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Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings
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"You will find lots of jewels in these pages that may do as much for you as they have for me."a??from the Introduction by Kenneth L. Fisher Forbes columnist

Widely respected and admired, Philip Fisher is among the most influential investors of all time. His investment philosophies, introduced almost forty years ago, are not only studied and applied by today's finance professionals, but are also regarded by many as gospel. He recorded these philosophies in Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, a book considered invaluable reading when it was first published in 1958, and a must-read today.

Acclaim for Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits

"I sought out Phil Fisher after reading his Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits...When I met him, I was impressed by the man as by his ideas. A thorough understanding of the business, obtained by using Phil's techniques...enables one to make intelligent investment commitments."a??Warren Buffett

"Little known to the public, rarely interviewed and accepting few clients, Philip Fisher is nevertheless read and studied by most thoughtful investment professionals . . . everyone will profit from ponderinga??as Warren Buffett has donea??the investment principles Fisher espouses."a??James W. Michaels Editor, Forbes

"My own copy [of Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits] has underlinings and marginal thoughts throughout."a??John Train Author of Dance of the Money Bees

Customer Reviews:

  • one of the best investing books i red
    simple & rational way to bit the market...more info
  • A must read for Fundamental Investors.
    Philip Fisher's thoughts and experience are invaluable and timeless. Not as boring (to read) as the intelligent investors (though both are equally important reading). I particularly like the chapters about "Fifteen points to look in a common stocks","when to buy", "when to sell", "Five don't", and "Developing your investment philosophies". One particular topic that I like best is about "Don't follow the crowd". Also on "How I go about finding a growth stock"

    Some of the area that the a company/stock (to buy) should have a lot of these criteria:
    1. Product and service with potential increase in sales for seveal years
    2. Management who commited to develop products to continue growth
    3. Size of company's research versus its size (enough research needed)
    4. Good sales organization
    5. Worthwhile profit margin
    6. Activity to improve profit margin
    7. Good labor and personal relation
    8. Outstanding executove relations
    9. Depth in management
    10. Good accounting controls and cost analysis
    11. favorable (degree of skills) compare to the competition
    12. Long range outlook on profit
    13. Equity financing in the next couple years should ot cancel the existing shareholder benefit from the anticipated growth
    14. Management talk freely to investor about tings that goes well and also when things doesn't go well
    15. Management needs to have unquestionable integrity

    Five don'ts for investor:
    1. Don't buy into promotional companies (development companies)
    2. Don't ignore stocks just becuase it is traded over the counter
    3. Don't buy stocks because you like the tone of annual report
    4. Don't assume the high price is an indication of future growth
    5. Dont quibble over small fraction (when you buy a stock)

    Five additional don'ts for Investor
    1. Don't overstress diversification
    2. Don't be afraid buying in a war scare
    3. Don't forget your Gilbert and Sullivan
    4. Don't fail to consider time as well as price in buying a true growth stock
    5. Don't follow the crowd

    This book also covers what a good business should have (it recaps of what they teach you in business school). I have 10 years of investing experience before I read this book (I know I should have read this book earlier), and in my opinion this book should work as a guideline to develop our own investing philosophies (and not our philosophy itself). There are no one size fits all strategy in the investing world. This book will also help to open your eyes (especially for beginner) that investing (the right way) is not easy and is a complex process, however the result from a patient and diligent investor could be great.

    There are 3 important aspects of a business (apart from the stock price) which this book will cover most of them:
    1. The Business (and the Industry)
    2. The Financials
    3. The People (Management, Personnel)

    I also recommend you all to read Ben Graham's "The Intelligent Investors" (with commentary by Jason Zweig who will give more recent and relevant example), and Peter Lynch's "One up on Wall Street". Once you read them all (coupled with some real experience), then you are ready to be an investing pro...

    Happy Investing!...more info
  • The best Investment book ever written
    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.

