The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, first published in 1949, is a widely acclaimed book on value investing, an investment approach Graham began teaching at Columbia Business School in 1928 and subsequently refined with David Dodd. Famous investor Warren Buffett described it as “by far the best book on investing ever written”, a sentiment echoed by other Graham disciples such as Irving Kahn and Walter Schloss.
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When I first came across the first edition of this book in my local library in 1959, I was a teenager. Back in those days there were only a handful of books about the stock market. And I’ve read all of them during my junior high and high school years. This latest updated 623-page paperback (the index alone is 33 pages) version updated by Jason Zweig is a welcome addition to this classic. The original chapters are intact, but with footnoted comments by Zweig. Moreover, he provides his own commentary on each chapter contents in a separate chapter following each original chapter. He provides extensive research, charts, tables and commentary that updates the book to the present years. He is not afraid to take on the big guns of Wall Street and show how wrong they were in some of their extremely bullish predictions during January-March 2000, when the market was at its peak. The first nine chapters cover investing basics that all investors could benefit from. There are many truisms spouted on Wall Street that are not really true. These chapters provide the investor with a realistic picture of how Wall Street works and what investors need to do to come out ahead. Chapters 10-20 focus strictly on fundamental analysis, stock selection, convertible issues and warrants, and other subjects. Investors who plan to invest directly in stocks should make sure to read these chapters. However, for readers more interested in investing in mutual funds, and in particular index funds, they need not concern themselves with all the detail in these chapters unless they have the time or interest in the subject matter presented. In conclusion, the combination of pioneer Ben Graham?s original work coupled with Zweig?s meticulous and enjoyable update, make this a remarkable book about investments and investor behavior that every new and experienced investor should read. Of the 500 investing books that I?ve read, this one certainly is one of the greats of all time.