In The Manual of Ideas: The Proven Framework For Finding the Best Value Investments, author John Mihaljevic manages to describe, in a relatively concise manner, both an underlying framework through which to view all potential investment opportunities, and a full nine different aspects of value investing from completely separate schools of thought. In only 292 pages, Mihaljevic condenses the accumulated knowledge of more than 100 top fund managers, and explains these money-making ideas in terms that anyone smart enough to properly analyze a stock could understand.

The Manual of Ideas Book Review

Starting on the first page, Mihaljevic’s hardback plunges the reader into the shoes of a highly successful investor. Mihlajevic forces the reader both to ask himself “What Do I Want to Own?” and to “Cast Yourself in the Role of Capital Allocator.” The purpose of this entire first chapter, as indicated in the title, is to provide the reader with a powerful attitude, or mentality, about investment.

Mihlajevic utilizes case studies, quotes, and logic to persuade the reader

Rather than approaching stocks from a purely academic standpoint (such as reading the risk-reward graphs, determining the volatility of the stock, and considering the market to be completely efficient), Mihlajevic utilizes case studies, quotes, and logic to persuade the reader that investing is a deeply personal, rather than detached, pursuit.

The professional investor, Mihlajevic argues, must take responsibility for every decision and “carve out a personal way to investment success.” He reasons that if an investor buys stocks when others are buying, then he will, by virtue of market correction, never get the best deals. Thus, if an investor ever wants Warren Buffet’s level of success, he must adopt a unique approach that actually differs from the one Buffet uses. Otherwise, that investor might as well give Buffet a large sum of money and rely on Buffet to handle the rest.

After Mihlajevic lays down this groundwork, he spends the rest of the book fully explaining the core concepts of value investing that have been repeatedly proven to make profits over time. To his credit, Mihlajevic incorporates the advice and opinions of over 100 influential investors in every section. As a result of his extensive interview process, Mihlajevic’s understands extremely complex concepts that span the entirety of stock analysis to an extent that he can communicate their relevance in a simplified terms. Furthermore, he bolsters these succinct explanations with quotes and empirical examples.

I am unequivocally impressed at the scope of Mihlajevic’s work and the educational value contained in each page. With each new chapter, the reader is shown an entirely different way of looking at the value of an investment. Mihlajevic covers Graham-style bargains, sum-of-the-parts value, Greenblatt’s good and cheap criteria, jockey stocks, superinvestor portfolios, small- and micro-caps, event-driven investments, leveraged companies, and international value investments.

The Manual of Ideas is the first of its kind

The reader sets down The Manual of Ideas with both a new way of approaching investment as a profession and an extensive set of skills and tools that allow him to adapt how he evaluates a stock based on the situation at hand. Rather than developing a rigid, unchanging method of analysis, the professional investor, educated by Mihlajevic’s cornucopia of systems, creates his own, fluid style.

The Manual of Ideas is the first of its kind: a book that successfully consolidates the ideas of value investing’s best thinkers. Instead of only detailing the concepts of one philosophy or outlining the life of the individual who pioneered that way of thinking, Mihlajevic’s book has the potential to transform even the previously uneducated investor into a profit-making machine.