    MYCROFT...more info

  • Picking stocks by analysing businesses not accounts
    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....more info
  • A must read for Fundamental Investors.
    Philip Fisher's thoughts and experience are invaluable and timeless. Not as boring (to read) as the intelligent investors (though both are equally important reading). I particularly like the chapters about "Fifteen points to look in a common stocks","when to buy", "when to sell", "Five don't", and "Developing your investment philosophies". One particular topic that I like best is about "Don't follow the crowd". Also on "How I go about finding a growth stock"

    Some of the area that the a company/stock (to buy) should have a lot of these criteria:
    1. Product and service with potential increase in sales for seveal years
    2. Management who commited to develop products to continue growth
    3. Size of company's research versus its size (enough research needed)
    4. Good sales organization
    5. Worthwhile profit margin
    6. Activity to improve profit margin
    7. Good labor and personal relation
    8. Outstanding executove relations
    9. Depth in management
    10. Good accounting controls and cost analysis
    11. favorable (degree of skills) compare to the competition
    12. Long range outlook on profit
    13. Equity financing in the next couple years should ot cancel the existing shareholder benefit from the anticipated growth
    14. Management talk freely to investor about tings that goes well and also when things doesn't go well
    15. Management needs to have unquestionable integrity

    Five don'ts for investor:
    1. Don't buy into promotional companies (development companies)
    2. Don't ignore stocks just becuase it is traded over the counter
    3. Don't buy stocks because you like the tone of annual report
    4. Don't assume the high price is an indication of future growth
    5. Dont quibble over small fraction (when you buy a stock)

    Five additional don'ts for Investor
    1. Don't overstress diversification
    2. Don't be afraid buying in a war scare
    3. Don't forget your Gilbert and Sullivan
    4. Don't fail to consider time as well as price in buying a true growth stock
    5. Don't follow the crowd

    This book also covers what a good business should have (it recaps of what they teach you in business school). I have 10 years of investing experience before I read this book (I know I should have read this book earlier), and in my opinion this book should work as a guideline to develop our own investing philosophies (and not our philosophy itself). There are no one size fits all strategy in the investing world. This book will also help to open your eyes (especially for beginner) that investing (the right way) is not easy and is a complex process, however the result from a patient and diligent investor could be great.

    There are 3 important aspects of a business (apart from the stock price) which this book will cover most of them:
    1. The Business (and the Industry)
    2. The Financials
    3. The People (Management, Personnel)

    I also recommend you all to read Ben Graham's "The Intelligent Investors" (with commentary by Jason Zweig who will give more recent and relevant example), and Peter Lynch's "One up on Wall Street". Once you read them all (coupled with some real experience), then you are ready to be an investing pro...

    Happy Investing!...more info
  • Still fresh after 40 years!
    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...more info
  • One of the better books on investing.
    To the reviewers giving this book one star, I ask you to consider other investment books on the market. Most are full of hype, bad advice, and soon to be outdated methodologies. This book, along with The Intelligent Investor can stand the test of time.

    Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits takes effort to read. I took notes on each chapter as I read it as a way to keep myself focused on what Fisher is trying to say. I don't think this makes him a poor writer. Rather, some of the concepts are deep enough that they take a careful reading and then a going over for the gems within.

    In this book Fisher outlines a general philosophy for investing. He does not provide you with the tools necessary to implement the philosophy. You will need to do that work on your own by learning to read financial statements, investigate management, and learn about a company's business and industry. What he does provide you is a framework that will help you avoid making as many costly mistakes in your learning process or even never realizing that there are fundamentally sound and unsound methods of investing.

    To the reviewer stating that Fisher advocates growth stocks at any cost, this assertion is simply untrue. Fisher clearly says that growth stocks (stock in a company with excellent future prospects) at value prices are the gems to look for. Growth stocks at fair prices are a second best choice and growth stocks at high prices may be acceptable under certain conditions. Poorly run companies should almost never be purchased, because even though they may be "cheap", information is more likely to come to light that will make that "cheap" price very costly....more info
  • not much more to add
    I don't have much more to add than what was already mentioned in the (long) other reviews.

    The most entertaining thing for me was that though this book was written many decades ago, it cautions against the very things that have happened recently. Nothing really seems to change in investing, and overexcited bulls will probably always bid the market up to inappropriate levels, at least for the short term.

    By reading CSaUP, maybe you can tell where the next peak will be. I don't mean a number- I just mean within six months or so, which is all you need to be a shockingly successful investor (the flip side, which is even more important, is telling when stocks are insanely cheap)....more info
  • Qualitative Value Classic for Growth Stocks Ideal for Communication Heavy Investors
    You love to communicate and hate balance sheets: then this book is for you. The Theme of "Common Stocks" is: How to pick low risk, high potential growth stocks by thoroughly talking to people (scuttlebutt)? Typical conversational partners are customers, employees, suppliers, top management. He gives clear advice of the matters to be addressed. Actually doing it is work, a lot of work.

