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The Memoirs of Walter J. Schloss: A Personal and Family History - Walter Schloss


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[amazonsearch]The Memoirs of Walter J. Schloss[/amazonsearch]

 

Walter Schloss was an amazing man.  I have even more respect for him after reading his autobiography.  Not only was he a fantastic money manager for his investors, he managed a non-profit endowment, came from a hard working family, and volunteered for the Army during WWII. 

 

Walter J. Schloss’ autobiography is revealing as to what he found important.  In addition to writing about Schloss Associates (and including a few key letters from Ben Graham and Warren Buffett) he writes about his insights and philosophies and some financial misjudgments that his parents and grandparents made in hopes that his grandchildren and future generations will learn from the stories and prosper.

 

He writes about his ancestry going all the way back to his great grandfather in 1798 in Bavaria, his grandfather coming to America in 1868, and his grandfather’s early textile related business that was a victim of a corrupt bookkeeper.  Walter’s dad similarly got duped in 1920 with a crystal radio manufacturing venture when he partnered with a man with a prison record.

 

He writes about growing up in New York and how the experiences he had shaped him.  I enjoyed the stories about how, after graduating from high school, he discovered Ben Graham and took his classes.  He said that many  “Wall Street big shots – like Gus Levy, the head of Goldman Sachs” – would attend Graham’s classes, and buy the stocks he recommended…”Graham was giving away free stock tips”.

 

He volunteered to enlist in the Army during World War II.  He was sent overseas to Iran to develop a better way of getting supplies to the Russians since German airplanes and submarines were sinking American ships delivering aid to the Russians.  His unit worked mostly on the communications part of the effort sending supplies around the Cape of Good Hope and up through the Persian Gulf.  While he was in the Army, he made recommendations on training that impressed his superiors, and for that he was moved to a position in the Pentagon where he finished his wartime service.

 

While in the Army, he corresponded with Ben Graham and went to work for Ben after the war ended.  He shared when he worked for Ben that he was in Ben’s office when Ben got the call saying his bid for half of Geico was accepted.  Ben said to Walter “Walter, if it doesn’t work out, we can always liquidate it and get our money back.”

 

When Ben Graham retired, Walter started his own firm.  In addition to sharing his approach to investing, he shared why he is a true value investor….”I type on an old upright Underwood typewriter.  I like to buy suits on sale.  I take public transportation.  I shine my own shoes.  I like iceberg lettuce.  I buy stocks that go down before going up.  I don’t lie awake at night trying to predict what the market will do.  I get a haircut when the market drops precipitously.  I bring my own Scotch tape to the post office.  I think First Call means that lunch has arrived”.  He includes vintage correspondence between him and Ben Graham, and Warren Buffett

 

I like his life philosophy of doing what you want and not worrying.  And that luck is a part of life, and in addition one needs to make their own luck.

 

He also discusses that he has managed the endowment for Freedom House which is a bipartisan human rights organization founded in 1941 by Wendell Willkie and Eleanor Roosevelt, among others.

 

If you are a fan of Walter Schloss I recommend reading his autobiography.  He writes in a style like he is talking directly to you, and you will benefit from the many insights he shares.

 

 

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May I ask where you found a copy of it?  I have looked everywhere for it and have not been able to find it.  My understanding is that it was published just for the family although some copies have gotten out.  I would love to read it.

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They are tough to get.  I bought a copy a couple of years ago on Amazon.  Prior to that I tried to get one via an interlibrary loan, which didn't work (and my library is great, I've gotten Margin of Safety, and some other hard to get investing books via interlibrary loans).

 

Both Amazon and eBay have features where you can input a book's title and they will alert you if it becomes available.

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Does the book have an ISBN number? I tried to find it at the Library of Congress and it didn't return any results!

 

The only reference to an ISBN from a website lists it as "null".

 

I don't believe it is actually a "published" book.  As I mentioned above, I am pretty sure it was written specifically for the Schloss family.  Obviously some copies got out somehow, but it wasn't intended to be distributed to the public and thus no ISBN number and why it isn't at the Library of Congress.  I would love to read it though.

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The book is hard to find, here are some suggestions...

 

I bought the book on Amazon a couple of years ago. And prior to that I tried to get one via an interlibrary loan and had no luck (my library is usually great at getting hard to find value investing books, e.g. Seth Klarman's Margin of Safety).

 

I would recommend monitoring Amazon and eBay, and I see one is currently available on eBay....

 

eBay:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/The-Memoirs-of-Walter-J-Schloss-Warren-Buffetts-Superinvestor-Friend-/160750024859?pt=US_Nonfiction_Book&hash=item256d72b89b

 

Amazon:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Walter-J-Schloss-Personal/dp/B000N490NQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1331062132&sr=8-2

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The book is hard to find, here are some suggestions...

 

I bought the book on Amazon a couple of years ago. And prior to that I tried to get one via an interlibrary loan and had no luck (my library is usually great at getting hard to find value investing books, e.g. Seth Klarman's Margin of Safety).

 

I would recommend monitoring Amazon and eBay, and I see one is currently available on eBay....

 

eBay:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/The-Memoirs-of-Walter-J-Schloss-Warren-Buffetts-Superinvestor-Friend-/160750024859?pt=US_Nonfiction_Book&hash=item256d72b89b

 

Amazon:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Walter-J-Schloss-Personal/dp/B000N490NQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1331062132&sr=8-2

 

The one on Ebay went last night for an unbelievable $1,026.99.  Schloss fans are waving the flag.  I would still love to read it someday.

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  • 2 years later...

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