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Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor
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Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor

4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  2,839 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Investors are all too often lured by the prospect of instant millions and fall prey to the many fads of Wall Street. The myriad approaches they adopt offer little or no real prospect for long-term success and invariably run the risk of considerable economic loss - they resemble speculation or outright gambling, not a coherent investment program. But value investing - the s ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published October 1st 1991 by HarperCollins
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The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin GrahamOne Up On Wall Street by Peter LynchCommon Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings by Philip A. FisherA Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton G. MalkielThe Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett
Best Investment Books
6th out of 68 books — 95 voters
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin GrahamMargin of Safety by Seth A. KlarmanThe Little Book That Beats the Market by Joel GreenblattBeating the Street by Peter LynchFooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Must read investment books
2nd out of 50 books — 17 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jun 16, 2012 Joel rated it it was amazing
Anyone interested in taking a hands-on approach to their portfolios would benefit from Klarman's guidance in Margin of Safety. The author likens Wall Street to a casino full of speculators with odds stacked in their favor, and against the individual investor that tries to compete on uneven ground. The opening line is a quote by Mark Twain: "There are two times in a man's life when he should not speculate--when he can't afford to and when he can." Klarman implores the reader to implement and foll ...more
Jun 25, 2014 Drjh rated it really liked it
Top 5 Quotes / Thoughts:
1. Page 5: “You don’t understand. these are not eating sardines, they are trading sardines” [Difference between investment (buying stream of cashflows) and speculation (return solely dependent on re-sale).]

2. Page 81: “Buffet’s first and second rules of investing: 1) don’t lose money; and 2) never forget the first rule” [Don’t expose yourself to appreciable loss of principal. Make sure that your downside is bounded (Taleb).]
a. Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the w
Steve Bradshaw
Jan 30, 2011 Steve Bradshaw rated it it was amazing
Shelves: investment
An excellent book written by an highly credible figure in the value investing world. I didn't always agree with the author. For example, I do think a long consistent track record of paying meaningful dividends is worth considering along with more direct value factors like P/E and P/B and I prefer the Graham/Lynch approach of diversifying into 20-30 stocks (versus focusing on 10 mega-picks) which I consider prudent and worth the slight reduction in potential return. However, I was extremely impre ...more
Jul 04, 2011 Bryce rated it it was amazing
Margin of Safety is a famous phrase coined by Ben Graham half a century ago, and taken up by Seth Klarman here as a full volume. Unfortunately, this book is no longer in print, but I managed to score a copy without having to pay the $500 price advertised on

The book is in three parts. First, a strong case for fundamental value investing as the only sound framework for making investment decisions; second is a scathing critique of "institutional investing," culminating with Klarman's ri
Ankur Gupta
Jul 28, 2014 Ankur Gupta rated it it was amazing
I read this book after reading "Fooled by Randomness", and that had left me wondering whether trading/investing is really purely random or can there really be method to the madness. Much to my delight, Seth Klarman does provide a sound method to achieve investment success that is based on business fundamentals than pernicious speculation, relying on the "wisdom" of the market. The book is a fascinating read, especially for someone with a non-finance background but fresh out of a B-School, where ...more
Brady Bunte
Nov 24, 2013 Brady Bunte rated it it was amazing
Although I wouldn't spend $1000 for this book, he surprised me by summing up in a few simple sentences...

- how the mortgage tranched CDOs are flawed,
- how the rating agencies are claiming it was unforseeable, and
- how it could all blow up by a credit crunch.

But the most amazing part was that he did this in 1991 (when the book was published) and that is way before the mortgage CDOs were in full swing.

I just wish I had read the book earlier.

Brady Bunte
Apr 05, 2016 Alex rated it liked it
I had high hopes for this book since the ratings were amazing. However, I gave this book 2 stars because many of the ideas and concepts that were mentioned were already known to me. I also found this book more difficult to read than other investment books, perhaps due to the writing style.
Mar 30, 2010 Simon rated it it was amazing
Geeking it out in the rain. Re-reading a book I bought randomly at The Strand and read in 1996 when I first started in the business. I guess there was only one printing in 1991, and now it's impossible to find and goes for over $1000 for a decent copy on Amazon or Ebay. Hmmm.... Is actually a great primer on how to think like a smart professional investor. Concepts aren't hard, but I don't imagine it would be all that interesting for the individual investor.
Mar 10, 2013 Kevinthorson rated it it was amazing
Excellent. It was a far superior read the the intelligent investor as it 1) included all of the same ideas + some additional ones 2) wasn't sooo old, so the language was much clearer and easier to follow; 3) wasn't riddled with examples from the 60's(i.e. wasn't written from the perspective of being a "current" guide to the markets; 4) was significantly shorter/more concise.

Jun 04, 2014 Arseny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reality, finance
Woke up regarding the meaning of Value. Very impactful book. Most important finding is that the value is outside S&P500, and probably at the top of the bottom-performers of the day, week, month.
Daniel Olshansky
Nov 10, 2015 Daniel Olshansky rated it it was amazing
Another great read for any Buffet "disciples" who are interested in value investing and security analysis.

