Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings
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Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  1,568 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Widely respected and admired, Philip Fisher is among the most influential investors of all time. His investment philosophies, introduced almost forty years ago, are not only studied and applied by today's financiers and investors, but are also regarded by many as gospel. This book is invaluable reading and has been since it was first published in 1958. The updated paperbac...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published August 29th 2003 by John Wiley & Sons (first published November 30th 1957)
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When I first discovered my interest in investing, Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits is one of the first books I read. I remember being enthralled by the notion of taking what seemed incomprehensible and boiling it down to a simple decision--invest or not. Fisher's approach requires common sense and conviction, but most importantly, is repeatable.

There are many awful "investing" books out there that seize on people's need to be cutting edge and innovative. Well, not everything changes every year...more
Isaac Breese
Common Stocks And Uncommon Profits by Philip A. Fisher is a book about investments and how to be successful when investing in stocks. Fisher divides his book into three parts. First with common stocks, conservative investments, and developing an investment philosophy. In these sections Fisher emphasizes what to look for in a growth stock, the characteristics of a profitable business, and how his experiences in the stock market helped to develop his own philosophy.
There are many things that I...more
The great investor Phillip Fisher wrote this book more than fifty years ago.

In this book Mr. Fisher describes interesting ways of acquiring more information about companies that you wish to invest in. He describes how to identify outstanding companies, how to determine companies' competitive advantages, and what to look for when buying a company, as well as when to sell a company and when not to. Don't miss reading part two of the book, "Conservative investors sleep well." This book is a must fo...more
An excellent and thoughtful book on the investing process. It also debunks my previous conception of value investing as going only for old, staid companies, Fisher makes a beeline for the growth-oriented stocks that he thinks will multiply several fold in value over the coming years -- only he won't overpay for them. I like, also, the short autobiography at the end, especially his quotation of Shakespeare: "There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."

This book challenged me given its emphasis on growth investing and the scuttlebutt approach. I think I struggled with it because I prefer the simplicity and inherent beauty of the value investing methodology. I invest by identifying undervalued assets, analyzing measures of profitability, liquidity, solvency, and cash flow. I parse the balance sheet in particular and income statement and cash flow statement to a lesser extent.

Phil Fisher recommends an alternative approach. He prefers to researc...more
Steve Bradshaw
Bland, obvious and somewhat outdated. Disappointing given Warren Buffet's recommendation.

I was hoping for some good ideas on identifying growth franchises that can be backed for long periods of time - most likely the common ground that Buffet finds with Phil Fisher, but instead I found a lot of obvious, MBA-style wisdom, short of real insight. Very little of what is presented is verifiable or backed up with data. The book is particularly dangerous as the basis of an investment manifesto for inve...more
This book contains all 3 books ever (as to my knowledge) written by the legendary Fisher

(1) still on my way through the first book ( common stocks and uncommon profits). it's proposing an 'art' in investing using the method called scuttlebutt ( verbal input from customers, competitors etc). key highlight is the classic 15 points used to evaluate the soundness of a company ( because it's an art, it's more qualitative in nature)

(2) 2nd book is called conservative investors sleep well. it is divid...more
For the investor (not the trader).

This book is actually the title and 2 other writings: Conservative Investors sleep well and Developing an investment philosophy.

The latter is by far the best part of the book because it is a biography of sorts and some real life experiences.

The 1st part is the one that is the most well known and describes ways of judging businesses - the scuttlebutt approach is unlike what most practitioners preach.

The 2nd part describes the nuances of making the decision. N...more
Brentley Campbell
Phil Fisher teaches some amazing lessons in this collection of a few of his writings. I especially enjoyed "Conservative Investors Sleep Well". I was able to add many items to my investment checklist. When viewed through a 'value-lens', many of Fisher's points are highly relevant to a diligent value investor. Additionally, I believe many people misinterpret his thoughts on 'growth' companies because his manufacturing growth companies are very different from what we saw during the tech bubble, wh...more
Now undisputably invstment classic. This book is superb suplement to Ben Graham's Security Analysis. Phil asks us to pay attention to quality of earnings and management and urges us to bet disproportionately on great company. Phil's checklist may help you get extraordinary results rather than medicre ones. I have personally seen advantage of following some of his advice and difference it made in my long term portfolio.
Phil is a great teacher and mentor in the league of Ben Graham. One reason mig...more
Very informative, but also very dry at times. The straight forward manner of writing is probably great for the serious, established investor, but may not be the best for beginners. Also, while the general principles of the book are timeless, the examples and methods of gathering information are rather dated, as to be expected from a book written in the 50's (i.e. "scuttlebutt" could probably just be replaced with "internet" now). Overall I think this is a great book, and probably invaluable for...more
Eugene Yap
This is a book that all beginner investors should read, and all investment professionals should memorise. With very little of those intimidating statistics and maths, i.e. all those scary looking graphs and tables, and channeling no little common and uncommon sense, Fisher makes the case for careful, prudent, sensible and sure investment in the wild, wild mess that is the equity market. Mulling over his stringent criteria for a stock worthy of investment, it occurred to me that if he was alive t...more
I'm not that into finance stuff, so this was pretty dull for me. I was pretty impressed that Fisher wasn't what I consider to be a typical, corporate cold-blooded jerk, though. He puts a lot of value on how companies treat their employees.
The most interesting part is this edition's introduction, which is written by Fisher's son. It's very personal and doesn't paint the nicest picture of his father. It's tough to read a book of financial advice that's been introduced with a detailed explanation...more
Vivek Rajan Vivek
The title says it all. Philip, the son of legendary investor Fisher has written a book that espouses the methods of the god father of modern day investing - Benjamin Graham who happens to be the guru of the wealthiest investor in the world - Warren Buffet, one among a host of other students who have gone on to become very wealthy by following a few simple principles on investing.

