i would acually give this 700 page tome 4 and a half stars, but there isnt a button for that.
this book is a very useable, inspiring and thought provoking investment guide. it was produced out of half a centuarys worth of trial, error and sucess by an unquestionably cleaver man. should someone interested in stocks read it? yes, proably.
for a book claiming to be for the 'layman' this book doesent give some of its secrets up easily. now im not an idiot (ha ha) but there were places in the book where i was reading the words but could come up with no meaning for the sentences. but i found it got easier to understand as i went on, perhaps it just takes a while to get used to grahams style. some, but not all, of the tables have been described by other reviewers a 'user unfriendly'. i wouldnt disagree.
enough of the bad, whats good?
graham really knew how to asses the financial health of a buisness and how to calculate its value. his 'value' and 'margin of safty' ideas are common sence writ large. his phlegmatic approach helps the investor to keep an even keel whilst navigating the stormy seas of the stock markets waves of irration optimism and pessimism.
some reviewers have criticised jason zwiegs footnotes and chapter summeries, but for me they were exelent and nessary. i can only guess that critics object to having new text interpolated in to what they, understandably, consider to be a perfect and complet work. but zweig helps to make to book more current and fills in a few areas where graham gave a less than satisfactory explination.
also one last thing, warren buffets little story at the end is brilliantly amusing and also very encouraging.
in sum, this book is full of gold; but be perpared to dig for it.