served by doing so. Peter reiterates many of the guidelines he mentioned in his first best-seller, such as scrutinizing company earnings and the balance sheets, and he gives his wise opinion of picking bargain stocks that have lower P/Es than their growth rates.

Overall, this title definitely deserves four stars, and his first book deserves at least five stars. Lynch and Rothchild have authored several investing books that will stand the test of time. You'll sleep better with your investment decisions by having these valuable classics in your collection.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good starter, September 3, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Beating the Street (Paperback)
This book explains ivesting in layman terms. Which is good for starters. It also tells you how to evaluate stocks without having to read a dictonary. Great sound advice from the best fund manager in history.
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Beating the Street
Beating the Street by Peter Lynch (Paperback - May 25, 1994)
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