on October 15, 2008
This is a re-issue of the 2nd edition in more modern form. There's no need to talk about the content and importance of this book to value-investor. But some reminder concerning this edition: 1) It is an abridged edition of the original 2nd edition (published in 1940). A total of 10 chapters have been deleted. 2) The Appendix Notes was also deleted. That's why the publisher could keep the pages at around 700+ something. 3) In compensation for the missing chapters, the publisher has attached a CD which contained the pdf format of the original 2nd edition (with 52 complete chapters as well as the Notes). I think that's really the most valuable part of this edition. That why I commented that it's a more convenient version of the 2nd edition.
on January 29, 2015
This book was made famous by Warren Buffet, but you probably already know that. Will it teach you to invest like Warren? Yes, the fundamentals are there and so are the valuation techniques. In today's rough and tumble world, it's hard to say that it still applies. On a very basic level, yes it does.
Security Analysis: The Classic 1934, has been dubbed as an endless source of insight when it comes to investing. Written by two gurus- Benjamin Graham and David Dood this book will awaken the sleeping investor in anyone. Knowing that they taught Warren Buffet his technique has made them famous in the financial world.
The book was written in 1934 just 5 years after the collapse of the stock market in 1929, and right about the time of the Glass-Steagel Act which changed the ethics of the stock market and how they were regulated. Benjamin’s idea was to teach people about the basics of investment by providing insights of what one should look out for in a business that they wish to invest in. Can you get through all these 725 pages? Yes you can, but it will not be an easy read like the Hunger Games.
If you do get through it, you will possess a book written nearly 8 decades ago that has sage insights. You will learn of a framework to follow before rushing into any investment. Also, you will be able to discern a business that looks profitable but in hindsight it is clutching on straws and in the verge of bankruptcy. After reading this book, you will have learned the basic philosophy and principles of investment in the stock market. You will be equally equipped with the tools (mostly analytical and philosophical) that will help you make decisions regarding investments. The difference between investment and speculation, discussion and analysis are all outlined. The reason it is important to know these differences is because the business segment during news time never explain them and so is school. Benjamin will make you understand the meaning of these and other terms his book in a very practical manner.
Warren Buffet was Benjamin’s student and if not for anything else, this alone should serve as a motivation for anyone to take up this book and read it. Be warned though, the book has no single picture and it’s a big book. Luckily for us the book has no filler words and everything written in the book makes a lot of sense which is interesting. There are also other editions of this book, but this particular edition retains all the ‘Old Ben’s’ teachings which is why it is worth every dime. The book is also not a get rich quick scheme. The book only provides insight on what the real investment market looks like and the decisions you should make before making an investment and hence the name of the book-‘Security Analysis’.
If you have ever been duped into making an investment or sheepishly following the crowd to make an investment that turned out to be fake, then grab a cup of coffee and be educated by this man Benjamin Graham and his co-author David Dood, all who seem to have travelled to the future as this book is still very relevant.
on February 8, 2010
As other reviewers have pointed out, this (sixth) edition of Security Analysis includes a reprint of the popular 1940 edition (Warren Buffett's favorite), minus some chapters. The deleted chapters, which can be found in the CD that accompanies the book, make room for (new) general introductory remarks to this edition and also to the eight major parts of the book, written by a variety of modern commentators. If all you really want is the 1940 edition, then the better choice for you is probably to buy the currently in-print reprint that's available (for a lower cost that this sixth edition). You could also buy one of the books actually printed back in 1940, but that will set you back big bucks, because original versions of Security Analysis are collectors' items today. For example, a good copy of the first printing of the 1934 edition easily runs into five figures.
Concerning the 1940 edition (or just the 1940 chapters contained in this sixth version), other than for the references to corporate examples from the 1920s or 1930s, the content is amazingly relevant to today's investing. I had read Security Analysis (the fourth edition) many years ago, and I had forgotten just how clear, precise, insightful and truly sophisticated Graham and Dodd were. Remarkably, in many instances this 1940 edition does a better job describing 21st century investing issues than the majority of material written today.
