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Deep Value: Why Activist Investors and Other Contrarians Battle for Control of Losing Corporations (Wiley Finance) 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1118747964
ISBN-10: 1118747968
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"If You're A Pro On Wall Street Just Shut Up And Read This Book."
"Here's your book for the fall if you're on global Wall Street. It's an incredibly smart, dense, 213 pages. It's your Autumn smart read."
-Bloomberg's Tom Keene

From the Inside Flap

Deep Value offers investors an authoritative exploration of the philosophy of deep value investment. Written by Tobias Carlisle—an active value investor and the well-known blogger at greenbackd.com—this important resource describes the evolution of the various theories of intrinsic value and activist investment from Benjamin Graham to Warren Buffett to Carl Icahn and beyond. Filled with engaging anecdotes and meticulous research, the book illustrates the principles and strategies of deep value investing and examines the counterintuitive idea behind its extraordinary performance. Deep Value is a practical guide that reveals little-known valuation metrics that activist investors and other contrarians use to identify attractive, asymmetric investment opportunities with limited downside and enormous upside.

Tobias Carlisle presents an insider’s perspective on valuation and activism in a format that is accessible to both professional and general investors. The value investment philosophy as first described by Benjamin Graham initially identified targets by their discount to liquidation value. This approach has proven extremely effective; however, those opportunities have all but disappeared from the modern stock market. To succeed, today’s deep value investors have adapted Graham’s philosophy, embracing its spirit while pushing beyond its confines. In Deep Value, Carlisle examines Graham’s 80-year-old intellectual legacy using modern statistical techniques to offer a penetrating and highly original perspective: that losing stocks—those in crisis with apparently failing businesses and uncertain futures—offer unusually favorable investment prospects. As the author demonstrates, the evidence reveals an axiomatic truth about investing: investors aren’t rewarded for picking winners; they’re rewarded for uncovering mispricings.

Deep Value shows the place to look for mispricings—in calamity, among the unloved, the ignored, the neglected, the shunned, and the feared.

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Product Details

  • Series: Wiley Finance
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118747968
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118747964
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Most investing books are essentially marketing material about how the author buys companies that are not only cheap, but also high-quality and low-risk. Oh and the company has growth potential too! And the chairman of the board isn't a man, he's a unicorn! It drives me crazy because I'm dying to learn something, and all these books do is say, "This is important, and so is this, this and this." The problem is: when you stress the importance of everything, you stress the importance of nothing.

But Carlisle's book doesn't do any of that. Neither does his blog. Unlike most people writing about the subject of value investing, Carlisle prioritizes. He says in no uncertain terms that, for example, value beats growth and value beats quality, and then he presents the evidence. I may not agree 100% with every conclusion he draws, but at least he actually SAYS something. Which is wonderful because it gets you thinking and at its very best, it gets you to refine your thinking. That, I think, for most of us is half the joy of investing.

As a long-time reader of Carlisle's blog Greenbackd, I saw his new book on the site and decided to give it a try. I wound up finishing it in a day. His previous book was about value investing in a systematic, quantitative way, a subject I find endlessly fascinating. This one focuses far more on the other side of the value investing spectrum: special situations. (Greenbackd readers will find there's a decent amount of backtesting and historical analysis in the book.)

As someone who did special sits before getting into more quantitative value investing, I thought the chapters and Icahn, Graham and Buffett were riveting. It reminded me how much fun it can be to get into the guts of a company.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book that starts with a simple premise: buy stocks at a fraction of the per share intrinsic value of the company, conservatively calculated. Neat idea, huh, and it is called value investing.

The author starts by giving a preview of where he will end -- with Carl Icahn when he was much younger, where he was buying closed-end funds at large discounts, and pressuring managers to liquidate the fund. Eventually he started doing the same with overcapitalized companies trading a discount to the net worth of the company.

Then the author takes us on a trip through history, starting with Ben Graham buying the shares of companies at prices lower than the net liquid assets of the company, net of the debt. It was easy money while it lasted, but eventually many of those companies were bought up and liquidated, and many of the rest had the stock price bid up until the value was no longer compelling.

Then we get to travel along with Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, who note that the easy pickings are gone, and begin investing in companies that are inexpensive relative to their growth prospects. This is more complicated, because these companies must have an advantage that will sustain their effort versus their competition.

Then we visit Joel Greenblatt, where he analyzes buying good companies at cheap prices, analyzing them the way an acquirer might do, but also looking for high returns on invested capital. Lo, but it works, and furthers the efforts of those trying to obtain excess returns.

Then the book gets gritty, and looks at mean reversion of companies that have done poorly over the last four years. Surprise! The worst tend to do quite well on average.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am glad I picked up Deep Value by Tobias Carlisle.

Not since David Dreman's, "Contrarian Investment Strategies - The Next Generation" that I read in the late '90's, have I read such an important and interesting book on value investing. Yes, Deep Value by Tobias E. Carlisle is that good!

I'm a quantitative or empirical minded guy. I like tables. I absolutely LOVE "What Works on Wall Street" (any edition!). I can read performance tables all day. It is rare for a book like Deep Value, that is absolutely full of individual stories and their market adventures; to hold my attention. Deep Value did. The stories are a lot of fun and incredibly purposeful - making the point of the chapter. Tobias' writing is amazingly good. I guess that shouldn't be too surprising (he is an active blogger after all on his greenbackd.com site). Nonetheless, the writing talent struck me. It's also rare these days for me to finish a book (and I love reading)...at least without (a) skimming through at least some parts or (b) buying and starting another book part way through. With Deep Value, I read every word of every page from start to finish! I had that sense of joy you get when you are reading a book that you know is a new favourite, along with that sad feeling when you get to the end and just wished there was a bit more. Not that there was a need for more...the author is extremely thorough with his topic.

Another rarity for a book like this...on the one hand you get a fun read and a lot of insights and lessons learned. But (and this is for the empirical minded like myself)...on the other hand, every single claim is backed up by research. The various conclusions in this book are NOT simply the opinions of the author. You get the evidence.
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