    General advice is given also. Like the dangers of so called safe investments.

    You get three different books written at different times:
    (1) "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits" (145 pages)
    (2) "Conservative Investors Sleep Well" (50 pages)
    (3) "Developing an Investment Philosophy" (57 pages)
    Also the introduction of his son Kenneth Fisher is of considerable size (23+27 pages).

    If you are interested in biographies or in financial history you also find a lot of interest.

    In total a very useful and entertaining book and a totally different and complementary approach to value investing then the great Security Analysis: The Classic 1934 Edition.
    ...more info
  • A genius at work
    Fisher is an absolute must for all investors, amateur and professional alike. He writes down such sage advice that you can't help but be awed. Fisher writes as though he is a mentor or a professor, teaching the intricacies of the market and how best (at least the method that he used; he states himself that everyone's method of investing will vary) to increase your own net worth.

    I must say that I can't really see myself using the fifteen points that he says he follows. For one, the common everyday investor would have a lot harder time applying the points and interviewing executives and others who have some working knowledge of that industry and company. His method is called the scuttlebutt method, in which you do your research and gain 50% of your knowledge of the company before you go to the company and interview the top executives, the competitors, the suppliers and the employees and so on. Although I must say I see the worth in what he is saying, I can't see the common investor in today's market being able to apply this method (Fisher himself says that because he was a fund manager he had connections to executives and scientists and people high up that he could speak to, which isn't something most people have access to).

    Other than the fifteen points (which are a good broad way of looking at a company with some that can be applied) and the scuttlebutt method, the rest of the book is an invaluable tool for any investor. Even part two, Conservative Investors Sleep Well, imparts some invaluable information that every amateur investor should have read. Part three parts with some useful insight as well, although it focuses more on how Fisher came to have his philosophy and thus is more of a chronological reiteration of his past.

    Fisher is a must for all investors. With this book you don't get much on the practical how to of investing, the actual know how, but more of a philosophy and a lesson on investing, which is even more useful. I would highly recommend this book to everyone....more info
  • Growth stock Bible
    This is another book for those of us who want to be like Warren Buffet when we grow up. It is a perfect complement to The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Grahm. While that book focuses on value investing this one focuses on investing for growth.Warren Buffett attributes 15% of his strategy from Philip Fisher.I read this book due to Mr. Buffett's recomendation.I will read anything a man suggests when his networth is $40,000,000,000.
    My biggest key learning from this book was how Mr. Fisher focused on earnings as what determines the value of a stock. He gave an analogy of if you were able to buy stock in your graduating high school class based on what you believed would be there future earnings potential. How would you determine their value? Would you later sell stock in a student who went on to college and had huge earnings just because he was then overvalued? Would you want to buy stock in a student who went on to earn poorly just because he had potetial for more growth?This analogy shows we are buying coporate earnings when we buy stock, and quality and future growth is what we are looking for.
    This book gives 15 points to look for in buying stock.
    Mr. Fisher also had a chapter on why he does not believe in efficient market theory because the performance in stocks always shows they were not valued correctly because the future performance is not reflected in the current price,stock traders have never been able to price stocks correctly, if they did their would not be such variances in stocks a year later, some go up 1000% some go down 80% rarely does the P/E ratio predict this. I highly recommend this book in your financial library....more info
  • good but overrated
    This is one of the most overrated business books of all times! The first time I read it, it was a torture. Then I picked it up for a second read because I figured that maybe I didn't quite get it the first time. How can so many people, including Warren Buffet, like it if it wasn't a good book? The second time I read it only confirmed my initial impressions. It is not too bad but it is clearly overrated.
    Fisher's investment philosophy, the way I understood it, boils down to the following: Common stocks of good companies are worth buying at any price. Just find a good business with excellent growth prospects and buy the stock. The price will take care of itself.
    This is the kind of approach that inflated the stocks of the so called nifty fifty in the early 1970s. Since Fisher's book was already a best seller by that time, I suspect that he was partially responsible for what has happened to the stocks of the nifty fifty.
    Now, maybe I didn't quite get it. Maybe Fisher didn't really mean that a good business can justify any stock price, no matter how high. Then again, I read the book twice and if I couldn't get it then he didn't make it obvious enough. Only in the last part of the book (Conservative Investors Sleep Well) he suggests that value does matter. Unfortunately for many early readers, that part of the book was not written and added until long after the nifty fifty burst.
    His approach toward finding future stars is not likely to work unless you do it during a bull market. Then again, almost any other investment strategy will make money in a bull market, even technical analysis. New technology developments and the state of future competition are too difficult to predict by any method. One of the few stars he ever found out was Motorola. It was a lucky shot because when he first found out the company, it was manufacturing TVs, not cell phones and pagers. Ironically, the company was soon kicked out of the television sets business for which Fisher chose them.
    I don't know why Warren Buffet ever said that he liked Fisher's investment philosophy. I don't thing he is scuttlebutting for the future Intels and Microsofts.
    Last but not least, the book is very poorly written. Fisher has absolutely no talent for a writer. His writing style is tortures for the reader. His editor probably gave up editing after the first few pages, crossed his fingers and sent the book to the printing press. Editing the book would have been equal to rewriting it. I don't think any editor would've had the patience and the time to do it.
    To be fair, I like some aspects of Fisher's investment philosophy. He advocates long term commitment to strong businesses with good potentials. And, he wouldn't commit unless he had done a thorough investigation of the company. There are some other gems in the book such as his discussion of stock purchase timing but the reader has to dig them out from a pile of trivia. Three stars are well deserved....more info
  • A Contrarian View
    I have scanned the reviews listed here, and I am well aware that Warren Buffet is 85% Ben Graham and 15% Philip Fisher. Nonetheless, I must say that Fisher's book, while valuable insofar as it has some positive applications, has a few drawbacks, particularly as concerns the individual investor.