The best book in the genre was and still is 'The Intelligent Investor', a gem of a book that will continue to be cheri...more
Quick read and informative. Very interesting writing on the way successful companies work in the 1950's (not massively different to today). Touch of the Horatio Alger to stretches of the prose. Fisher basically says he gets all his information from his stockbroking pals which is bad news for any newbies and once sorta tells you to just go to an investment advisor instead of trying it yourself. His focus on information gather correlates with my experience of how difficult it is to find out about...more
Robert Henrich
In spite of the age of this book, I thought many of Fisher's ideas were quite well founded and visionary. For the small investor, his suggestion of the scuttlebutt approach is rather silly. You simply would not have the type of influence needed to meet with the senior management of your target company. Much of his advice seems like common sense, but I expect that at the time of publication, that it was rather unique. It was good reinforcement of things most investors consider second nature and I...more
The only reason this book is missing that fifth star is because of the author's paragraph structure and writing. The ideas here are golden but I wish that Fisher expressed them more clearly and without awkwardly structured sentences.

Other than that, the investing ideas and techniques designed and illustrated by Fisher are ones that I will carry with me throughout my financial career. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits is a priceless asset that I would recommend to anyone in the investing indust...more
Jan 07, 2008 Anthony rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: value investing type stock pickers
Title is self explanitory. This book goes into detail about sound strategies to picking winning stocks from companies with great management, products, and financials. He prefers to ignore the stock of the day and instead search for out of favor stocks in beaten down industries that have the liklihood of returning to past glory. He expects to find stocks that will double in 5 years and will net him a 15% yearly gain. He favors value investing over momentum investing and is able to stomach downtur...more
Clear explanation of important factors to consider when value investing.
Timothy Chklovski
Not giving Phil Fisher 5-stars is a bit like saying "Renoir sux". Probably reflects more on me than on the author or book.

Still, of the many investment books, this left me least comprehending how to develop confidence in a growth-type company, nor did it delve into non-profitable growth.
One of the most valuable notions may be just that such companies exist -- and make for very rewarding investments.

That said, BYD is likely a "Fisher" company.
This book reads like a classic. It is a collection of well-presented, common-sense investing advice surprisingly applicable after all these years. It focuses on the fundamentals and backs it up with the rationale for its long term success. This is one of those books that need to be read perhaps every few years to remind one's self of the right way to invest for the long run and to resist the often short-term and short-sighted strategies abound.
Phil Spitzer
Phil Fisher describes, in good detail and with examples, the fifteen aspects of a company that make up a solid investment. A conservative investor, his philosophy is basically to never sell his stocks.

Though it was written half a century ago, the principles he describes are still relevant. An excellent book for qualitative investment knowledge.
Tyson Strauser
Fisher's book added to the investment literature most effectively through his practical "scuttlebutt" process for collecting qualitative fundamental data. Today, business models such as Coleman, Guidepoint, and Gerson Lehrman are leading advocates of dissiminating channel information.

This book should be on the shelf of each true student of investing.
Fisher dramatically altered my thoughts on investing. It is a common misperception that Warren Buffett invests like Benjamin Graham. In fact Buffett has stated that he is "85% Fisher and 15% Graham". I think Buffett pays more tribute to Graham because some of Graham's investing principles had such a profound impact on his early development.
Brian Zheng
Buffet credited 15% of his investment philosophy to Fihser, of course the other 85% to Granham. Fisher gave a 15 point evaluation criteria to investigate an investment opportunity. The author is passionate and the book is well written but I feel it's not that easy to follow. You may not feel this at all. A must read for value investor.
Philip Fisher encourages investors to use “scuttlebutt” along with fundamental analysis to find companies that are likely to grow, & then to hold those companies’ stock for long periods of time. Fisher never attempts to prove that this approach is better than others but Warren Buffett’s endorsement is worth something.
Lance Wiggs
Like Casablanca this book seems full of cliches and common knowledge, until you realise that it's the source of all that. I found the forward by Fisher's son to be particularly insightful, and more importantly it tied together a lot of other, later, thinking. Fisher looks at the business before the numbers.
Not personally useful to me as the strategy put forth requires proximity and connections to the executive management class and beyond (scuttlebutt). Nonetheless it seems sound and straightforward, and it does give me some sense of what I'd want from a financial adviser.
The investment advice provided is reasonable and straightforward, but like most good advice the problem is in the execution. However, the writing style is atrocious and the information contained could have been presented in 60% of the space if the writing had been better.
Fritz Van de Kamp
Most of the ideas in this book sound like common sense but if it was that easy we would all be rich. Unfortunately many of his recommendations aren't practical or possible for a common investor such as interviewing executives before making an investment decision.
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Philip Arthur Fisher was an American stock investor best known as the author of Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, a guide to investing that has remained in print ever since it was first published in 1958.

His career began in 1928 when he dropped out of the newly created Stanford Graduate School of Business (later he would return to be one of only three people ever to teach the investment course)...more
More about Philip A. Fisher...
Paths to Wealth Through Common Stocks Conservative investors sleep well Developing an Investment Philosophy Philip Fisher Investment Classics: Collected Works of the Father of Growth Investing The Fisher Genealogy

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