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Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings (Wiley Investment Classics)

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,463 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
"You will find lots of jewels in these pages that may do as much for you as they have for me."-from the Introduction by Kenneth L. Fisher Forbes columnist

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 finance professi
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Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published (first published November 30th 1957)
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Steve Bradshaw
Feb 03, 2012 Steve Bradshaw rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: investment
Bland, obvious and somewhat outdated.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
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Joel
Jul 21, 2014 Joel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Iliya Polihronov
Buy great companies which you never plan to sell. That's the basic concept. The book focuses on and makes some excellent points on the qualitative side of security analysis. It's also a very easy read as quantitive standards aren't really discussed. I will definitely re-read it.
Sean
Apr 06, 2013 Sean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Amir
Apr 09, 2012 Amir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Isaac Breese
Jan 09, 2014 Isaac Breese rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
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
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Caracalla
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
Kaloyan Drenski
Jan 08, 2016 Kaloyan Drenski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: investing, business
Although this book was written almost sixty years ago, the wisdom the legendary investor Philip Fisher shares through it remains of high value to everyone interested in the stock market, and investing as a whole.Honestly, it is a classic, that I also recommend to everyone who's goal is to understand what makes a company great, and how to distinguish it from the mediocre ones out there. It is a book full of wisdom, that will (at least) enlighten you, and help you make a better decisions. As for t ...more
Timothy Chklovski
Feb 23, 2011 Timothy Chklovski rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
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.
Robert
May 28, 2013 Robert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Andrés
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.
Steve
Jun 15, 2015 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dated, not worth reading. I'm sure it was groundbreaking when it was first written, but pretty mundane by any standard today.
Aharon
May 01, 2013 Aharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't think of a better place to discover the best-positioned chemical companies of the late 1950s.
Punit Lohani
Mar 25, 2016 Punit Lohani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Graham is the king of quantitative analysis, then Fisher is the king of qualitative analysis of stocks. Read this book if your aim is to gain several thousand % in the long term by concentrating on few outstanding firms with excellent management. (For example, one could have gained more than 9000% by investing in GRUH Finance ( a subsidiary of HDFC) when it was a small firm in early 2000s)

The book will help you to find future blue chips. Fisher's investing philosophy is focused on investing
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Joao Correia
Sep 26, 2015 Joao Correia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read the Benjamin Graham classics on value investment, and was expecting something similar with "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits", yet it is a completely different book.

Philip A. Fisher doesn't go into the details of fundamentals analysis, because his investment focus is growth stocks he does something much more interesting, he goes into the detail of how is the company actually run and what are its prospects, linking this analysis to whether or not that stock is investment worthy,
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Terry
Jul 25, 2015 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: investing
A classic on growth investing.

Key takeaway:

1. The key philosophy of Fisher is that he believes that investing in companies that will grow faster than the economy, acquire them at reasonable price and hold them for a long time will outperform the market.

2. Fisher is less price sensitive to value investors. He emphasizes the business quality much more. Buying good companies is more important than buying cheap companies.

3. No companies will stay the same. They will either become better or become wo
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James Lan
Apr 06, 2015 James Lan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stocks
The book was really good in giving you the mindset of how to find and what to look for in the potential winning stocks. In this book, it is mainly focusing on looking at the company's fundamental. The book teaches you how to use the scuttle butt method or a method that is used to extract information related to the company's performance and evaluate whether this company is worthwhile for investment. Moreover, it also teaches when to buy and more importantly when to sell. It also point out common ...more
Joseph
Jun 27, 2010 Joseph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Tirath
Sep 30, 2013 Tirath rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Matthew
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."

Str
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George Jankovic
May 07, 2016 George Jankovic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most people know that Warren Buffett follows Ben Graham's investment style. He usually credits Graham for his success. But when his partner Charlie Munger introduced him to this book, Buffett realized how important the management and brand are to the companies. He changed his investment style to the one of "buying great companies at fair prices" and the rest is history. It's a great book.
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
Girish
Jul 08, 2013 Girish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Eugene Yap
Sep 11, 2012 Eugene Yap rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Steve
Aug 14, 2008 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Vivek Rajan Vivek
Sep 28, 2013 Vivek Rajan Vivek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Robert Henrich
Jun 22, 2013 Robert Henrich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jimmy Huynh
Jun 25, 2014 Jimmy Huynh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A well written book on the fundamentals of long position strategy. Fisher goes into detail in explaining the rationality behind each of his recommendations/strategies. Fisher uses fictional examples as well as sharing his real life experiences as well. Specifically, I found his 15 point system to be relevant as opposed to the many outdated finance strategies/books out there as well as his approach on finding & researching growth stocks towards the end of the book. Overall a great book and I ...more
Shadowcat
Feb 26, 2014 Shadowcat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Anthony
Jan 07, 2008 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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  • Security Analysis: Principles and Technique
  • Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor
  • Stocks for the Long Run
  • Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond
  • You Can Be a Stock Market Genius: Uncover the Secret Hiding Places of Stock Market Profits
  • The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America
  • The Aggressive Conservative Investor
  • Quality of Earnings
  • Theory of Investment Value
  • One Up On Wall Street: How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money In The Market
  • Contrarian Investment Strategies: The Classic Edition
  • The Art of Short Selling
  • The Dhandho Investor: The Low-Risk Value Method to High Returns
  • The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor
  • Pioneering Portfolio Management: An Unconventional Approach to Institutional Investment
  • Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks & Fraud in Financial Reports
  • Where Are the Customers' Yachts?: Or a Good Hard Look at Wall Street
  • Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor
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)
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“Such a study indicates that the greatest investment reward comes to those who by good luck or good sense find the occasional company that over the years can grow in sales and profits far more than industry as a whole. It further shows that when we believe we have found such a company we had better stick with it for a long period of time. It gives us a strong hint that such companies need not necessarily be young and small. Instead, regardless of size, what really counts is a management having both a determination to attain further important growth and an ability to bring its plans to completion.” 3 likes
“Even in those earlier times, finding the really outstanding companies and staying with them through all the fluctuations of a gyrating market proved far more profitable to far more people than did the more colorful practice of trying to buy them cheap and sell them dear.” 2 likes
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