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F Wall Street: Joe Ponzio's No-Nonsense Approach to Value Investing For the Rest of Us Paperback – Bargain Price, June 18, 2009


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About the Author

Joe Ponzio has seen the "dark side" of Wall Street. Having worked for two of the largest firms in the industry, he left the Wall Street titans in 2002 to found the Meridian Business Group, a successful portfolio management firm dedicated to performance, safety, and putting his money where his mouth is. Today, Mr. Ponzio manages individual portfolios as well as a private investment fund modeled after the early partnerships of Warren Buffett. His website FWallStreet.com is a popular value investing site and is a permanent link on CNBC.com's Warren Buffett Watch. He lives and works in Chicago, IL.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Adams Media; Original edition (June 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605500003
  • ASIN: B004KAB3WK
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #745,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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A very easy read.
Richard T. Serianni
I have read many books on investing; my favorites include Graham's Intelligent Investor and Security Analysis as well as Fisher's Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits.
Jonathan Watson
This is a great book for new and veteran investors.
IG

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Partlow on June 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm certainly glad that the somewhat objectionable title did not dissuade me from reading this book. The title comes from the author's contention that the brokerage and mutual fund industry is driven by their own greed. Thus, their focus is primarily on sales rather than what should be their objective, namely identifying good investment opportunities that will enhance our investment returns. Although I have no disagreement with this viewpoint, I'm pleased to report that a relatively small portion of the book is devoted to this topic. Most of the book is a practical guide to value investing.

The primary thesis can be summarized as follows: "So the key to making long-term gains in the stock market is simple. Figure out which companies will grow and buy them at a cheap price." It is easy to agree with such an objective, but how do we do that? What distinguishes this book from the myriad value-oriented investing books now available is the author's emphasis on the importance of analyzing a company's cash flow characteristics. This is a welcomed viewpoint that transcends the traditional value investor's financial ratios of P/E, P/B, and P/S.

The author describes how Warren Buffett utilized the cash flow concept of owner earnings since the mid-1980s, even years before the cash flow statement became a required corporate quarterly financial reporting document. The author uses Enron to demonstrate the desirability of analyzing cash flows in lieu of reported earnings. The two primary analysis tools espoused by the author are "Cash Yield" and "Buy-and-Hold Valuation". Historical examples using Johnson & Johnson, Coca Cola, and Microsoft are helpful in answering the when to buy? and when to sell? questions.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Rob Joseph on July 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Joe Ponzio's "F Wall Street" is a true achievement in clarity and investing wisdom. Over the past 14 years, I have read virtually every book or article or essay written by or about Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, and nothing captures the value-oriented, fundamentals driven "Focus Investing" approach of Buffett and Munger better than this well written and explained book. Ponzio, who fully gets the irony of his name being similar to the namesake of all pyramid schemes, knows of what he writes, having left high paying jobs on Wall Street disgusted with an industry that has lost any semblance of truly serving the average investor to start his own firm dedicated to providing honest, long-term financial advice to average and well-heeled investors.

Ponzio starts simple, explaining the integral parts of Buffett's "follow the cash" approach to screen truly good long-term businesses from weak ones, then goes on to nuts and bolts of how to properly value a business using discounted cash flow analysis -- all in accordance with Buffett and Munger's advice. He then goes on to analyze how to execute another favorite Buffett approach -- merger arbitrage or "workouts" -- in a way that makes this somewhat more advanced tactic accessible to the more ambitious individual investor.

What sets F Wall Street apart from other books is it's clear to read style, and its ability to boil down essential and somewhat complicated value-investing concepts into easy to understand principles -- much like Buffett himself in his annual letters to shareholders. But Ponzio is not just another commentator -- he is a true practitioner of Buffett's art, with a comparatively short-term (a few years) but so far impressive results in his portfolio based on the approaches espoused in the book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. Goodell on October 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, I should start off this review by stating something that is plainly obvious. The successful investor is a person who has the ability to think independently, and one who evaluates the merits of a potential investment from the facts and figures, coming up with an investment rationale that is logical and the product of his or her own original analysis. The investor succeeds based upon whether his or her individual reasoning and logic is valid, not whether he or she followed the correct steps, followed the crowd or used a specific formula to value what the stock is supposedly worth.

From reading F Wall Street, I get the sense that Joe is one of these rational, independent-minded investors. He understands the standpoint of value investing in a modern sense, as advocated by Buffett and others such as Glenn Greenberg, meaning that he evaluates businesses for what they are worth "alive", as profit-producing engines that create long-term wealth. This was refreshing, because most of the literature out in the market today either comes from a Graham and Dodd "what is it worth dead on the table?"/liquidation value philosophy (which doesn't help those wanting to learn how to go about investing in good businesses at good prices), or from academics such as Bruce Greenwald or Joel Greenblatt who advocate methodologies that do not cut to understanding the buying and selling of equities as a business, but as statistical phenomena that produce profits through the evaluation of formula and ancillary criteria. Not that what they have to say is invalid, but it is as if they have all of the pieces here and there but do not put them together to build a complete understanding.
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