An excellent HBO 90-minute special on Buffett. Even if you are sick of hearing about Buffett, this is an excellent video.  Susan Buffett, wife of Warren, “He was reading ALL THE TIME.”

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Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt

Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard Rumelt

A book on strategy

The above book is an excellent primer on how to view company presentations on their future plans/strategy.   There are not many good books on strategy, but this is one.  View: I would trade 100 Good to Great books for one of the above.

Analyst Course - Readers' Suggestions

I would be extremely interested in analyst course you put together especially with emphasis on lots of case studies from the superinvestors used to teach the principles of valuation. I stumbled upon the course schedules of Mentals models course at Columbia University which could help you in your effort to design the course. Please find attached: mental-models-columbia-gbs-2012-syllabus

As Warren Buffet says there should be just two courses taught in valuation

  1. How to value a Business
  2. How to think about market prices

I think for most of us who are not in the field professionally, we can read all about investing in theory from books and articles but lack the practical experience and applications.  So actively doing the case studies and having the critique and feedback would be great for this course. Otherwise, we are on our own with no one to tell us how to improve or where we went wrong and what was missed.

Sharing and demonstrating how certain things are done/calculated would be great help for myself who is a kinesthetic learner and learn best through doing it practically.

Hey John, I’m very interested in the analyst course. I’ve been reading several books on improving skills i.e Cal Newport’s books, Talent Code etc by looking at various domain i.e chess, music etc where the best does it through deliberate practice and I think in investing domain there has been a lack of these structured learning, although all the case studies you’ve presented here are a great starting point.

Maybe another point which can be included in the course could be method of analysis for some key sectors like banks, insurance, Oi and Gas E&P. It could be helpful if we could get sector special books like Sam Walton for retail etc. helps in understanding key points of the sector

I pick Warren Buffett as the first investment master to imitate. Reading his letter (‘Complete Buffett Partnership Letters 1957 to 1970’ and ‘Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders’ ) to understand ‘what actually done by him’ and followed by additional reading (sources: ie / You Tube / Books such as ‘The Intelligent Investor’, ‘Security Analysis’, ‘BUFFETT The Making of an American capitalist’, ‘ Warren Buffett Speaks-Wit and Wisdom from the World Greatest Investor’, ‘Inside the Investments of Warren Buffett’ and etc ) to understand the rational or whatever be discussed about his action. Later put the knowledge into practice and learning from own mistakes.

Thereafter I would adopt the same learning method on other investment master such as Mohnish Pabrai and Howard Marks.

The primary intention is to truly understand the investment philosophy behind them by knowing the gap (or difference), if any, between the saying and the action.

It’s an interesting idea. A few thoughts from my end: – You could organize each section to teach a fundamental skill or lesson and then have a case study that requires you to understand that lesson in-depth. – As part of the course, students should have to create at least one succinct pitch for a stock. – There could be sub-groups that are assigned that work together, offer each other feedback, etc. – Rather than charge for the course, you could have students commit to doing the work with one of the habit-forming/public-contract sites (i.e. stickk, beeminder)

Can we actually look at some current case studies?  Maybe reverse engineer the rationale for buying by some of the greats?

This sounds like an awesome idea. I have been trying to go back and read the Deep Value course this group was supposedly made for. I am going through the stuff slowly but there is some conflicting information. It will be great if we can have some course which puts everything together.

I would put something in there on developing qualitative theories behind investment decisions. How best to vet management, employees, and other stakeholders such as upstream and downstream participants. Most people on this site I would assume wouldn’t have direct access like major investors and sell side analysts do, so developing a theory on how to mimic these interactions through information sources would be a benefit. 

basic quantitative research might be a good value add also. Paying some of these sites multiple thousands of dollars for basic search criteria is frustrating, when basic developed quant and programming skills could replace them. And the ability to automate many processes would be a good point to. I guess this falls into the “improving you” section. 

I never got through the Best Practices of Equity Research Analysts, but there’s probably a structure in there to model off of. 

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Definitely a module of one-on-one interviews or presentations major investors have given at events like value investing congress would be good for putting positions in perspective. Also, since not everyone here would be a PM at a 10B hedge fund, investing across asset classes and differently sized capitalizations is very important. If Buffett is correct, then all of us managing less than 5M should be able to return 50% Let’s put that to the test. Let’s build portfolios together and give critique, as we go through the process and the modules. Maybe assigning people committed to doing the modules to working groups would benefit that process too. Applying as we go is probably the best way to reinforce the material, so it’s not just something learned and reviewed, and then forgotten. Studying for the CFA, I learned a tremendous amount of information, however I haven’t had to apply 95% of it to my work, so it’s nearly all forgotten unless I go back to heavily review.

Lastly, I would do a module on investing in different industries. Since investing in financials is not like investing in medical devices. What are the key metrics, kpi’s to these businesses. What are the nuances of investing in each of these industries since they are unique. 

If you needed any help in construction I would be willing to participate. I’m currently leaving my company, and actively searching and networking for a new career path on the asset management track, so I will have the time and interest.