    First and foremost, Fisher emphasizes prospective growth in earnings. As Ben Graham (and any number of other authors) has noted, "earnings" is strictly an accounting term that must be adjusted to accord to the investor's needs and market reality, as compared to GAAP requirements (Marty Whitman's book entitled "The Aggressive Conservative Investor" does an excellent job discussing the shortcomings of GAAP with respect to the individual investor).

    Secondly, Fisher emphasizes quality in management (example: he advises "Does the management have a determination to continue to develop products or processes that will still further increase total sales potentials when the growth potentials of currently attractive product lines have largely been exploited?"). Again, this is something that institutional investors might be able to focus upon, but for an individual investor to come to a conclusion based upon publicly-available information might be somewhat difficult (as an aside, Porter's book on Competitive Advantage might be more useful for readers trying to determine a company's competitive environment).

    I could lob comparable criticisms at a few of the other points (another example: "How effective are the company's research and development efforts relative to its size?"). From personal experience, any biotech company will likely trumpet the skills of its staff in uncovering new drugs, but the drugs must still be safe and effective per the FDA in order to be sold in the US. How can most individual investors reach any reasonable conclusion with respect to that point?

    The fundamental shortcoming in this book is that most people seeking to apply his principles will be guided by word of mouth or the "irrational exhuberance" of the market. There is little analytical guidence to ensure that the investor's conclusions are grounded.

    This leads me to my ultimate conclusion: although I've spent a fair amount of time lobbing rocks at this book, the book itself may be useful, but only if combined with the sort of in-depth financial statement analysis that Ben Graham proposes in "Security Analysis," which contains a detailed discussion of analytical means to review management performance, or perhaps an analysis of competive position as propounded in "Expecations Investing" by Rappaport and Mouboussin. To say things slightly differently, the book provides a good overview of a type of investment philosophy, but unlike the others referenced before, it does not provide tools to analyze a particular company.

