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Showing 1-9 of 9 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 12 reviews
on March 23, 2011
Peter Cundill, the subject of this book, took control of the All-Canadian Venture Fund in 1975 (which became the Cundill Value Fund), and over the next 33 years he averaged a compound annual rate of return of 15.2%. Put differently, $10,000 invested in Cundill's fund in 1975 grew to over $1 million during that time. The assets under his management in this fund jumped from about $8 million to $20 billion over the same time (obviously, there were inflows to the fund). That's significant, because keeping a very strong track record becomes progressively harder as the amount of money you are managing gets large. Cundill's success over such a long period of time is simply remarkable. Okay, so how did he do it? Please read on.

The title of this book is taken from a quote by value investor, Irving Kahn: "There's always something to do. You just have to look harder, be creative and a little flexible." That's a good description of the work process for any value investor, and it's an especially good description of what Peter Cundill did to earn his success.

Way back in 1968, a book titled "The Money Game" (about the go-go investing years during the 1960s) became a best seller. The book's author followed with another, not-quite-as-popular book, "Super Money." It was "Super Money" that 35-year-old investor Peter Cundill read during a plane trip in 1973. In that book, he read about Benjamin Graham's (and David Dodd's) classic book, "Securities Analysis," and after reading Graham and Dodd's book Cundill seriously took up in-depth value investing. Benjamin Graham had that kind of effect on people. Years earlier, a young Warren Buffett read Graham's "The Intelligent Investor," and remarked that "the scales fell from my eyes." (By the way, just about all of these books are still available, and they may rightfully be described as almost timeless.)

Basically, Cundill came to the realization that a stock isn't necessarily cheap simply because it has a low price-to-earnings ratio, a nice dividend yield or even a high growth rate. All these things may be good, but a stock is cheap when careful analysis of the company's balance sheet reveals that the stock's price is meaningfully lower than its intrinsic value. That's classic Graham-and-Dodd, margin-of-safety value investing, and it is what Cundill excelled at.

Although "There's Always Something to Do" is well-written by author Christopher Risso-Gill, one very interesting aspect of this book is its frequent quotes from Cundill's daily journal compiled over 45 years. Thus, the reader gets to hear directly from Cundill, and his at-the-time comments about buying ABC or selling XYZ stock are not filtered through after-the-fact 'analysis.'

This book covers most of the investment topics you would expect to read about a value investor, including a global search for value (like John Templeton was famous for), and a focus on unglamorous areas of investing (which is where values sometimes hide) like distressed corporate securities and defaulted sovereign debt.

Toward the end of this enjoyable book is a chapter that describes in some detail a number of the qualities that make for a great investor: insatiable curiosity, patience, concentration, attention to detail, independence of thought, humility and skepticism to name some. From personal experience, I would note that they are all easy to say and hard to do.

In short, this book represents an excellent addition to the library of anyone who is serious about value investing. One last thing: In 2006 Peter Cundill was diagnosed with Fragile X, a degenerative neurological disorder, and he passed away very recently (on January 24, 2011), at age 72. He will be missed.
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on March 7, 2011
Though Peter Cundill did not find the Benjamin Graham value approach until relatively later in his investment career, he found it nevertheless and was quite successful at the process once identified and mastered it quickly. What makes this book a worthy candidate for any investor's bookshelf is that Peter Cundill kept a daily journal for forty-five years which is used extensively in conjunction with the text. If you are mildly acquainted with the deep value 'margin-of-safety' process, this quote from his journal should sound familiar, 'be prepared to put money into anything, anywhere, provided that the downside is measurable and acceptable and the chances of a good profit appear to be better than 50%. I will not take gambles, but it is part of my job description to be ready to take very carefully calculated risks.' That is in essence, protect the downside first and the upside will usually take care of itself.

All in all, Peter's process of 'Buying a Dollar for Forty Cents' is a worthy addition to the investment community and to the margin of safety framework. As the potential reader can not search this book yet, a sample of the first few chapters are as follows: (twenty-two chapters in total)

Forward - By Prem Watsa (Fairfax Financial)
Chapter 1 - The Eureka Moment
Chapter 2 - Getting To First Base
Chapter 3 - Launching A Value Fund on Value Principles
Chapter 4 - Value Investments In Action
Chapter 5 - Going Global
Chapter 6 - Swapping Continents
Chapter 7 - A Decade of Success
Chapter 8 - New Dimensions
Chapter 9 - Investment Stratagems
Chapter 10 - Surviving a Crash
Chapter 11-22, Worthy Reading

Valuable References:
Security Analysis: Sixth Edition, Foreword by Warren Buffett (Security Analysis Prior Editions) by Graham & Dodd
The Aggressive Conservative Investor (Wiley Investment Classics) by Martin J. Whitman and Martin Shubik
Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings by Philip A. Fisher
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on July 24, 2013
This emphasizes the importance of keeping a journal of all your big decisions. It's a fascinating read to experience how Cundill developed as an investor and many lessons he learned are still so relevant today.
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on March 7, 2014
I have read a number of investment books in the past some good, some not so good. This rates right at the top. It is very well written. The book chronicles Peter Cundill's deep value journey from beginning to end. It was extremely entertaining and provided a well laid out investment process. Great investment book, one of the better reads out there.
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on July 1, 2013
Great book for investors. It's a unique book as it puts together real cases in different cycles. It shows how a real Value Investor has evolved trough the years with great discipline and patience.
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on June 26, 2013
There are some good lessons in this book but nothing new. Not worth the time if you've read other VI books before.
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on June 3, 2011
Thoroughly enjoyed the book. Amazing story. Amazing nerve. Amazing tenacity for the facts. Peter Cundill is an amazing man. I am so thankful for him sharing his story.
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on July 9, 2014
Stupid, self-serving garbage. Worst investing book since Dow 36,000.
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on February 17, 2014
Problem is Ive never heard of Cundill until a few notable investors (Watsa, Michael Price) mentioned this book. Do I care? Not really. What I was hoping to gain was insight into this investor's process, philosophy, typical work day. This book was really about a celebration of his life (an extended obituary). One of those books where you would have to skim through unless you're a die-hard fan. Nothing meaty or groundbreaking for a well-read value investor.
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