One of our favorite investors here at The Acquirer’s Multiple is Seth Klarman and one of the best articles ever written by Klarman is the comprehensive preface that he wrote in the 6th Edition of the value investing bible, Security Analysis. In his closing thoughts Klarman explains that as long as human beings chase instant wealth and effortless gain, value investing will remain. Klarman also makes the point that the real secret to investing is that there is no secret to investing
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Here’s an excerpt from the book:
In a rising market, everyone makes money and a value philosophy is unnecessary. But because there is no certain way to predict what the market will do, one must follow a value philosophy at all times. By controlling risk and limiting loss through extensive fundamental analysis, strict discipline, and endless patience, value investors can expect good results with limited downside.
You may not get rich quick, but you will keep what you have, and if the future of value investing resembles its past, you are likely to get rich slowly. As investment strategies go, this is the most that any reasonable investor can hope for.
The real secret to investing is that there is no secret to investing. Every important aspect of value investing has been made available to the public many times over, beginning in 1934 with the first edition of Security Analysis. That so many people fail to follow this timeless and almost foolproof approach enables those who adopt it to remain successful.
The foibles of human nature that result in the mass pursuit of instant wealth and effortless gain seem certain to be with us forever. So long as people succumb to this aspect of their natures, value investing will remain, as it has been for 75 years, a sound and low-risk approach to successful long-term investing.