The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Man, this book took a long time for me to finish! This happens every 4 years though; the US Presidential election cycle always consumes me no matter who is running.
Anyways, on to the book! So I decided to pick this one because I wanted something totally out of left-field, a thing completely out of my comfort zone, and it also came highly recommended on some random-website suggesting books that would improve one's self. I'm happy to report that I enjoyed it nonetheless.
In brief summary, The Intelligent Investor is about how to wisely invest in the stock market, written by a guy who survived The Great Depression and really learned a thing of two from the experience. Now, I'm not going to lie, about 25% of this book went too in-depth for me to absorb, but I caught that other 75% and I found it absolutely fascinating.
On the whole, this is one long book that can be summed as "the best path to wealth in investing is patience, diligence, and avoiding mistakes." Essentially, Graham makes a strong argument that the stock market is going up and down all the time with a general upward trend from now to the end of days, so all you have to do is invest across the board, sit quietly, and let the funds roll in. I'm simplifying, but that's the basic premise. According to Graham, the hardest part about being an investor is remembering you can't predict the future and that you should be investing, not gambling.
Sounds basic, right? And yet, The Intelligent Investor provides example after example after example of real life people in real life periods throughout history that made the gambler's error, and over the course of this book one begins to pick up the simple fact that common sense is not actually all that common. Oh, and interestingly enough, this book has quite the comical side, as the author throws around a fair bit of wit. Prepare to chuckle on occasion.
I'd highly recommend this book to anyone thinking about investing in the stock market, but I really can't think of any other reason to read this book. It's a highly specialized piece of reading material (not that I expected any less) but it absolutely owns its area of expertise. I swayed between 4 and 5 stars on this one, but I ended up going with the 4 because the book is a tad dated and can run a bit dry in the details (that 25% I mentioned earlier). A commentary section is needed after each chapter to clarify/clear up what has changed since Graham first wrote this book, and I enjoyed that commentary often times more than the actual chapter itself. For that reason, I went the 4-star route, since I'm not allowed to give 4.5 or anything in between. Still an amazing work though!
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