- Series: Columbia Business School Publishing
- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press (July 8, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0231162448
- ISBN-13: 978-0231162449
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,039,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Nature of Value: How to Invest in the Adaptive Economy (Columbia Business School Publishing) Hardcover – July 8, 2014
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"Nick Gogerty has done a phenomenal job of developing and clarifying economic value when it comes to equity investing. His book incorporates new thinking about the economy as a dynamically evolving, complex, adaptive system. Gogerty introduces new ways to apply these concepts on the granular scale of the firm. This book will certainly enhance the reader's ability to make good investments and is a must-read for any thoughtful investor."--Guy Spier, Managing Partner, Aquamarine Capital,
author of The Education of a Value Investor
...It is impossible to read this book and not think about how it applies to your own business. ...I have a raft of notes that I think will be of value to my consulting clients... ...You don't have to agree with Gogerty's points to get benefit from the ecological perspective... The ideas are straightforward, but multilayered, deep, and important. This is a book I will re-read, refer to, and think about for years to come. Tom Brakke researchpuzzle.com/blog/2014/06/11/the-nature-of-value/
From the Inside Flap
USING EVOLUTION as the template to understand
growth, The Nature of Value takes a firstprinciples
approach to explore the parallels
between economic and ecological systems. Not
only does Gogerty show how value is born out
of tiny sparks of adaptive innovation, but he
also explores the full scope of the economy as
a complex network. He borrows from an array of
disciplines--including anthropology, psychology,
ecology, physics, sociology, and ethics--and,
most revealing of all, examines how evolution's
processes can help investors avoid risk and
improve their allocation decisions.
Starting with a look at how innovation creates
value for firms, Gogerty considers the economic
niches where companies compete and explores
how they can create defensive moats to enhance
their ability to survive. Throughout the book,
Gogerty demonstrates how this ecological understanding
of the economy can help allocators
improve their performance, supporting his arguments
with extensive data and years of practitioner
experience from scientific, social, and economic
disciplines. Gogerty's practical takeaways,
couched in vivid explanations and accompanied
by intuitive illustrations, help investors of all
backgrounds gain fresh insight into the behavior
of corporations and the economy in general.
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I will have to review my notes for this information to stick. Even then I am not sure I can see the world the same way.
Ultimately I think the read was worthwhile for altering my mental models but be prepared to work for it.
Like in The Origin of Wealth: The Radical Remaking of Economics and What it Means for Business and Society, the author's premise is that the economy is an adaptive system undergoing the same changes as species in the natural environment. Personally, I like the approach in the current book because it is less pretentious. However, it is also less detailed.
The key topic of the book is how to find companies with a competitive advantage. Following Warren Buffett, the author calls it moats, but it is nothing but competitive advantage - taught in all business schools and described in Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, just to mention one 34 year old book. The author has some interesting reflections, but he is also needlessly trying to reinvent the wheel by not building on this literature. This is common in the finance industry. Here is another book doing the same mistake Why Moats Matter: The Morningstar Approach to Stock Investing. In contrast, Greenwald's Competition Demystified: A Radically Simplified Approach to Business Strategy does build on the academic literature. Have a look at all books if you are serious. Personally, I would go with Greenwald's book if I had to choose. Greenwald is Gogerty minus the biological evolution metaphors and plus more detailed knowledge.
The author is not an academic, but he writes in a "teaching" style. He does not write with an authoritative voice. Instead he refers to other books and tries to weave a pattern of understanding. In contrast, an academic would refer to articles in a more narrow domain and then add some unique content. There are advantages with both approaches, but in this particular case the author pulls it off fairly well. Since he is an outsider, even some academics might find the book's perspective interesting.
UPDATE: I've have some time to reflect and I will lower the rating to two stars. The main reason is that the book is mostly a rehash. I'm almost allergic to people bringing up WalMart, HomeDepot and Cisco as positive examples. Sure these companies had glorious days 10-20 years ago. But it is sloppy to use them as illustrations today. So what I find missing in this book is at least ten recent, interesting examples of the ideas presented in the book. Then there would also be some "skin in the game" for the author.