    Warren Buffett is in a different position than the average investor. To fail to realize that is folly. As a whole, the book reads easily, and Warren Buffett has said he likes Fisher - maybe that's why so many people like it - but without grounding on how to value a particular stock at a point in time, I cannot say that this book should a primary source of information for someone without grounding in finance and securities analysis....more info
  • Timeless approach, somewhat outdated details
    This is a great classic book on investing. The author's language is at times somewhat hard, but the gist is absolutely crystal clear: invest in high-quality growth stocks and don't be afraid to buy them at a slight premium, plus investigate fundamentals, managements' ability and competitiveness very thoroughly before committing funds for very long holding periods (10 years or more). Fisher's intuitive, "scuttlebutt" approach to investing is certainly different (and more successful) than that of quantitative mathematical folks. As Warren Buffet often says: "It is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong". It is impossible to quantify how popular a company's products will be in the future or how honest and able the management is. The Fisher's 15 points will help you assess these and other unquantifiable but nevertheless absolutely vital things about an investment....more info
  • A Book For Success
    Highly recommended. Undestand the basics on it to develop a succesful approach in investments. Follow the principles shown here by many succesful worldwide investors....more info
  • One of the two best books on investment ever written
    There are only two books you will ever need to read to become a good investor. One of them is Graham's "The Intelligent Investor" (or better, Graham and Dodd's "Security Analysis"). The other is Philip Fisher's "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits".

    It is telling that the man who combines the investment philosophies of both Graham and Fisher is widely acclaimed as the most brilliant investor alive today, Warren Buffet.

    This is a book that you shouldn't just read once. It's a book you should read again and again. This is a book that you should read in cycles. Once you finish, you should read it again. It's short enough that you can read a chapter each night. This is a book that you should read until you can recite it word for word.

    If you understand the principles in this book, and adhere stringently to Fisher's 15-point checklist for buying stocks, avoid his 10 don'ts, and purchase stocks at the right time, as he suggested how to do, you will almost certainly be investing in good companies.

    If you then apply Graham's tests of value, you can avoid paying too much for those good companies. It is possible to have a good company but a bad stock (IBM is a great company today, and passes all of Fisher's criteria, but could you really justify buying it say $1,000 per share?).

    When you do find companies that are good companies, but have bad stocks, keep an eye on them. What I mean by "bad stock" is that the stock -- in your opinion -- is priced too highly, even considering the company's excellent growth prospects (in other words, there is euphoria about it on Wallstreet that goes beyond reason). Eventually, the market will realize that, even for that great company, it was paying too much. The stock price will drop, and then, whenever everyone else is running from the company in fear of doom, you can scoop it up (assuming that it i still a good company).

    Just as it is possible to have a good company but a bad stock, it is also possible to have a bad company but a good stock. You should not buy a stock just because it is cheap in PE, PEG, PS, or Price:book ratio. It is possible that the management may be so terrible that the company, in a few years time, may very well justify such current undervaluation. Even if the management is competent, it is still possible that the company' performance may justify that low price in a few year's time. When a stock is greatly undervalued by these measures, and has passed most of Fisher's criteria, then it is a great buy, because the market will eventually realize that management is brilliant and the stock should be priced higher.

    Now, many have objected that Fisher's methods take a lot of time. Clearly, they do. So do Graham's. Certainly, using both methods in combination with one another will take a lot of time (you can use Graham's criteria first, or Fisher's, then apply the other set of criteria). If you don't have the interest or time to pursue this, then you should not be investing in invidiaul stocks yourself. Rather, you should find an advisor who does utilize these rules, or a mutual fund manager who does, and have him manage your money, if you want those kind of exceptional returns. In this case, you will still have to investigate the person managing your money, to make sure they're up to you're criteria, and stay on top of it, to make sure they continue to be. If you don't want to do that -- if you don't want to put in that effort -- then you should settle for ordinary returns, as Graham says. Invest in an index fund.

    However, you should consider that there are not many stocks that will meet both Graham's stringent criteria, and Fisher's extremely stringent criteria. Of the tens of thousands of stocks, maybe 1,000 of them meet Graham's criteria. Of Those 1,000, maybe 50-100 meet Fisher's criteria. But, consider that you should only have to do this once, and thereafter only have to keep tabs on the companies (because you should have done it right the first time). Isn't several hours worth of work each night -- even for months -- worth finding a stock that will experience many hundreds of percent increase over 10 years?

    To save yourself time, apply Graham's criteria first to eliminate fad stocks (dot-com), and other stocks that are priced too high. This will greatly cut down on your candidates. Then look at what's left and categorize it. Discard stocks from industries which you -- based on sound analysis -- believe aren't promising. Also discard those from industries which you don't understand. Of the remaining stocks, apply Fisher's criteria. To operate efficiently, apply his 15th criteria first: If there is any serious questions as to the management's trustworthiness to investors, don't even consider buying stock of the company, and don't waste any more time on it.

