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The Einstein of Money -The Life and Timeless Financial Wisdom of Benjamin Graham


Kraven
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[amazonsearch]Einstein of Money:  The Life and Timeless Financial Wisdom of Benjamin Graham[/amazonsearch]

 

As a huge Graham fan I was really looking forward to this book.  I mean other than Janet Lowe and one or 2 others, who has even written about Graham in years?  The reality is that there hasn't been that much written about him.  So a new book on Graham, I was all over that.

 

I have to say it's somewhat disappointing.  I was expecting fireworks and got one of those little snappers.  I would recommend the book for one of 2 types of people:  (1) Those with no real knowledge about Graham who would like an introduction or (2) Graham nuts, like me, who would read anything that came out about him.  I guess a possible 3rd group are the Buffett fans who want to read anything he says.  The author did get an interview with Buffett and some other people so there are some new Buffett quotes in here, although nothing earth shattering or that strikes me as actually "new".

 

The book is set up as part biography and part discussion of Graham's methods and place in the investing world.  The biography is more or less a summary of Graham's autobiograhpy, the Kahn and Milne short piece from 1977, and a few parts from Lowenstein's and Schroder's Buffett books.  What I found interesting about it is that he did get interviews with Graham's daughter (now deceased) and some others who knew him.  That kind of stuff layered in was worth the read. 

 

The other part of the book, Graham's methods, etc. is less satisfying and brings up another complaint about the book.  It is poorly written and there are mistakes.  For example, the author discusses how Graham "employed regularly" the DCF method.  Which of course he didn't use at all.  It discusses how he found his investments based on his "screens"  - the defensive and enterprising investor criteria set out in the The Intelligent Investor - which weren't what he used exclusively or at all earlier in his career, but were intended as rules of thumb for the less initiated.  Whole chapters are given to Mr. Market, etc.

 

One thing that really bugged me was how everytime he mentions someone he re-introduces them.  He refers to Jason Zweig as a "noted value investor" and that his treatment of The Intelligent Investor is brilliant (butchered in my view).  Pat Dorsey is referred to repeatedly as a young, value investor (as opposed to a middle aged guy).  Everyone is a "noted" something.

 

The writing is strange in parts.  After discussing Graham's divorce from his 1st wife Hazel the author mentions how Graham spent more time with his brothers and mother in one sentence.  Then the next sentence is "Considering that Dora Graham was robbed and murdered on her way home from a bridge game in 1944, it is fortunate for Graham that he had the opportunity to spend more time with his mother in the early 1940s."  Very breezy. 

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Unfortunately, I have already bought it!

Anyway, thank you for posting: it was at the top of my pile... now it will go to the bottom!

 

giofranchi

 

It's a pretty quick read and you can kind of skim through it.  I don't know how much you know about Graham.  If you are looking to just get some background on his life, it's worth the read.  In terms of background on his philosophy about investing, that's ok too.  When it gets more granular it runs into problems.  If you accept that the writing isn't great and that he quotes from illustrious sources like Guru Focus articles, it's ok.  It's like a big summer action move.  If you go into it expecting art, you will be disappointed.  If you expect to be entertained and eat some popcorn and get out of the heat outside, you'll be ok.

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Well, I have read The Intelligent Investor and I am always trying to find the time to read Security Analysis from start to finish. Although I keep reading parts of it, I have never really had the time to read Security Analysis from the first page to the last! Of course, I have also read many papers on Mr. Graham, but they are all centered on his investing ideas.

Instead, I was curious to know something about his life! And “The Einstein of Money” seemed to be ok… I will give it a try!

Thank you,

 

giofranchi

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If I've read Memoirs, do I need to skip this book?  TIA.

 

If you already understand Graham's investment philosophy (and you probably do if you read Memoirs) then there is really only a couple reasons to read this.  One, the author did get some good interviews with a number of people like Graham's late daughter, Buffett, etc.  But it doesn't really add anything to what you would already know except at the margins.  It is interesting though to read those new tidbits if you have the time.  And, two, if you are one of the few and proud who would read anything new that comes out on Graham, this isn't a waste of time, it's just not a fantastic read either.  So the short answer is no, you probably don't need to, but you might or might not want to.

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Hey Guys-

 

I came across this "Letter to the Editor" from Ben Graham's granddaughter and thought you would

enjoy her take on the book!

 

"A Soft Side of the Einstein of Money"

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443759504577631612009640248.html

 

enjoy

 

Thanks for posting.  I would say that "relentless womanizer" is probably an apt description of Graham in his youth (i.e. prior to around 60!).

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