The Intelligent Investor, Rev. Ed by Benjamin Graham
  • Title: The Intelligent Investor, Rev. Ed
  • Subtitle: The Definitive Book on Value Investing
  • Author(s): Benjamin Graham
  • Publisher: Harper Collins
  • Year: 2009-03-17
  • ISBN-10: 0061745170
  • ISBN-13: 9780061745171


The Intelligent Investor, Rev. Ed” by Benjamin Graham is a timeless classic that serves as a guide to intelligent investing. Written with the intention of teaching readers how to approach the stock market intelligently, Graham imparts his wisdom and experience from his career as a successful investor and professor. In this revised edition, author Jason Zweig provides valuable commentary and updates to ensure the book remains relevant for modern investors.

Graham’s main focus is on value investing, where he emphasizes the importance of fundamental analysis and buying stocks at a discount to their intrinsic value. He shares his strategies for analyzing companies and their financial statements, offering readers a comprehensive understanding of how to make informed investment decisions. Additionally, the book delves into the psychological aspect of investing, highlighting the importance of managing one’s emotions and avoiding unwise speculation. With its straightforward and practical advice, “The Intelligent Investor” is a must-read for anyone looking to navigate the unpredictable world of investing with confidence and intelligence.

Book Review

“The Intelligent Investor, Rev. Ed” by Benjamin Graham is widely regarded as one of the most influential investment books of all time. First published in 1949, this revised edition maintains its relevance, thanks to the insightful commentary and updates provided by author Jason Zweig. Graham, an accomplished investor and professor, shares his timeless wisdom, practical advice, and strategies to help readers approach the stock market intelligently.

Graham’s core message revolves around the concept of value investing, which focuses on the long-term fundamentals of a company rather than short-term market fluctuations. By emphasizing the importance of buying stocks at a discount to their intrinsic value, the book teaches readers how to identify investment opportunities that can generate consistent returns over time.

Throughout the book, Graham repeatedly stresses the significance of analyzing a company’s financial statements to gain a deep understanding of its true value. He introduces several key concepts and techniques that serve as valuable tools for investors. One such concept, the “Margin of Safety,” highlights the need to invest in stocks that provide a significant cushion against potential losses. He illustrates this with the example of purchasing a house, where one would not pay the full market price but instead negotiate for a lower price in order to protect against unexpected downturns.

To further emphasize his point, Graham discusses the difference between investing and speculation. Drawing on the famous allegory of Mr. Market, he explains that stock market prices fluctuate wildly due to the emotions of investors, often creating opportunities for value investors to exploit. Graham advises readers to approach the market as a business owner, not as a gambler, and to remain disciplined rather than succumbing to the market’s short-term trends and fluctuations.

One of the outstanding aspects of “The Intelligent Investor” is its ability to address the psychological component of investing. Graham recognizes that investors are susceptible to fear and greed, which can steer them away from logical and rational decision-making. He stresses the importance of maintaining emotional discipline, advocating a patient, long-term approach to investing. In doing so, he helps readers develop the required temperament to withstand market volatility and make sound investment decisions.

Additionally, the book offers valuable insights into various investment strategies and approaches. Graham introduces the concept of defensive investing, which involves identifying stocks of companies with stable earnings and a history of dividend payments. He also discusses the concept of dollar-cost averaging, where investors consistently invest a fixed amount of money at regular intervals, regardless of market conditions. By elaborating on these strategies, Graham helps investors avoid overemphasis on market timing and focus on building a solid portfolio over time.

While learning investment techniques is crucial, Graham acknowledges that individual investors may lack the resources and expertise to conduct in-depth analysis on every stock. Therefore, he introduces the idea of using index funds as a viable option for the average investor. Graham argues that by investing in a diversified portfolio of low-cost index funds, individuals can achieve satisfactory returns while reducing risk and minimizing the need for detailed company analysis.

In conclusion, “The Intelligent Investor, Rev. Ed” is an exemplary book that provides timeless wisdom and guidance for intelligent investing. Benjamin Graham’s emphasis on value investing, analysis of financial statements, avoidance of speculation, and management of emotions offer a solid foundation for investors of all experience levels. Despite the passage of time, this revised edition, complemented by the insights of Jason Zweig, ensures its continued relevance and importance. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to navigate the complex world of investing with intelligence and confidence.

Word Count: 597

Key Ideas

“The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham is considered one of the foundational texts on value investing and offers timeless principles for successful investing. Here are the key ideas from the book:

  1. Investment vs. Speculation Graham distinguishes between investment and speculation. He defines an investor as someone who analyzes stocks as pieces of a business and seeks a margin of safety in their investments. Speculators, on the other hand, focus on price movements and often take unnecessary risks.

