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on 8 May 2017
this book is the value investing version 2.0, being the first version the security analysis of ben graham which lays the foundations for the analysis of financial statements and the bargain hunting process. This book is different it gives the user tools to evaluate the company prospects from management, product and context overview, which many times is in fact much more important that the strict financials
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on 16 March 2017
A bit disappinted with the lack of technical details behind stocks.
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on 11 September 2011
I enjoyed reading this book, although for a typical small investor this isn't the best stock picking book. This book describes the author's method to pick companies that one can expect to achieve high growth. However, for a typical private investor, there's a couple of weaknesses. First, the book was originally written in the 1950s so it's quite dated. Amusingly it talks about the new technology of the "pocket calculator" and then there's this gem: "If a man, he usually gives but a tiny fraction to handling his investments than he devotes to work. If a woman, the time and effort given is equally small to that devoted to her normal duties". More problematic is that it focuses mostly on manufacturing industry, which might have been the most relevant in the 1950s but less so now. For example, it says you should invest "when the factory is about to come on line". The main reason for this focus is, as the author explains, where his strengths and knowledge lie. By the author's own admission the advice is less relevant to other industries. Second, the advice it gives is more useful for someone who is managing a fund and has the time to spend investigating firms. The author's main point is to spend lots of time talking to management, employees and customers of the firm to find out its prospects. I doubt most small investors could do this. It's not as if I could get a luncheon appointment with a CEO. A fund manager with more experience in this may be able to, which is why I think this book is more suited to them.

One final point worth mentioning is the inexplicably pointless preface and introduction by his son, Kenneth. It serves no apparent purpose and worst comes across as an ego trip. On the first page Kenneth (the son that is) manages to mention that "Who knew that I would go on found a large investment management firm, write my own books, and become the sixth-longest-running columnist in Forbes magazine ...". Who knew and who cares? I recommend skipping the preface and introduction and go straight to the book itself!

All this aside, as noted earlier I did enjoy reading this book. As a small private investor, it's not the most useful book for me (that is instead, by the way, "One up on Wall Street"). But if you're generally interested in business and fund management, this is a good read. There's lots of interesting anecdotes and gives good insight on fund management.
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on 6 November 2007
If you are expecting to learn how to make quick money from the stock market by reading this book, you'll be, without doubt, disappointed. It is, however, one of the best books to help develop sound and solid knowledge about surviving the stock market and making uncommon profits in the long run.

In order to grasp the general picture of the messages from the author, I rushed it through the first time I read it. And I have got a strong feeling that it pays to read this book from cover to cover. Now, I am about to read it the second time slowly, page by page.

Warren Buffett has scarcely recommended books about the stock market. This book is one of the exceptions. I am a follower of Buffett's philosophy, so I have no qualms at all about recommending this book to those who aim to develop a long-term perspective of the stock market.
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on 26 June 1999
I've not heard of the name "Philip Fisher" in my entire school years (4 yrs Undergrad. b-school & 2 yrs MBA) even I've been majoring in Finance. The "fundamental" approach in investing, as opposed to looking at a "beta", has been so ignored by the academica as it's "not objective enough" or that it has no math involved. Indeed, the book is 95% art & 5% science, and there're no certain ways to pick up the technique. However, the book makes so much sense to me that I had to read it twice. The principles are sound and stand through the test of time. Most investing books disappear after a few years, and this one is still as good. Some of the techniques are hard to put into practice such as "getting to know the management" and "investigate the competitors", but this book lets you know that selecting an outstanding long term investment involves more homeworks than most people are willing to do nowaday. The tradeoff btw. "easy money" and risk always exists even in today's stockmarket most people don't know what kind of risk they're undertaking.
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on 5 May 1997
When you have read Benjamin Graham analysing current ratios and balance sheets until you have decided that stock picking can be done by computer then (and only then) is it time to read Phillip Fisher.

Phillip Fisher searches for "growth stocks", companies with superlative management (superior sales force, superior research and development, clear focus on the business) and he holds their stocks FOREVER.

You can read this book and find not a single substantive mention of balance sheets, solvency, current ratios or any of the other things that most seasoned stock pickers rely on. Instead you find tips for analysing the scuttlebutt that you hear about a company and for testing whether management cuts the mustard. Thirteen or so of the "Fifteen Points" in the second chapter are worth the purchase price of the book and more.

