Book Review: Benjamin Graham Building A Profession by Jason Zweig


Being a loyal value investor I have read the The Intelligent Investor and Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham. The books are literally the abridged version of the bible and the bible respectively, on value investing. The books contain Benjamin Graham’s ideas on investment in stocks, bonds and other securities.

Unfortunately Graham wrote many more interesting articles in various publications that are now inaccessible to most people. I found some interesting old writings of Graham which I have posted on my website Value Walk Resource Page if anyone cares to see them. They include 10 lectures Graham gave in Columbia University, his appearance before the Senate in 1954, and the Graham-Newton Partnership letters. However, I was very excited when Jason Zweig came out with a book dedicated to various articles written by Graham spanning his career on Wall Street. The book is titled Benjamin Graham, Building a Profession : The Early Writings of the Father of Security Analysis. Zweig compiled many of Graham’s writings with a bit of his own commentary on them.

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I was also excited to read the book because I love Jason Zweig’s writing. Here is a brief bio of the author from for anyone who has not heard of Jason Zewig. Jason Zweig is an investing and personal finance columnist for The Wall Street Journal. Previously, he was a senior writer at Money magazine, mutual-funds editor at Forbes magazine, and a guest columnist for Time and He is the editor of the revised edition of Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor, the classic text that Warren Buffett has called “by far the best book about investing ever written.” Zweig serves on the editorial boards of Financial History magazine and The Journal of Behavioral Finance.

Zweig decides the culture on Wall Street when Graham came to the profession. It was one of high speculation, people would invest based on what the hot stock was and did little if any analysis into stocks. Graham was very critical of Wall Street for putting their selfish interests ahead of the interests of the common investor. Graham was an early proponent for investor rights. Graham also believed that the advice (even when not selfish) offered to investors was foolish and speculative.

I cannot review the whole book because it is really a collection of various essays, but I will list some of the book discusses, and discuss the most interesting aspect of the book.
• “Should Security Analysts Have a Professional Rating? The Affirmative Case”
Financial Analysts Journal (1945)
• “Toward a Science of Security Analysis”
Financial Analysts Journal (1952)
• “Inflated Treasuries and Deflated Stockholders: Are Corporations Milking Their Owners?”
Forbes (1932)
• “The Future of Financial Analysis”
Financial Analysts Journal (1963)
• “Controlling versus Outside Stockholders”
Virginia Law Weekly (1953)

One of the most interesting aspect books was a case study Graham did on US Steel in 1937. He asked how one can calculate whether the stock was undervalued or not. Is the stock cheap because it is trading at 80 and:
1. Normalized earnings are $13 per share?
2. It is cheaper than the broad stock market?
3. Next year earnings will increase?
4. During the previous two bull markets the stock went far higher than $80 per share?
I wrote a more detailed article on this case study on my website if you want to check out more in depth Benjamin Graham: US Steel Case Study(1937)

Another chapter I enjoyed contained was two interviews conducted with Benjamin Graham in the mid 1970s right before his death in 1976.

To read the rest of this article on GuruFocus Click Here.

To purchase the book on click on the following link Benjamin Graham, Building a Profession: The Early Writings of the Father of Security Analysis

Disclosure: I receive free books from book publishers asking me to review them. In addition I sometimes request specific books that look interesting. I try to review the books that I think will be the most interesting. I have a material connection because I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. In addition I receive a small commission if you click on the above link and buy the book (or anything else) from It does not cost you a penny more. So I get a commission, Amazon gets a sale, and you get your book so it is a win for everyone.

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