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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb investment book for the experienced private investor as well as a great intro for the beginner
I was an avid reader of John Lee's weekly My Portfolio column in the FT for nearly 15 years and I was very upset when the paper discontinued it. This book is a mixture of some very sage investment advice from Lee at the same time as him analysing some of those previous FT columns with the benefit of hindsight and looking where and why he got things right and more...
Published 10 months ago by BB

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
Although the anecdotes were interesting, there was nothing new . In fact, half of the book reprints consists of john's column from the FT. That would have been, but a large part of the text summarises the column again. You can skim thus book in about an hour. Quite simply, poor value
Published 9 months ago by KBR88


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb investment book for the experienced private investor as well as a great intro for the beginner, 18 Dec 2013
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This review is from: How to Make a Million - Slowly: My guiding principles from a lifetime of successful investing (Financial Times Series) (Kindle Edition)
I was an avid reader of John Lee's weekly My Portfolio column in the FT for nearly 15 years and I was very upset when the paper discontinued it. This book is a mixture of some very sage investment advice from Lee at the same time as him analysing some of those previous FT columns with the benefit of hindsight and looking where and why he got things right and more importantly, where and why he got things wrong. His style is very self-depreciating and he seems to be absolutely devoid of any ego which I find to be very refreshing in the investment sector.

At a time when the internet gives us private investors access to endless up-to-the-minute information that we could only have dreamt about 20 years ago it's tempting to forget the basic principals of great investing as championed by people like Warren Buffett and John Lee - find a good share at a reasonable price and hold onto it.

Lee's book is a superb reminder to us experienced private investors of what we should always be looking for in building our portfolio at the same time as recognising those warning signs that we have all ignored to our peril in the past and being decisive in deciding when to sell.

I particularly liked the section on family-owned public companies and why these are sometimes such a good investment - there are lots of family pressures from maiden aunts etc to keep the dividends flowing steadily at the same time as the family directors have a sense of duty to future generations to safeguard the family firm and not to make any stupid, rash decisions that could endanger it. I'd always steered clear of them in the past thinking they were all stuck in the dark ages but I will certainly look a little closer now.

At the same time as being a great reminder to the more experienced of us, it is also a wonderfully simple guide for the beginner in how to invest directly in shares as opposed to trusting other people (such as fund managers) to do that for you. Far too many of us (I know because I was one of them) think that direct share investing is too risky and too time consuming but John Lee demonstrates that anyone can do this for themselves with much better returns than the so called professionals.

He explains everything one needs to know in a superbly understandable manner without at any time seeming the least bit patronising. He clearly explains what he believes are the key factors you should take into account and deciphers financial jargon in a very easy manner.

My only criticisms of the print edition of this superb book is that the font is a tad small but the Kindle edition resolves that easily.

It's a great Christmas or birthday present and if someone you love doesn't buy it for you, do yourself a favour and treat yourself.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasurable read, 30 Dec 2013
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Like many, I have read Lord Lees FT columns. (But have only been an reader over the last few years.) I was looking forward to his book and was not disappointed.

It was great to read some of his old articles and to realise that he has been invested in some companies for years, stretching into decades.

The value of the book lay in seeing his logic in investing in these companies. And how he had followed them/and been invested in them ever since. He brought home the importance of really knowing the companies he invested in. And highlighted the tricks of the trade. Nothing he said was rocket science but then investing is not rocket science. Its about knowing a business, picking up information and applying judgement. That is what this book brought home.

What was particularly interesting was his emphasis on family owned companies. That is something that is simply ignored by the mainstream. He explained clearly the rationale for investing in these companies.

In addition, he did not shy away from his investing mistakes. This is refreshing

If you are at all interested in UK small cap investing, I cant think why you wouldnt buy this book. This is a must-have addition to the investing bookshelf.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warren Buffet for ordinary mortals, 20 Dec 2013
This is the accumulated wisdom of a man who made a million (plus!!!) by investing in ISAs, using his own money. He explains his principles, which have some parallels with Warren Buffet - intrinsic value (in Lee's case P/E and yield are important); management you trust (he goes to lots of AGMs) ; long termism (with stop loss in case of errors of judgement); and a willingness to confess that he doesn't walk on water (at least, not all the time). What's particularly noticeable is that he doesn't just follow well-trod paths like most investment funds, he's looking for growth, which is more likely to come from smaller UK companies (and which he can monitor) I always was a fan of John Lee's. My New Year's Resolution is to walk the walk (with my own money) rather than just talk the talk.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended and an easy read, 17 Dec 2013
Like many investment books, it gives you hints as to how the author managed to achieve his investment success without giving you specific instructions you can follow. But he does explain many of his guiding principles. For example he is keen on those that are fundamentally cheap (i.e. on low p/e's, with high dividend yields and strong asset backing).

