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Customer Review

on March 8, 2003
If you believe - as I have always believed - that the value approach is inherently sound, workable and profitable, then devote yourself to that principle. Stick to it, and don't be led astray by Wall Street's fashions, illusions, and its constant chase after that fast dollar.
Investing is most intelligent when it is most businesslike. After all, you are neither right or wrong when the market disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right. True, there is safety in growth and some of us will go as far as to declare that there can be no real safety except in growth. But these sound to me like slogans than scientifically formulated and verified propositions. A case can be made for putting all your growth eggs in the best or relatively few best baskets.
If we assume that it is the habit of the market to overvalue common stocks which have been showing excellent growth or are glamorous for some other reason, it is logical to expect that it will undervalue - relatively, at least - companies that are out of favor because of unsatisfactory developments of a temporary nature. Focus on larger companies, for 2 reasons: First they have the resources in capital and brain power to carry them through adversity and back to a satisfactory earnings base. Second, the market is likely to respond with reasonable speed to any improvement shown.
Let me emphasize that it does not take a genius or even a superior talent to be successful as a value analyst. What it needs is, first, reasonably good intelligence; second, sound principles of operation; third, and most important, firmness of character.
Now, let me close with a few words of counsel from an 80-year-old veteran of many a bull and many a bear market. Do those things as analyst that you know you can do well, and only those things. If you're really good at picking stocks most likely to succeed in the next 12 months, base your work on that. If you can foretell the next important development in the technology, then concentrate on that activity, But in each case, you must prove yourself by honest, no-bluffing self examination and by continuous testing of performance that you have what it takes to produce worthwhile results.
[IF YOU GET THROUGH THE ABOVE YEARNING FOR MORE, THEN THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. IT CERTAINLY IS FOR ME - MUCH BETTER THAN BETAS AND SELF-PROFESSED EXPERTS THAT VANISHED WITH THE BULL]
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