... but the important thing is that when you do find one where you really do know what you are doing, you must buy in quantity.... Charlie and I have made a dozen or so very big decisions relative to net worth, although not as big as they should have been. And in each of those, we've known that we were almost certain to be right going in.
There are three important principles to Graham's approach. [The first is to look at stocks as fractional shares of a business, which] gives you an entirely different view than most people who are in the market. [The second principle is the margin-of-safety concept, which] gives you the competitive advantage. [The third is having a true investor's attitude toward the stock market, which] if you have that attitude, you start out ahead of 99 percent of all the people who are operating in the stock market - it's an enormous advantage.
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The strategy we've adopted precludes our following standard diversification dogma. Many pundits would therefore say the strategy must be riskier than that employed by more conventional investors. We disagree. We believe that a policy of portfolio concentration may well decrease risk if it raises, as it should, both the intensity with which an investor thinks about a business and the comfort-level he must feel with its economic characteristics before buying into it.
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A pin lies in wait for every bubble. And when the two eventually meet, a new wave of investors learns some very old lessons: First, many in Wall Street (a community in which quality control is not prized) will sell investors anything they will buy. Second, speculation is most dangerous when it looks easiest
To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information. What's needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework. You must supply the emotional discipline.
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The value of market esoterica to the consumer of investment advice is a different story. In my opinion, investment success will not be produced by arcane formulae, computer programs or signals flashed by the price behavior of stocks and markets. Rather an investor will succeed by coupling good business judgment with an ability to insulate his thoughts and behavior from the super-contagious emotions that swirl about the marketplace.
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You ought to be able to explain why you're taking the job you're taking, why you're making the investment you're making, or whatever it may be. And if it can't stand applying pencil to paper, you'd better think it through some more. And if you can't write an intelligent answer to those questions, don't do it.
I never buy anything unless I can fill out on a piece of paper my reasons. I may be wrong, but I would know the answer to that ...I'm paying $32 billion today for the Coca Cola Company because... If you can't answer that question, you shouldn't buy it. If you can answer that question, and you do it a few times, you'll make a lot of money.
The speed at which a business success is recognized, furthermore, is not that important as long as the company's intrinsic value is increasing at a satisfactory rate. In fact, delayed recognition can be an advantage: It may give us the chance to buy more of a good thing at a bargain price.
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Time is the friend of the wonderful business. It's the enemy of the lousy business. If you're in a lousy business for a long time, you're going to get a lousy result, even if you buy it cheap. If you're in a wonderful business for a long time, even if you pay a little too much going in, you're going to get a wonderful result if you stay in a long time.
Yeah, we don't consider many stupid things. I mean, we get rid of 'em fast...Just getting rid of the nonsense -- just figuring out that if people call you and say, 'I've got this great, wonderful idea', you don't spend 10 minutes once you know in the first sentence that it isn't a great, wonderful idea...Don't be polite and go through the whole process.