In addition he is keen on those which are dominated by families where the directors might have a strong "proprietary" interest from their large shareholding, and where other family members holding shares rely on the dividends.

He also frequently visits the management of the companies in which he invests and commonly attends AGMs to get an impression of the directors. As I have said repeatedly in the past, it is surprising what you can learn from attending General Meetings and it is a pity more shareholders do not do so.

Of course the author has had one advantage in gaining access to companies in that he was a regular writer for the Financial Times for 14 years. Like many readers, I was an avid reader of his column because he often mentioned unknown and unloved companies where value appeared to be present. Several of his articles in the FT are reproduced in this book to give some historical perspective. Needless to say this can't have done his own portfolio containing those companies much harm.

It's an educational book in another sense in that it covers some of his past mistakes - he now apparently takes a much tougher stance on "stop-losses" which he typically sets at 20%. He also avoids racy start-ups, biotech and exploration stocks. He mentions James Beattie, a department store operator, as "not a particular success" which I remember well having also been to their AGM about a dozen years ago and making only a modest profit over a number of share trades; and also Just2Clicks, a "dotcom" business recommended by his broker - so far as I recall this was subsequently renamed Setstone, and then lent money to an Israeli owner of a gold mine in advance of closing a deal to buy it, which was never completed. They never did get their money back and the company was eventually struck of the register of companies for not filing accounts. Yes we all learn from our mistakes!

Of course like all really successful investors, John makes it all look easy, but he also had the education, the long experience, and no doubt the intelligence to learn from his failures and his successes. He started his career as an accountant and then worked for a leading stockbroker. In addition he actually started investing at the age of 15 in the nineteen-fifties, and his first stock market investment was a disaster when the single ship the company owned sank. But he persevered.

This is perhaps the best lesson to be learned from this book. Namely that investment is an art rather than a science and the more experience and education you can gain, the better investor you will be. Persistence is also what counts in stock market investment because the short term returns can be volatile, but the long term returns, particularly if dividends and capital growth are combined tax free in an ISA, are what really matter.

In summary, a book that is an easy read and highly recommended. It has been added to the ShareSoc "Recommended Reading List" for private investors for that reason.

Roger Lawson
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 19 Jan 2014
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This review is from: How to Make a Million - Slowly: My guiding principles from a lifetime of successful investing (Financial Times Series) (Kindle Edition)
Although the anecdotes were interesting, there was nothing new . In fact, half of the book reprints consists of john's column from the FT. That would have been, but a large part of the text summarises the column again. You can skim thus book in about an hour. Quite simply, poor value
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good clear common sense, 23 Mar 2014
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This review is from: How to Make a Million - Slowly: My guiding principles from a lifetime of successful investing (Financial Times Series) (Kindle Edition)
Quite short book but the better for it. Distilled experience and common sense, with crystal clear explanations of the technical terms. All from a very successful and honest practitioner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The dullest book I have read of its type., 26 Feb 2014
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This book almost entirely consists of Financial Times articles written by the author more than 10 years ago. It is confusing as much has changed in ten years, including some tax rules, so when John Lee gloats over saving the tax on his ISA dividends in his dusty old articles you start to think you don't know the rules around ISAs, he does eventually correct this. Often this type of book can be a useful reference for the future, but for me it contained nothing helpful or noteworthy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, 14 Feb 2014
By 
Carolyn (Preston, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Some of this is reprints or articles from john's newspaper column so if you have followed that over the years then perhaps you will not enjoy as much as I did. Distils his investment style down into easy to digest parts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and to the point, 2 Feb 2014
By 
Robert B. Franks (sheffield, yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How to Make a Million - Slowly: My guiding principles from a lifetime of successful investing (Financial Times Series) (Kindle Edition)
Anyone who has a £1m isa is worth listening to. If you are active in investing this book will be interesting. You don't have to attend annual general meetings or visit companies to do as well as John Lee but if you pay attention to the same basics of low p/e, low debt, consistent earnings, significant board member holdings and a lot of waiting, there's no reason not to do well. The book is a collection of John's press columns with some after event commentary.

Worth a look but not as revealing as Buffett`s letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. Not so long as to become boring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting Book., 20 Jan 2014
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This review is from: How to Make a Million - Slowly: My guiding principles from a lifetime of successful investing (Financial Times Series) (Kindle Edition)
Very interesting read full of great tips and advice for an ameture investor to learn from .A true master!
.Thanks Mr Lee!
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