    After reading these two books, you should know what criteria a company is to meet if it is a good investment, both Fisher's qualitative, and Graham's quantitative, criteria. You should apply the criteria that are easiest and quickest to filter through first. Then go through the criteria, progressively from more to less stringent. There's no point in wasting your time finding out about how great a company fairs on Fisher's first 14 criteria, only to find that it flatlines on the criteria of absolute importance (the integrity of management)....more info

  • Solid read; practical ideas
    This book is a classic in the investment field. Fisher is acknowledged as one of Warren Buffet's intellectual fathers and it shows. However - like many books on Buffett - Fisher's approach relies on the ability of the individual to spend large amounts of time researching companies and stocks. While this minimizes the risk of investing badly, it also assumes that picking stocks is your life. I recommend that anyone interested in investing read this text as an example of how to think about companies in which to invest. However, be prepared that it won't be as directly usuable as, say, the writings of Peter Lynch....more info
  • A Must for Every Investor's Library
    I first read this book over ten years ago, and like the other reviewers, I too found it a difficult read. When I first read it, I thought the advice was somewhat impractical for the small time investor (try to imagine calling Bill Gates asking him what he thought of Steve Jobs' company). Graham's security analysis was much easier for the little guy investor to apply. Yet Fisher's techniques were and are used by the big time investors ( most notably Peter Lynch, and though I don't think he gives Fisher enough credit, Warren Buffett). Even the rankings of "Top CEOs" by Forbes, Businessweek, Fortune etc. was based on Graham's security analysis. Then came the corporate scandals of the 1990's, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and Elliott Spitzer of New York and now the little guy investor can apply Fisher's theory of investing. Fortune Magazine's CEO ranking has as much to do about corporate governance as it does with security analysis. There are websites devoted entirely to corporate governance. The Institutional Shareholder Service was created solely to act as a corporate governance watchdog. I recently re-read Common Stocks. It's still a difficult read and you can't read it in one day or even in one week. It's a book that you have to read and re-read to get the most out of it. The most useful chapters for an investor are Chapter 3 "What to Buy: the fifteen points to look for in a common stock", Chapter 8 "Five Don'ts for Investors, and Chapter 9 " Five More Don'ts for Investors." Fisher's Common Stocks and Graham's the Intelligent Investor are the two basic building blocks that every investor must master to be succesful in the stock market....more info
  • One of the Best Investing Books you can buy
    This is one of the best books on investing I've ever read! Fisher gives a solid strategy for picking stock winners and staying invested based on his personal experience. He lived through the great crash of 29, and he has a ton of personal stories and experiences to relate. What's amazing is that the principles of the stock market never change! His advice is truly invaluable. Highly recommended for anyone who has or is planing to open a brokerage account. Even though this was written in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, it is definitely NOT out-of-date....more info
  • Now called value investing
    This is an excellent book but is now outdated. By outdated I mean there is a better way to implement Fisher's strategy. Today the strategy can be executed at lower costs and less risk by using index funds or exchange traded funds and achieve superior results at about 30% less risk.

    I also recommend a little book titled How to Make Money in the Stock Market-Buy 2,500 different stocks for $1000 - Pay no Commission. Easy to read packed with precise directions for success. A cookbook for the investor just follow directions. I enjoyed this book a great deal. It shows how indexing and diversification strategies work and why they are so important to investing success. Unlike many other books, this one is not only informative, but also useful. There should be no question as how to implement the author's strategy and measure your progress. He skillfully addresses asset allocation, and shows how to minimize tax consequences by assigning securities to tax deferred accounts. The author does not dwell on lengthy longwinded discussions but cuts to the quick with useful recommendation and directions for the novice and experienced investor as well. I recommend this book for all investors....more info
  • Good Points but Too Damn Boring
    Common stocks and uncommon profits explained in a very common sense. I am sure back in the 50's the "15 points" explained in this book was a great deal but now in 2000's it has very little value although the points are still perfectly valid. My biggest problem with this book was ,however, that it was too boring to read. The sentences were too long (3-4 lines) all connected with "by which", "in which" etc. I couldn't read more then 3 pages at a time. I often said "come on cut to the chase!" while reading. Anyway after my second attempt to finish the book at around 2/3 the way to the end, I gave up and put it in the shelf....more info