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Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  9,759 ratings  ·  253 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 ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published August 29th 2003 by Wiley (first published November 30th 1957)
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Punit Lohani
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Steve Bradshaw
Jul 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
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Bland, obvious and somewhat outdated.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
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Iliya Polihronov
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 06, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Kaloyan Drenski
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Timothy Chklovski
Feb 23, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
Dated, not worth reading. I'm sure it was groundbreaking when it was first written, but pretty mundane by any standard today.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, non-fiction
Very solid investment book. Old, but quite timeless. Covers just about every principle you need to consider when investing, and well. Growth focused, which isn't usually my thing, but worth reading for every investor. I even think it is more applicable and useful than The Intelligent Investor for the average person. 10/10
Mike Madden
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sound advice...
Avinash Rao
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: investment
Hold the stocks of business that has a strong moat. Don't sell them just for the sake of selling.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Language is too old and long winded. The points raised may have been revolutionary at the time, however much of this knowledge is now available from blogs of prominent investors and presented in a language that's much more digestible. The main thing I got from this is do not worry about the price if the underlying business is solid and has such a magnificent runway for growth, and to conduct field research - called Scuttlebutt - in order to get an informational edge.
Tim O'Hearn
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book is significant and its author is a legend. However, we're kidding ourselves if we list this among investing must-reads in 2017. Phil Fisher pioneered an early type of long-term investing where he would pore over financial statements and call employees working every post of the company. You're wasting your time if you do this today. Back then, such fundamentals weren't priced in as efficiently as they are in today's markets, and Phil did well for himself (though nobody knows how well).

James Lan
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Isaac Breese
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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."

Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 01, 2020 rated it liked it
The language and style of this book is not my cup of tea. This book was difficult for me to understand.

It was great to know that the lessons I learned from investing are the same as discussed in the book. Never sell. I also learned many more about investing such as it is better to choose stock that give no or low dividend. Instead of paying dividends, the company can reinvest the money by using it on products and technologies.

This book is three books combined into one:
1. Common Stocks and
Jan 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book.
The general idea of the book enforces the importance of intrinsic value, that if an investor does his due diligence in researching common stocks, owning just a few stocks for long-term promises handsome reward. However, the method or framework for evaluation provided in the book is hard to carry out for retail investors without contacts or connections. The framework also relies much on qualitative assessment, completely dismisses quantitative and
Jul 22, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jimmy Huynh
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
deleted d
Mar 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
read only the summary

think long term
ignore mr market
research your companies well
look to buy when there's a temporary drop in the stock price

To be a successful investor, you have to be willing to dig. A companys true value is based on so much more than its stock price alone! If youre willing to put in the detective work, you stand to reap great rewards no matter whether youre a conservative investor or a high-risk one.
Roope Keto
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I try to summarize this book really briefly:

This book emphasizes growth. And that's easily understandable when you take fishers's attitude of long-term holding.

So, you look for a company with a potential and competence.

"it's better to get great company with a good prize than a good company with a great price"

Caleb Philbrick
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the great investment texts. Fisher goes beyond the annual report and suggests that investors dig deeper into fundamentals, focusing on high quality/high return businesses. He posits that the best time horizon is forever, certainly an approach taken by Buffett, who was significantly impacted by Fisher.
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the greatest books of investment in history. It's not a surprise that this is one of the top picks by Warren Buffett. In addition, Warren Buffett is using P.A.Fisher's philosophy in his investing. If you want to become smart value investor - it's a must read. Don't invest until you read this book.

Good luck in your journey, my friend. ;)
Gabriel Pinkus
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Buffett said he's 85% Graham and 15% Fisher... I can now see why. Fisher goes beyond the 10K. Fisher's teachings have inspired me to learn about business in a new dimension, allowing me to look at a company's core business, operations, and management, and see how that information might not be reflected in financial statements.

Must-read for any investor.
George Jankovic
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Alaeddin Hallak
The key message in this book:
To be a successful investor, you have to be willing to dig. A companys true value is based on so much more than its stock price alone! If youre willing to put in the detective work, you stand to reap great rewards no matter whether youre a conservative investor or a high-risk one.
John Brian Anderson
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: investing
Good Fundamentals, sound practice in the 15 steps. somewhat dated relative to the current market. Must read if starting out in stock investing, applying most of these principles to reviewing your 401k mutual funds would be a sound practice as well.
Nov 29, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
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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)

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When it comes to mysteries and thrillers, we're all guilty of loving a good trope from time to time. From "The butler did it!" to "They all did...
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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.” 7 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.” 3 likes
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