Collection of Benjamin Graham's Papers: Common Sense Investing ~ market folly

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Collection of Benjamin Graham's Papers: Common Sense Investing

Valuehuntr just posted up an excellent compilation of papers by Benjamin Graham from 1930 to 1974. Graham, the author of pioneer value investing books such as Security Analysis and The Intelligent Investor, also penned numerous papers that were not included in his books.

The piece starts with a brilliant comparison of investment versus speculation. Graham writes that, "It is indeed ironical (though not surprising) that common-stock purchases of all kinds were quite generally regarded as highly speculative or risky at a time when they were selling on a most attractive basis, and due soon to begin their greatest advance in history; conversely the very fact they had advanced to what were undoubtedly dangerous levels as judged by past experience later transformed them into 'investments' and the entire stock-buying public into 'investors'."

It's fascinating how early on Graham was able to pick up on a trend that still entangles investors today. The general investing public seems most prone to buy when they're comfortable with the markets, buying 'high' when instead they should be examining their complacency and doing the exact opposite.

Equally disappointing, Graham observes, was the inability for many investors to purchase stocks when they were trading at the largest discounts. This comes down to human emotion interfering as greed and fear get in the way of rational decision making. The most intriguing thing about all this is that behavior Graham identified decades ago still holds true today.

Embedded below courtesy of Valuehuntr is Common Sense Investing: The Papers of Benjamin Graham:

You can download a .pdf copy here.

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