Top positive review
An amazing book with average digitization from Amazon
Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2012
I just finished reading this book cover to cover, and will probably read it again in a few weeks time. I found it to be quite simply the best and most complete resource on value investing I have ever seen, read or heard of in my life. Graham and Dodd not only teach us how to invest and why, but convey with beautiful eloquence their reasoning and frame of mind. They teach us that investing is as much about constitution and temperament as it is about logic and numbers, and are able to impart that wisdom and experience to us in those few hundred pages (ok, many hundred pages).
For those of you reading this who are new to investing, Benjamin Graham and David Dodd quite literally wrote the book on value investing, and this is it. I would point out though that it was written for the purpose of being a source of information and tools rather than a way of introducing and inspiring its readers to the philosophy of value investing. So if you are new to investing or to the concepts of value investing, I would really recommend reading Graham's "The Intelligent Investor" first; it's a comparatively easy to read introduction to the concepts covered in greater detail in this book.
While I have not read the original 1930's edition, I have heard that this version is more complete in that it irons out some of the kinks in the investment strategy that Graham developed following his near bankruptcy during the great depression.
A word on the relevance of this book in today's market: Much of the book centers about examples from preferred stocks of utilities and railroads, investment vehicles which are far less prevalent today than they were in the early 20th century. However, these are just examples, and the pitfalls and opportunities which arise in the stock market are as prevalent today as they were in the days this book was written. I am of the opinion that those who criticize this work on the basis that it is outdated, really did not understand what Graham was trying to do; to convey a new way of thinking about stocks, and to understand them based on the company that they represent. It doesn't matter whether you are purchasing a pre-depression era railroad preferred or the hybrid floating rate bond of a modern technology company, the examples exist to illustrate how to look past all that and to understand what the purchase of that security really means. If, after reading this book, you find yourself unable to transfer the examples to the modern world, then quite frankly you've read it wrong.
If, however, you are concerned about the relevance and are after more specific guidance on modern applications (as well as trimming of the "less" relevant sections), take a look at the 6th edition of this book, which contains detailed chapter summaries and introductions by modern money people.
Finally, the reason for the 4 stars: The digitization of this book is not fantastic, and given the price this is not really acceptable. I found several errors which I have reported (and will hopefully have been fixed by now), but my real gripe is with the tables and figures, which are simply scanned. This is usually fine, but many of the footnotes are so small as to be illegible, and the overall feel is somewhat like a sketchbook; with cutouts glued to the pages where the tables were in the real book. I had hoped that Amazon would instead have digitally transcribed the tables and inserted them, or at least given them a transparent background, rather than the sepia tone that can't be changed on the tables. If this is ever corrected I'll change my review to 5 stars and remove this paragraph.
I can't possibly express my gratitude for what those two did when they decided to put Graham's experience onto paper in the form of this book, and I think I will forever be grateful for their efforts. This book has taught me invaluable lessons not only in investing but also in prudence and the value of sobriety in the face of euphoria and gloom, lessons which apply to many other facets of life.