These points summarise as:

* The management are technical geniuses.
* The management know how to milk the existing business, and
* The management resist the institutional imperative.

Unlike Phillip Fisher however, I am not sure the management need to be technical geniuses. Indeed Phillip Fisher's notion of what constitutes a growth stock is quite narrow. He is almost obsessive about research and development. New products are to him the major determinant of growth. He would never have picked Coca-Cola or McDonalds as growth stocks because their product is not technically innovative. Yet a reader of Phillip Fisher may have picked these stocks. They pass the bulk of Fisher's fifteen points with flying colours. Just making hamburgers is not making Silicon chips.

If you could combine Fisher's analysis with Graham and purchase these stocks at reasonable prices you might have even done well. (Incidently I am a Dow disbeliever from Australia and I still think McDonalds is reasonably priced.)

Certainly Fisher would not allow you to hold McDonalds and Coke above a well run techno company. Fisher regards techno stocks with a sort of awe. And regards anybody that holds more than twenty stocks as financially incompetent. [I agree with him on the latter point, and hence hold a small number of non-techno companies, which kind of suits a technophope like me.]

Fisher would have you purchasing Intel at $150, something which I am finding it increasingly difficult to justify (though I have been wrong on that stock before). Intel passes ALL of Fisher's fifteen points. Value does not play a part in Fisher's Analysis. He pays lip service once or twice, but there is precious little discussion on how to pick value. And that is where I think the book falls down.

This is actually quite a limited failing. There are two ways to proceed with Fisher. One: Look for businesses that pass Phillip Fisher's tests. perhaps thirteen of the fifteen points is adequate. Then put through the second filter of "are they crazy on a Benjamin Graham analysis". This will make sure that you do not pay too much for a good business.

Alternatively Benjamin Graham filter stocks. Get the listing down to say 200 or so that are not too expensive (particularly vis earnings rather than assets). Then put them through the Phillip Fisher filter. Buy the ones that pass best. This way you will not be tempted to buy a bad business just because its cheap.

I tend to operate using the latter method. However I would never have found McDonalds that way. So maybe I should do a bit of both.

Cheers and good hunting.
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on 30 December 1998
An excellent book. Can be understood by any layman and the ideas expounded are applicable not only in the US but I think universal. The book has changed my way of looking at buying stocks and to be focused on the growth stocks for long term growth instead of following the ups and downs of the stock market everyday. But there are some pointers that might be a little bit hard to be followed by the layman. Such are the information needed about the organisations' management that your intended to buy in. These information are hard to come by and more importantly assessing them; and another wrong steps could cost the investor. But, again, if to follow Fisher's ideas about spreading the risk, think the cost would not be too heartbreaking.
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on 5 January 1997
This is an outstanding book. Although most of it was written almost 40 years ago, the ideas presented in this book are as compelling as when they were first published. This book is as relevant to someone trying to build a business as it is to someone who is trying to find the right sort of business in which to invest. The fifteen points that he uses to evaluate a stock can also be used as guidelines for rapid and succesful growth for the outstanding company.
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on 25 April 1998
Phillip Fisher is the father of qualitative analysis. This book changed my life like no other. It has made me settle down as an investor and think as a businessman, and put all notions of trading aside. From reading Fisher, I now understand that one should only invest in a small number of stocks, but these stocks must be perfect in all aspects. He shows one what signs to look for in a company and how to analyze it . From reading Mr. Fishers book I have put all my money in Coca Cola, and have been well rewarded. Mr Warren Buffett who read this book in the 1960's found it to be one of the best investment books ever written. I myself consider it my family bible. Life as an investor was pure hell until I read this book, and after reading it I feel that nothing can stop me from becoming very wealthy. All I have to do is follow the steps that are in this book. Thank You Mr. Fisher.
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on 19 August 1998
Those lucky enough to read Philip Fisher's writings early in their investment lifetime, get by far the most logical advice ever formulated. The few who follow it tenaciously, are bound to enjoy it's results forever. Philip Fisher's investment mind-set allows you to think in terms of decades, not years, and focus on patiently finding the best companies, and owning them forever. Clear words from a timeless genius !
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