  2. Margin of Safety This concept is central to Graham’s philosophy. He advises investors to only purchase stocks when they are trading below their intrinsic value, providing a margin of safety in case of market downturns.

  3. Mr. Market Graham introduces the metaphor of Mr. Market, a fictional character who offers to buy or sell stocks every day at different prices. Instead of following Mr. Market’s emotional fluctuations, Graham advises investors to use his offers as opportunities to buy low and sell high.

  4. Long-Term Perspective Graham encourages investors to take a long-term view of their investments. He emphasizes that short-term market fluctuations are often irrational and should not dictate investment decisions.

  5. Diversification Graham advocates for diversification to reduce risk. By spreading investments across various asset classes and industries, investors can mitigate the impact of poor-performing stocks.

  6. The Defensive Investor vs. the Enterprising Investor Graham distinguishes between two types of investors. The defensive investor prefers a passive, low-risk approach and is content with average returns. The enterprising investor is willing to put in more effort to achieve above-average returns by actively researching and selecting stocks.

  7. Stock Selection Graham provides specific criteria for stock selection, such as a company’s financial stability, earnings consistency, and a reasonable price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. He also introduces the concept of the “Graham Number” to identify undervalued stocks.

  8. Market Fluctuations Graham acknowledges that market fluctuations are inevitable. He advises investors to take advantage of market downturns by buying quality stocks at discounted prices and to be cautious when markets are overheated.

  9. Intrinsic Value Graham’s investment approach is based on calculating the intrinsic value of a stock, which represents its true worth. Investors should buy stocks when they are trading below their intrinsic value and sell when they are significantly overvalued.

  10. Behavioral Psychology Graham emphasizes the role of psychology in investing. He warns against succumbing to fear and greed, which can lead to impulsive decisions and losses.

  11. Active vs. Passive Investing Graham’s principles support both active and passive investing. While he encourages active stock selection for those with the skills and inclination, he also recognizes the value of passive investing through low-cost index funds.

  12. Margin Trading Graham strongly advises against margin trading, where investors borrow money to buy stocks. He considers it a risky practice that can lead to substantial losses.

  13. Investment vs. Speculation Graham stresses the importance of distinguishing between investing and speculation. Investors should focus on the fundamentals of companies and their intrinsic values, rather than trying to predict short-term market movements.

  14. Continuous Learning Graham encourages investors to continually educate themselves about financial markets and investment principles. He acknowledges that the investment landscape evolves and that successful investors adapt to changing conditions.

In summary, “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham offers a comprehensive guide to value investing. Its key ideas promote a disciplined and rational approach to investing that focuses on intrinsic value, risk management, and a long-term perspective. Graham’s timeless principles have influenced generations of investors and continue to be widely respected in the world of finance.

Target Audience

The book, “The Intelligent Investor, Rev. Ed” by Benjamin Graham, targets a broad audience interested in the field of investing and personal finance. It is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • Individual Investors This book is ideal for individuals who want to take control of their finances and make intelligent investment decisions. Graham’s teachings provide a solid foundation for understanding the principles of value investing, analyzing financial statements, and avoiding common pitfalls.

  • Novice Investors For those new to investing, “The Intelligent Investor” serves as an excellent starting point. Graham’s approachable language and practical examples make complex concepts understandable and applicable. Novice investors will learn important lessons on how to evaluate stocks, diversify portfolios, and manage their emotions in the face of market fluctuations.

  • Finance Professionals and Students Finance professionals and students aiming to deepen their understanding of investment strategies and principles will find immense value in this book. Graham’s insights into fundamental analysis and value investing have provided the groundwork for many successful investors over the years. By studying his teachings, finance professionals and students can enhance their decision-making abilities and develop a long-term investment mindset.

  • Long-Term Investors Investors with a long-term perspective seeking to build wealth steadily will appreciate the guidance provided by “The Intelligent Investor.” The book encourages patience, discipline, and a focus on intrinsic value rather than short-term market trends. It helps investors adopt a conservative approach aimed at preserving capital and achieving sustainable returns over time.

  • Financial Advisors The book serves as an excellent resource for financial advisors who wish to enhance their knowledge and provide sound advice to their clients. By incorporating Graham’s principles, advisors can offer a diversified and value-driven investment approach, aligning their clients’ goals with intelligent investment strategies.

In conclusion, “The Intelligent Investor, Rev. Ed” is recommended reading for a diverse range of audiences. Its timeless teachings and practical advice make it suitable for individual investors, novice investors, finance professionals and students, long-term investors, and financial advisors. By delving into the principles of value investing, analysis of financial statements, and emotional discipline, readers can acquire the knowledge and mindset necessary to make intelligent investment decisions and build long-term wealth.