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Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings (Wiley Investment Classics) Paperback – June 7, 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Regarded as one of the pioneers of modern investment theory, Philip A. Fisher's investment principles are studied and used by contemporary finance professionals including Warren Buffett. Fisher was the first to consider a stock's worth in terms of potential growth instead of just price trends and absolute value. His principles espouse identifying long-term growth stocks and their emerging value as opposed to choosing short-term trades for initial profit. First published in 1958, this investment classic is considered a must-read as the foundation for many of today's popular investment beliefs.

From the Inside Flap

Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings by Philip A. Fisher Hailed by Forbes magazine as "one of the seminal figures of modern investment thinking," and a "giant" by investment wizard Warren Buffett, Philip Fisher is one of the most influential investors of all time. Admired for his investment success, he is even more widely respected for his sound investment philosophies—philosophies that have withstood the test of almost forty years and that are regarded as gospel by the investors of today. These principles and theories were introduced by Fisher in Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits. Initially published in 1958, it is today considered an invaluable reference for investment success. Now, for the first time, a new, single edition brings this timeless classic together with the investment wisdom and insight offered in Fisher’s other acclaimed writings—Conservative Investors Sleep Well and Developing an Investment Philosophy. As the first to consider a stock’s worth in terms of potential growth rather than price trends and absolute value, Fisher laid the foundation for many of today’s popular investment beliefs. His principles of selecting long-term growth stocks for their emerging value over short-term trades for initial profit continue to be studied and applied by today’s top finance professionals. In Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, Fisher shares his philosophy, offering valuable insights into the most fundamental and important aspects of buying and selling stock. Here are solid guidelines on when and what to buy, sound reasons for selling common stock, as well as critical information on profit margins and dividends. There is also Fisher’s famous list of Top-Ten "Don’ts" for investors, complete with warnings against buying into promotional companies, over-stressing diversification, following the crowd, and buying stock just for the "tone" of its annual report. As an ideal complement to Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, Conservative Investors Sleep Well and Developing an Investment Philosophy explore, respectively, the myriad intricacies of conservative investments and the genesis of Fisher’s unique philosophy. Both selections offer further insight into the wisdom of this great investor. As indispensable today as when they were first published, these classic writings provide keys to investment success which every investor will relish. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Wiley Investment Classics (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (June 7, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047111927X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471119272
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When you have read Benjamin Graham analysing current ratios and balance sheets until you have decided that stock picking can be done by computer then (and only then) is it time to read Phillip Fisher.

Phillip Fisher searches for "growth stocks", companies with superlative management (superior sales force, superior research and development, clear focus on the business) and he holds their stocks FOREVER.

You can read this book and find not a single substantive mention of balance sheets, solvency, current ratios or any of the other things that most seasoned stock pickers rely on. Instead you find tips for analysing the scuttlebutt that you hear about a company and for testing whether management cuts the mustard. Thirteen or so of the "Fifteen Points" in the second chapter are worth the purchase price of the book and more.

These points summarise as:

* The management are technical geniuses.
* The management know how to milk the existing business, and
* The management resist the institutional imperative.

Unlike Phillip Fisher however, I am not sure the management need to be technical geniuses. Indeed Phillip Fisher's notion of what constitutes a growth stock is quite narrow. He is almost obsessive about research and development. New products are to him the major determinant of growth. He would never have picked Coca-Cola or McDonalds as growth stocks because their product is not technically innovative. Yet a reader of Phillip Fisher may have picked these stocks. They pass the bulk of Fisher's fifteen points with flying colours. Just making hamburgers is not making Silicon chips.
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By A Customer on March 31, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This book is a classic in the investment field. Fisher is
acknowledged as one of Warren Buffet's intellectual
fathers and it shows. However - like many books on Buffett -
Fisher's approach relies on the ability of the individual
to spend large amounts of time researching companies and
stocks. While this minimizes the risk of investing badly,
it also assumes that picking stocks is your life.

I recommend that anyone interested in investing read this
text as an example of how to think about companies in which
to invest. However, be prepared that it won't be as directly
usuable as, say, the writings of Peter Lynch.
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Format: Paperback
I've not heard of the name "Philip Fisher" in my entire school years (4 yrs Undergrad. b-school & 2 yrs MBA) even I've been majoring in Finance. The "fundamental" approach in investing, as opposed to looking at a "beta", has been so ignored by the academica as it's "not objective enough" or that it has no math involved. Indeed, the book is 95% art & 5% science, and there're no certain ways to pick up the technique. However, the book makes so much sense to me that I had to read it twice. The principles are sound and stand through the test of time. Most investing books disappear after a few years, and this one is still as good. Some of the techniques are hard to put into practice such as "getting to know the management" and "investigate the competitors", but this book lets you know that selecting an outstanding long term investment involves more homeworks than most people are willing to do nowaday. The tradeoff btw. "easy money" and risk always exists even in today's stockmarket most people don't know what kind of risk they're undertaking.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fisher's book should be 1/2 your investment library; the otherhalf should be Ben Graham's ``The Intelligent Investor''. WarrenBuffet, the world's most successful investor, describes himself as ``85% Graham, 15% Fisher.''
Fisher explains the qualitative side to value investing, just as Graham explains the quantitative side. You really need both. If you follow Graham's advice insensitively, then you will find stocks which are selling cheap--because the company is truly in trouble. That's where Fisher comes in: you should examine low-priced companies from Fisher's perspective to find the ones which truly are bargains.
... Online discussions are no substitute for firsthand discussion with employees, competitors, etc. You simply can't meet enough people online; some companies' employees aren't even on the Internet. ... you will end up investing only in tech stocks--which I would consider extremely short-sighted.
On the other hand, online discussion is considerably better than nothing. Don't neglect the information you can find online! This source of information will become increasingly important over time.
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Format: Paperback
There are only two books you will ever need to read to become a good investor. One of them is Graham's "The Intelligent Investor" (or better, Graham and Dodd's "Security Analysis"). The other is Philip Fisher's "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits".
It is telling that the man who combines the investment philosophies of both Graham and Fisher is widely acclaimed as the most brilliant investor alive today, Warren Buffet.
This is a book that you shouldn't just read once. It's a book you should read again and again. This is a book that you should read in cycles. Once you finish, you should read it again. It's short enough that you can read a chapter each night. This is a book that you should read until you can recite it word for word.
If you understand the principles in this book, and adhere stringently to Fisher's 15-point checklist for buying stocks, avoid his 10 don'ts, and purchase stocks at the right time, as he suggested how to do, you will almost certainly be investing in good companies.
If you then apply Graham's tests of value, you can avoid paying too much for those good companies. It is possible to have a good company but a bad stock (IBM is a great company today, and passes all of Fisher's criteria, but could you really justify buying it say $1,000 per share?).
When you do find companies that are good companies, but have bad stocks, keep an eye on them. What I mean by "bad stock" is that the stock -- in your opinion -- is priced too highly, even considering the company's excellent growth prospects (in other words, there is euphoria about it on Wallstreet that goes beyond reason). Eventually, the market will realize that, even for that great company, it was paying too much.
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