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The Aggressive Conservative Investor Paperback – November 4, 2005
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From the Back Cover
"The Aggressive Conservative Investor will never go out of date. Regulation, disclosure, and other things may change, but the general approach and mindset to successful investing are timeless. Read this book and you will learn the rudiments of 'safe and cheap' investing. An essential read for every amateur and professional investor."
—Stan Garstka, Deputy Dean & Professor in the Practice of Faculty & Management, Yale School of Management
"Security analysis toward both better odds and higher long-term payoff: A readable, authoritative guide."
—Professor Bill Baumol, New York University
"In reading this book, one is struck by the simplicity of the ideas and the dependence of the investor on his own understandings of reality as opposed to the myths on the street. The updated version of this 1979 classic incorporates all the modern financial engineering that has occurred as a product of the late 20th century, and the new methodologies refine your abilities to measure risk but don't change the fundamentals of value. The updated version of The Aggressive Conservative Investor is very much a value-added proposition."
—Sam Zell, Chairman, Equity Group Investment LLC
"I concur with those people who regard Marty Whitman as the 'Dean of Value Investing.' This book is a must-read for everyone interested in understanding the art of investing."
—Melvin T. Stith, Dean, Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University
About the Author
Martin Shubik (Branford, CT) is the Seymour H. Knox Professor of Mathematical Institutional Economics at Yale University. He received his B.A. and M.S. degrees in Mathematics and Political Economy from the University of Toronto, and his Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University.
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Top Customer Reviews
In setting forth an investment philosophy, the book compares well with "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits" by Phil Fisher and "The Intelligent Investor" by Benjamen Graham (both recommended). Whereas Fisher emphasized growth companies and management analysis and Graham emphasized earnings, Whitman and Shubik emphasize low price/book ratios. They support their position quite ably with examples and , where available, studies.
The Aggressive Conservative Investor also contains a good bit of information about securities analysis. While it is not as in-depth as "Security Analysis" (the Graham and Dodd classic), the chapters on financial accounting and GAAP are a must read, particularly since the book convincingly demonstrates that the utility of financial statements will differ depending upon the position of the person reviewing them.
Whitman and Shubik are most certainly value investors who focus on analyzing a particular company (as compared to the market as a whole, interest rate trends, etc.), although they also cover "asset conversion investing," which may involve investing in distressed companies. They make an excellent argument that, in many cases, companies with unencumbered assets may make excellent investments.Read more ›
However, as some other reviewers have pointed out, this book is not your average investor book structured for easy reading with quick formulas. The book is for the more serious investor as its authors clearly state. For example, "In presenting our position, considerable space is devoted to describing the real world faced by both outsiders and insiders." Their point is that in understanding the viewpoints of both the insider, whether corporate management, the banker and/or financier, the directors, or the short-term trader, or that of the outside passive investor will help you along your way in understanding what may be happening in the market and why. Why? - because of the interested parties perspectives as they may temporarily have leverage over the other.
Though the book is a little more rough sailing because of this background perspective - to assist the future reader - (after reading the introduction) one may first want to start in Section 5 <Tools of Security Analysis>, then go back to the beginning and dig in a little more.Read more ›
So, I start looking around for my copy, and I can't find it. Arrrgh, I can guess what happened. I lent it out, I can't remember who I lent it to, but the borrower never gave it back to me. Annoyed at myself, I do notice a book that was just as good, The Aggressive Conservative Investor, by Marty Whitman and Martin Shubik. Even better, it is back in print, after being out of print for 20+ years.
So, what's so great about the book? (Most of this applies to both books.) Marty Whitman has a strong "What can go wrong" approach. He realizes that he, and most other investors, will be outside passive minority investors. We only ride on the bus. The inside active control investors drive the bus, and if we are going to make money with reasonable safety, we have to understand the motives of those that control the companies. They benefit somewhat disproportionately from control. They receive wages and benefits that other shareholders do not receive, can gain cheap outside financing, and limit tax exposures, in addition to other benefits.
Like me, Whitman doesn't care much for modern portfolio theory. More notable for a value investor, he has a few criticisms for the traditional "Graham-and-Dodd" type of value investing.
* Typically, it works best for "going concern" situations, and not situations where activism could be necessary to unlock value. (Though, Graham did do things like that in his career; he just didn't try to teach amateurs about it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Martin Whitman's "The Aggressive Conservative Investor" has valuable and not so valuable aspects - the book offers knowledge and experienced insight but, as others have... Read morePublished 2 months ago by JoelS
I bought this book curious about the "asset conversion" concept in relation to my own analytical work on M&A, spin-offs and other corporate transactions. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Virginia Mclean/Daniel Stillit
After finishing the book, still not quite what their investment process is, or if they even have one beside repeating the term "aggressive conservative investor" Process... Read morePublished on June 1, 2014 by Consumer 5
This book is shoddy academic criticism of Graham and Dodd. Having actually read Security Analysis, unlike Mr. Read morePublished on July 3, 2013 by Zack
I find many valueable methods in this book. It helps me alot when i need to keep my head calmPublished on February 11, 2013 by Nguyen Tien Quan
After hearing lots of ranting and raving about Marty Whitman, I decided to pick up a copy of this book. (From the library. Sorry Amazon! Read morePublished on January 19, 2013 by Brad D
Would recommend it to people who have already read some other investing books, like
The Guru Investor and The Intelligent Investor