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This book has been in print for about two months, and so far there are no Amazon reviews. It's not exactly a best seller, but for those with an interest in securities analysis, perhaps you should read on. I'll briefly cover the organization of this book and then state why I think it's an important read.
First, the book is divided into four parts, each with an introduction written by Jason Zweig and Rodney Sullivan. Included in each of the first three parts are a half-dozen essays, on average, that were written by Benjamin Graham from the 1930s to the early 1960s. These essays and some later speeches are the heart of the book, which is why Zweig and Sullivan are editors, not authors. (Indeed, over 80% of the words in the book were written by Graham.) The good majority of Graham's essays appeared as articles in The Analysts Journal. The fourth part of the book begins with another introduction by the two editors, followed by a series of speeches or interviews given by Graham. The general theme of the articles and speeches is Graham's observations and arguments for the establishment of a profession of securities analysis. The need for professional standards may seem obvious today, but it was a somewhat heretical idea 70 years ago.
Okay, so why might you want to buy this book? If you are like me, you'll likely read anything written by Graham that you can get your hands on. Though he wrote decades ago, the clarity and to-this-day timeliness of his writings are amazing. If you didn't know when these articles were written, in many cases you might have guessed they were written within the last 10 years. Further, although the main theme of this book is the establishment of a securities analysis profession, there is a lot of very pertinent and useful investment analysis in Graham's writings. For example, one of my favorite articles, "The New Speculation in Common Stocks," was written in 1958 and remains as clear, powerful and pertinent today as back then.
In sum, Benjamin Graham famously wrote about undiscovered investment gems. For many of those interested in securities analysis, this is one of them.
To abstain from doing harm, or more colloquial as in - `First, do not harm' which is believed to have been written by the famous Greek physician Hippocrates is the basis of Benjamin Graham's writings and teachings in his theme of `margin of safety'. In connection with the release of the sixth edition to Security Analysis, which I would comment is very good, this companion reader of that release is a collection of shorter writings by Graham. The compilation covers the time frame of '32-'77.
In the book you will be introduced to some items that main street is not that aware of in that Graham was not strictly a cigar-butt or a net-net investor only. One learns that his investment style was more nuanced than simply a statistically cheap asset, as he was not shy about arbitrage or good quality growth stocks. From `Toward a Science of Security Analysis', - "A case can be made for putting all your growth eggs in the one best or a relatively few best baskets."
However, one will no less get a heavy dose of the first do no harm aspect of investing. To stress this point with more gravitas, Warren Buffett loves quoting the following rules on investing which is "Rule #1: Don't Lose Money, and Rule #2: Don't Forget Rule #1". So, if wisdom comes either from Hippocrates of Kos, or by Warren Buffett of Omaha, this book will reinforce that the precondition for sustaining a high compound rate of growth is dictated by avoiding serious loss.
If you want to be a successfull investor who doesn't care if the market goes up or down, then this book is for you. It is not an easy ready and will take you more than 1 sitting. To be honest you should use it as a course text book and look to take the course each year for the rest of your investing life. As a primer read The Intelligent Investor to help give you an overview of Grahams investing style. If you want proof this guy new what he was doing then search out the article "The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville" by Warren Buffett, this says it all.