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The Little Book That Builds Wealth: The Knockout Formula for Finding Great Investments Hardcover – March 3, 2008


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The Little Book That Builds Wealth: The Knockout Formula for Finding Great Investments + The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing: Morningstar's Guide to Building Wealth and Winning in the Market
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 126 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047022651X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470226513
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.2 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A detailed exploration of Warren Buffet's "wide economic moat" concept - how to find companies with a true in-built competitive advantage." (Financial Times, Tues 26th February)

"Pat Dorsey...discusses in an easy to read style why economic moats are such great indicators of long term performance." (Pensions World, October 2008)

From the Inside Flap

To make money in today's dynamic market environment, you need to invest in companies that will perform in the face of sustained competitive pressure. But how can you accurately identify companies that are great today and likely to remain great for many years to come?

The answer to this question lies in competitive advantages, or economic moats. Just as moats were dug around medieval castles to keep the opposition at bay, economic moats protect the high returns on capital enjoyed by the world's best companies. If you can identify companies that have moats, and you can purchase their shares at reasonable prices, you'll begin to build a portfolio of solid businesses that will improve your odds of doing well in the stock market.

In The Little Book That Builds Wealth, author Pat Dorsey—the Director of Equity Research for leading independent investment research provider Morningstar, Inc.—outlines this proven approach and reveals how you can effectively apply it to your own investments. Step by step, Dorsey discusses why economic moats are such strong indicators of great long-term investments and examines four of their most common sources: intangible assets, cost advantages, customer-switching costs, and network economics. After establishing a firm understanding of moats, Dorsey shows you how to recognize moats that are eroding, the key role that industry structure plays in creating competitive advantage, and how management can create (as well as destroy) moats.

Along the way, Dorsey provides an informative overview of valuation—because even a wide-moat company will be a poor investment if you pay too much for its shares—and illustrates the issues addressed through case studies that apply competitive analysis to some well-known companies.

Although the moat concept is not a new one—it was made famous by Warren Buffett—the modern-day investor can benefit from what it has to offer. With The Little Book That Builds Wealth as your guide, you'll quickly discover why moats should be an integral part of your analytical investment toolkit and learn how to leverage this approach to build a portfolio of high-performance stocks.


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Digest this book and you will develop a solid foundation for making smart investing decisions.
Jusuf Hariman
The use of excellent examples and a very down-to-earth (typical of the Little book series) discussion style makes this book an easy and useful read.
Sreeram Ramakrishnan
Would absolutely recommend this book to any one interested in value investing & basics of understanding the business.
Ganesh Raao

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 130 people found the following review helpful By Maverick on April 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Becoming an investor who can quite regularly beat a broad based index (e.g. S&P 500) is near impossible. Just ask two of the most famous investors ever: John Bogle of Vanguard (who wrote his own "Little Book" warning investors to stay away from anything but low cost index funds) and Warren Buffett (of Berkshire Hathaway who also recommends index funds for the average investor). They point out that numerous studies show professional money managers (mutual funds) fail to beat the index funds they set out to beat time and time again--and trying to find the few mutual funds that will beat the index is close to a fool's errand. And when regular folks try to pick individual stocks, the results are even worse. Unfortunately, there is one problem with index fund investing: it's boring. Very boring. Moreover, we, for better or worse (worse in the case of investing in capital markets), don't like to be "average" and index fund investing by definition will only yield "average" results.

So investors try very hard to be more than average. And they start by buying books like this one.

This is where Dorsey comes in. He borrows Warren Buffett's now famous concept of 'moats', which is just another term for a structural competitive advantage of a business, and shows his readers how to find them, evaluate them, and then use them to make a profit by investing in individual stocks. Dorsey's game plan is straightforward: find a great business with a moat and buy it only you can get it for less than it's intrinsically worth. The book is well-organized, uses plain-written language and is easily understandable; Dorsey's categories of different moats are well thought out and he provides multiple examples in each moat category.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Sreeram Ramakrishnan VINE VOICE on February 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a remarkably pithy discussion on what constitutes a "real" moat - competitive advantage that is sustainable. Regular readers/subscribers(like myself)of Morningstar products are already familiar with Morningstar's views on the importance of picking companies with moats for long term investing. This book essentially distills all such discussions into a very quick guide on "how to find good investments that can build wealth?". The use of excellent examples and a very down-to-earth (typical of the Little book series) discussion style makes this book an easy and useful read. Prospective readers need to be warned on two aspects - unlike the other books in the series (value investing, growth investing, etc.) this book doesn't have a specific "formula" but more a discipline on stock selection. (to borrow a cliche'd expression, the book aims to provide a method to fish than a fish itself). Secondly, regular Morningstar readers will be hard pressed to find anything new in these discussions in this book. For them, The Five Rules for Successful Stock Investing: Morningstar's Guide to Building Wealth and Winning in the Market may be more useful. For readers just being introduced to Morningstar and its approach, both books are solid additions to a patient investor's library. You can round out that collection with The Ultimate Dividend Playbook: Income, Insight and Independence for Today's Investor.

Overall, an easy read that gives very worthwhile discussion on identifying companies with sustainable advantage (and how to identify traps in perceiving incorrectly the existence of such an advantage).
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By James East VINE VOICE on March 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The "Little Book" series is turning out to be both educational and must have for the investor's book shelf. Though the others are noteworthy on their own, one could argue that this 5th installment in the series is the best to date.

The four (4) items above are what the book's main theme is about and one of the better books presently out there outlining what a moat is and which puts it all in perspective with real concrete examples, or maybe the only book that does! In addition, in Chapter 2 we learn up front what is often confused as a moat but which is not, like great products, or a strong market share, plus others. Just because a company has a great product, one should not conclude that it is a great company with a competitive advantage as that would be a mistake.

Other good chapters like Chapter 8 help determine if your moat is eroding, or Chapter 12 on what a moat is worth. Also included are valuation discussions which are good, but have been covered by Benjamin Graham or the 2nd series installment in The Little Book of Value Investing by Christopher Browne. Irrespective, good reading throughout.

As Adam Smith pointed out the importance of the division of labor and that the widening of the markets encourage technological innovation, in the ever progressing investment and business world of creative destruction, one must have a comparative advantage to survive and prosper for long periods of time. Also like Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger transitioned from investing in "cigar butts" to paying up for value to take advantage of the longer lasting power of this comparative advantage, this book goes into more details of what makes up and constitutes that advantage in what most now commonly call "moat", as in, "to protect the castle."

All in, a worthy addition to any serious investor's book shelf and a big thanks to Pat and to the supporting Morningstar team. Well done!
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