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The Zulu Principle: Making Extraordinary Profits from Ordinary Shares Paperback – 6 May 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Texere; 1st edition (6 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075281012X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752810126
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 18.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


For anyone seriously interested in investment, this book is essential reading. I recommend it strongly. -- Lord Hanson

The single most powerful influence on the business scene.....Jim Slater has refined, honed and distilled his investment thoughts into a book that is vintage Slater: innovative, imaginative, original and fresh with sophisticated investment methods made to seem simple and glaringly obvious - if only you'd thought of them before. -- Ivan Fallon, Sunday Times

This book is an essential building block for understanding investment. -- Sir James Goldsmith

About the Author

Jim Slater trained as an accountant. He first became interested in investment in the sixties, while a director at a British Leyland subsidiary. After publicising his methods via a column in the Sunday Times, he launched the investment conglomerate Slater Walker, which he chaired until 1973. The company was known for its aggressive acquisitions in every area from banking to property. It collapsed in the 1973-4 recession, leaving Slater bankrupt to the tune of about £4m in today's money. He fought his way back to prosperity through private property deals and writing for small investors. In 1990, he published his main work, The Zulu Principle. This popularised the use of a financial ratio devised in America, known as the PEG, or Price:Earnings Growth Ratio. He has since devised a monthly publication called Company REFS (Really Essential Financial Statistics), which helps investors to apply his system by listing PEGs and other key ratios and information on all UK companies. Now living in Surrey, but far from retired, Slater is still very active in educating investors through his books and lectures. He is also a major shareholder in a variety of small companies, and puts a good deal of money into charitable causes and sports sponsorships. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Brett H TOP 50 REVIEWER on 15 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I first read the Zulu Principle some years ago and it had a profound effect on my investing habits. The new edition is a very limited update so probably not worth investing in if you have the first edition.

The idea behind it is that small company shares are often underresearched - its not worth an analyst in a major investment firm spending a long time analysing a company with a market value, of, say £10m since even if it proves to be the bargain of the century it will not be possible for his company to build up a worthwhile holding as there will be so few shares around. The name of the book comes from some research done by Jim Slater's wife on Zulus. She started off by reading a small article and already knew more than most people on Zulus. If she had borrowed all the books in her local library she would probably have known more about Zulus than most people in Surrey. If she had then decided to visit South Africa and do further study at the University she would probably be in the handful of experts on Zulus in the UK and possibly the world. The idea being that with small company shares, they are often so underresearched that even if you do a limited amount of digging on a particular company you will soon know more than most others.

With this premise, Jim Slater then sets off to explain how to find growth stocks which are undervalued by his definition. He is looking for shares which have shown growth over a number of years and look like they will continue to do so, and which the market is not fully appreciating price wise. A limited amount of accounting understanding is assumed, but his methods are generally straight forward and remarkably sensible.

Jim Slater has been a outstandingly successful investor over a number of years, and in this book shows that there is no rocket science involved. This really is a must read, but keep in mind that his methods work better in a bull (rising) market.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Andy on 4 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Some of the lessons in this book are timeless, being as relevant now as they were when Mr Slater wrote this book in 1992. Perhaps the "big thing" in this book is the concept of the "PEG ratio", which was new to most UK investors at the time. He reviews several different styles of investing, at least some of which now appear very much a feature of their time.

The only update that's been made since 1992, as far as I can see, is in the "further reading" section, where we're referred to a popular investment-book website. It's such a surprise to see a 21st C. artefact in this emphatically 20th C book that I stopped and stared at it for a minute, checking in my memory for recollections of web commerce in those distant days (no, that couldn't have been in the original edition).

So much of this book - far too much - is of interest only to historians. There really should have been a warning to the near-novice (for whom this book was originally written) not to waste time in 2010 looking for the "Unlisted Securities Market"; and don't call your broker asking to be sent a copy of the "Datastream relative-strength chart", or any of the other stuff in the "Your Broker and You" chapter: they'll think you've just stepped out of a time warp.

Overall, I was quite disappointed by this, and glad that I hadn't shelled out the £25 cover price to buy it.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Phil Johnson on 3 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am really disappointed to buy this book as a "brand new edition", only to find that the only thing brand new about it is a 3 page preface. The rest of the book is stuck in 1992, and takes examples from companies like Farepak, GEC and Polly Peck, none of whom should inspire much confidence in a new investor. Also, there is no mention of trading in the modern world, this was a pre internet book, in the days when you had to buy paper copies of information about companies from your broker.

While I would have had no problem buying this book as an aging guide to share trading, indeed, the underlying principles are still, in the main, valid, I do object to what amounts to a lazy reissue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Finance Guy UK on 31 Jan. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
One of my favourite investment books with respect to the UK share market is Jim Slater's "The Zulu Principle".

While the book is reasonably wide-ranging, the Zulu Principle itself refers to one key niche: small, dynamic growth companies - small-cap stocks with market capitalisations ranging from £5m to £100m (adjust these numbers upwards for 20 years of inflation),

Slater's reasons: first, they are under-researched, so better bargains are available and second, on average they perform very much better than larger-cap stocks. In fact over the last fifty years (to publication in 1992) micro-cap stocks have outperformed the market by more than eight times.

While there are a number of rules around defining a growth share, Slater is specifically looking for a low "PEG" (Price Earnings Growth) ratio - something less than 1, and ideally 0.75 to 0.66.

"As part of my Zulu Principle focus I concentrate on growth shares.....`Elephants don't gallop'. I look for shares which are a relative bargain at the time of purchase. This is determined by comparing the prospective price-earnings ratio with the forecast growth rate. Ideally you want to ensure that the prospective price-earnings ratio is well below the growth rate."

The book goes into caveats and other things to consider and look out for, which include ensuring cash flow is in excess of earnings per share, director buying and selling, growth records back and forward, appropriate gearing, and positive relative strength.

Slater lays out, in all, five methods for selecting shares, and suggests you focus on one of them (the others are cyclicals/turnarounds, shells, value/asset investing and leading shares).
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