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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

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,086,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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1 Comment 29 of 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
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. This book ranks right there among them. In a clear, concise manner Mr. Ponzio takes the reader through the steps required to understand investing, value businesses, and purchase securities. Appropriate for beginning investors, but with valuable information for even the most seasoned- I highly recommend this book! If you are looking for a place to start learning about investing, purchase this book and Graham's Intelligent Investor. If you have read a ton of books about investing, you still need to read this book!
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Format: Paperback
If you still think that your broker or mutual fund has your best interest in mind, this book will be a wake-up call for you. The author states that these companies preach that in order to become wealthy and have a nice retirement, people need to save and invest. While this may be true, merely saving and investing does not get you there, unless your investments actually perform well. The author talks about how Wall Street want you to make just enough so they can keep your account, but they take the rest of the profit for themselves.

This book gives readers advice that Warren Buffett followed for years. Invest in stocks as if you were investing in businesses, not just ticker symbols. Value a business so that you know if you are getting a good deal buying a stock. I highly recommend this book to readers who want to take financial matters into their own hands.

- Mariusz Skonieczny, author of Why Are We So Clueless about the Stock Market? Learn how to invest your money, how to pick stocks, and how to make money in the stock market
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