12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A good read but some of the opportunities have gone,
This review is from: The Intelligent Investor: The Classic Text on Value Investing (Hardcover)I thoroughly enjoyed Ben Graham's book. Certainly the concept of buying a share in a company on its underlying value and prediction of growth makes lots of sense. You only have to look back at the dot com boom and bust to recall when we all got carried away acting on share price rather than value. More recently the enormous share prices our banks reached were revealed to be based on sand rather than sound foundations. Some of the concepts for making an accurate valuation of company worth are out of date. For example in Graham's time firms had a lot more tangible assets such premises and plant and machinery and warehouse based inventory that it owned outright with a demonstrable value. Obviously the future value of these could be reasonably appreciated or deprecated over a period of future time and if the company folded these assets could be sold at what ever price the market dictated.
But modern business is not so straightforward. Many firms now hire plant and machinery (if they need or have any at all) and premises are often rented. Many firms rely on just in time processes or drop shippers so we don't have the concept of a fixed stock of finished items that can be valued. Also many organisations have massive debt, which in the event of meltdown will need to be settled long before the humble shareowner gets a look in.
So basic value estimation of many of our large companies rely on asset values that are more difficult to predict (staff knowledge and ability / market contacts) Look at Amazon or ebay, both hugely successful but in terms of hard tangible assets that you could go and kick they have almost nothing. That said, the basic thought process that Ben Graham goes through in his book is as important today as it was 70 or 80 years back. I would suggest that people interested in Warren Buffett and his investment philosophy would enjoy reading this book and get a good understanding of how Warren approaches his investments.