What you get with this sixth edition that's not available in the other editions are a short (two page) foreword by Warren Buffett and 10 essays by some of the most well-regarded modern investors and authors. Indeed, it was an honor to be asked to contribute to the sixth edition. The essays run about 15 pages, on average, and many of them are highly informative and useful. Those written by Seth Klarman, James Grant, Roger Lowenstein and Bruce Berkowitz were my favorites. As good as they are, though, they basically provide useful insights and more modern applications, rather than plow much new intellectual ground. It's hard to improve much on Graham and Dodd, even after 70 years. If that seems hard to believe, read the book and see for yourself. Finally, if you haven't already read the 1940 edition, which book should you buy--a 1940 reprint or this sixth edition? My choice is the sixth edition.
on June 29, 2011
The 6th edition is the 2nd edition minus 10 chapters and the very valuable and data rich appendix however with new introductory chapters by various value investors. Although the introductory chapters are enlightening and somewhat informative, I would rather have had the valuable appendix. I wish they could have made the introductory chapters less lengthy and still included the appendix. I felt that many of the introductions although informative were rather windy at times and could have been reduced significantly and still gotten the point across. I know the appendix is on the CD, but that is a pain in the butt to have to look something up on CD as you're reading the book. It would be nice to just flip to the back quick to reference something up as you are reading. Honestly, if I had to do it over again and choose only 1 edition, I would have purchased the more practical and full text 2nd edition.
on April 14, 2001
At first glance, Security Analysis - one shy of 700 single spaced pages without a single picture other than a smiling Mr. Graham on the cover - appears not for the faint of heart. Inside, however, lies the single greatest book on investing ever written, which remains remarkably readable, insightful and timely nearly seven decades after its first edition. Graham, a successful investor in his own right, was also a highly effective and influential teacher (one of his students named Warren Buffett has done quite well), and his methods and language are refreshingly clear and (believe it or not) concise. The length of the book is due to the breadth of its content, not to any wordiness or unnecessary diversions.
Graham (and his collaborator Dodd) meticulously and methodically builds a framework for the analysis and decision-making necessary for truly good investment decisions. Step-by-step, they lay out a general approach and philosophy for investment (as quite distinct from mere speculation) followed by the systematic analysis of fixed income, convertible and equity securities (i.e., bonds, converts/preferreds, stocks); a detailed discussion of financial statements; and a description of certain underlying differences between the intrinsic value of a business and its fluctuating stock price. As a result, the reader emerges with a solid philosophy and approach for his or her own investments and the analytical tools to make actual buying and selling decisions.
This book is neither a get-rich-quick scheme nor an empty academic exercise. Graham does not set out to justify or theorize about the market. Instead, he sets out to counsel the student on the profitable investment in individual securities. Security Analysis contains dozens of case studies and lessons that are just as relevant today as in the post-1929 aftermath, including particularly misleading technical analyses, dangerous justifications for the valuations placed on hot new companies and the dilutive effects of stock options. As other reviewers have noted, Graham has been a towering figure in Finance, influencing Warren Buffett and countless other successful investors, and yet the lessons contained in this book are repeatedly ignored by far greater numbers of individuals and professional investors. The methodologies and rationale for justifying dot-com and telecom valuations in recent years, for example, are strikingly similar to the new stock issues Wall Street marketed (and people bought) just as eagerly in the late 1920's.
The book does show its age in some respects. While the principles underlying Security Analysis are completely sound today, there have been important changes in the market as well, such as the pervasive use of stock options as compensation, the unprecedented access to information (useful or otherwise) enabled by the Web, the heightened awareness around corporate governance issues (and the resulting influence of large institutional shareholders, such as pension funds) and the spectacular growth in mergers and acquisitions, which has at the very least added layers of accounting complexity. In addition, Graham relies perhaps too heavily on seeking out unpopular bargain issues based on asset value. In today's environment, and partly as a result of accounting limitations, companies are driven as much by knowledge intensity as by asset intensity. A strict Graham approach may preclude considering promising companies whose value lies primarily in intangibles not captured on the balance sheet, such as in the form of brands (Coca Cola), distribution process (Dell) or market position (Microsoft).
As a result, I recommend the following books as enhancements to the core principles articulated in Security Analysis:
* The Intelligent Investor - Written by Graham in the early 1970's with some assistance from his former student Buffett, he adds several decades of wisdom and experience, including greater discussion of technology companies, mutual funds and market cycles.
* The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America - A kind of Greatest Hits of Buffett's essays, primarily drawn from his annual Berkshire Hathaway letters to shareholders, this is an extremely useful, funny and brilliant collection spanning a wide range of corporate finance, investment and general business thought. His commentary on some of Graham's key concepts, such as Mr. Market and Margin of Safety, combined with his own current, real-life case studies and innovations make this a must-read.
* Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits - Philip Fisher was, according to Buffett, his second greatest influence after Graham, and this book fills in much of the qualitative analysis of businesses that the analytical Graham places relatively less emphasis on. Fisher is particularly keen on analyzing companies which rely heavily on R&D and new products to generate continuous growth.
on November 26, 2008
To anyone who is reading this, Security Analysis is one of the greatest works ever written. In my opinion, you don't have time NOT to read it.
Of course, you shouldn't take every single idea written in any book, even the best, as the absolute truth. You should read Philip Fisher, William Nickerson, Adam Smith, John Burr Williams, John Bogle, Douglas Andrew, and so on, and take all the gems from each book, no matter how small (or how many), and piece together your own method of creating wealth. Don't be a sheep, be a sheperd, and put together your own flock.
That being said, read Security Analysis, and read it well. Highlight important points, draw arrows, create charts and diagrams representing key points.
Master this material.
You owe it to yourself. If you want to be an expert investor, you will put in this amount of effort in every book you read, especially the greatest works, like Security Analysis. You won't get rich by half-assing. This book is a priceless gem, and, although it may take several months of reading and research to understand its concepts, it will be well worth your while.
on August 23, 2010
If you're an investor and haven't read security analysis, you really should. First, it is chalk full of very helpful information that is the only resource you need to understand investments. Sometimes it is dated but even then the history lesson is important. For instance, you will definitely be prepared for the next "idiot bubble" in the parlance of Charlie Munger because the book examines overvalued stocks and bonds with real examples. You definitely would never fall into the "real estate values have never declined" fallacy if you had the rudimentary understanding of history this book provides. So, all and all this book is a must read for serious investors.
So the material for this book is obviously five star... but I'm quite upset with the missing chapters and appendix. I don't think we need the additional commentary from respected value investors if chapters are missing. I had to read the missing chapters in .pdf on my Kindle DX which is sort of annoying. It would be forgivable if all the chapters we completely out of date but only the one on options was totally obsolete. So, the lack of a complete book was irritating.
I bought the book on the Kindle and in hardback. Get the hardback if you can afford it. It just looks better with all the tables.
on February 19, 2003
Someone wrote reviews to this book indicating that the major downside to it is its age. The book was written in 1934 therefore it misses all the modern developments of finance - modern portfolio theory for example - and all the new techniques that Wall Street "experts" use today.
As an answer I give an anecdote from Warren Buffett's life:
When stock investments started to become popular, the volume increased ten fold, and the modern techniques to make a profit were developed, Warren Buffet was extremely worried. He remembered what happened in 1929. He loathed the new trends in investment that tried to predict the future price of a stock. Therefore he had a meeting with all his fellow Graham students, he expressly forbid to bring anything newer than the 1934 edition of Security Analysis.
This happened decades ago, but history repeats. We all know what happened 3 years ago. We all know how "experts" thought that the market was booming, and how they let it crash. We all know how they made a profit on the money that private investors lost.
Nowadays when I go shopping for a book I always look at the date of pubblication, if it is between 1997 and 2000 I'm very wary. All those books about "new economy", "digital era", "e-commerce", "dot coms", etc. have to be taken with the maximum attention. Usually they contain a lot of inflated ideas that as we look at what happened after they were written we understand how much those "experts" really understand about stock investments.
If they were wrong then, why should they be righ now?
Trust me, but more importantly, trust Graham, trust Buffett, (those that have been consistently right for 50 years) this is the book to buy, "anything newer looks suspicious."
on May 4, 2009
While it is convenient to have a lot of Security Analysis on Kindle, I am disappointed that whole chapters are removed from the book and that, for Kindle readers, there is no CD with PDF filed included that one can refer to (these are referred to multiple times in the text).
Again, handy to have much of this great book on Kindle, but you are not getting the whole book, so it is a rip off for $42.00.
on April 7, 2007
My star rating is for the 1934 edition, but this review may appear for other editions of the book.
The 1934 edition came out before the creation of the SEC and deals with a lot of accounting irregularities that are not such a problem today. I suggest you buy a newer edition.
Some people seem to have a preference for the 1940 edition. The 1951 edition was the first one written after the Great Depression, so it dealt with businesses in a more normal economic environment. The 1962 edition was the last written directly by Graham and Dodd, but it is currently unavailable. The 1988 edition is the most recent edition of Security Analysis, but it was updated by other authors years after Graham had died. The 1988 edition is the one currently used as a textbook for Columbia University's Security Analysis course.
Update: Since I wrote my review, the sixth edition of this book has been published. Apparently, it is essentially the 1940 edition with commentary from some of today's most notable value investors.