Other than graham's own books, it's difficult to say that it was a quintessential read, but it packed a lot provided how short it was. Reiterating concepts of fundamental analysis including key ratios and discount cash flow, this book delivered the basics of value investing in a very concise manner. Aside from reviewing basic principles, and hearing the opinion of another experienced investo
Uroš Jurglič
May 12, 2015 Uroš Jurglič rated it it was amazing
This book is a comprehensive guide to value investing - an investing approach defined by Ben Graham and followed by most successful investors and hedge fund managers. It covers many topics from the mechanics of financial industry and markets, value investing process and tools, to advice for choosing brokers or money managers. It provides many examples of value opportunities and it covers business valuation too, although very briefly - so don't except much (or any) numbers crunching.

Book covers a
Vikas Kukreja
Jul 14, 2015 Vikas Kukreja rated it it was amazing
This book is divided into 3 parts comprising 1. How market works, 2. How to invest and 3. Searching for investments. First part is an eye opener for any wanna be investor to learn how wall street works and why prices deviate from their intrinsic value. Second part focuses on basics of investing, delving into highly important valuation techniques. This is crux of the book and is worth reading many times. Third part focuses on how to search for investments, its good but is less relevant for Indian ...more
Oct 08, 2013 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Priceless book (even if Amazon disagrees). The book is broken up into principles of investing we all know, yet rarely follow when methods are actually put to practice. How is Klarman different from all the other finance writers? Instead of beating the proverbial dead horse of investing dogmas , this book explains how we all come up short because of Wall Street's house edge and our bias towards the latest investing fad. Given this context, the age old investing lessons we all choose to ignore for ...more
May 10, 2016 Ganesh rated it it was amazing
A must read for any VALUE INVESTOR aspirant...
Dude-von Dudenstein
Feb 12, 2015 Dude-von Dudenstein rated it liked it
Shelves: finance, investment
Good introduction to value investing. The author dwells too much on what's wrong with other valuation methods without talking about how should an investor go about executing value investing. Pros of value investing are too less compared to cons of investing time analysing the underlying businesses. Book is not really targeted towards an audience and seems to wander between individual investor and institutional one. Recommended read but the content delivery is lacking coherence..
Brad Felix
May 22, 2014 Brad Felix rated it it was amazing
It's hard to convey how important this book is to someone who is not on the buy-side of the investment management industry. He logically articulates all the structural, behavioral, and logical errors that institutional investors commonly commit. In terms of his value investment philosophy, it is no wonder his returns have been so strong. He is simply willing to go places where other investors do not, which tilts the odds of performance in his favor.
Sukhesh Miryala
Nov 10, 2015 Sukhesh Miryala rated it it was amazing
Great outline about how to think about investing, and less about specific strategies to invest. Provides great lenses to look at investing followed by illlustrative anecdotes. Some of the actual advice is a bit dated (but to be expected given the age of the book). This book is a must read if you are interested in learning about how value investors (of which Seth Klarman is a legend) think.
Jul 12, 2016 Gennady rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 11, 2012 Eric rated it it was amazing
Seth Klarman's Margin of Safety is a terrific primer on the difference between investment and speculation. Originally published in 1991 but now long out of print and famously hard to find, Margin of Safety highlights many of the key tenets of value investing, most of which remain completely philosophically relevant even two decades later.
Brentley Campbell
Dec 26, 2011 Brentley Campbell rated it it was amazing
I loved Margin of Safety! Seth Klarman does a great job of explaining different ways to be a value investor all the way from how to research to trading. He uses examples that he found through his work at Baupost to illustrate his points and shows many special situations that can be taken advantage of. A must read for any investor.
Scott Denbow
Jan 30, 2010 Scott Denbow rated it really liked it
This book is outdated but the wisdom is timeless. Value investing takes discipline, patience, and a will to go against the grain. But, over time, it is the best investing strategy. You will never look at Wall Street and the "herd" the same.

** the book is out of print but I highly recommend hunting down a copy from a library.
May 14, 2016 Alok rated it really liked it
The book brilliantly explains the incentives for various players involved in the financial world and their investing (or should I say trading?) behavior which make the markets irrational and inefficient. Though the examples are mostly from late 80's to early 90's USA, the book provides conceptual clarity on various issues.
Ron Yeo
Mar 14, 2015 Ron Yeo rated it really liked it
Very comprehensive overview of value-investing from an institutional/professional standpoint which had good, informative case studies of risk-arbitrage deals.

Not from the corner of value investing but it was a very enjoyable read - although slightly underwhelming considering how much this book has been overhyped ;)
Dec 24, 2014 Julien rated it it was amazing
Very good book, totally worth a read if you can grab a copy.
I think S. Klarman writes extremely well and makes you grasp things easily.

Particularly appreciated the discussion of the flaws of EBITDA: Klarman discusses why it leads to "chronic overvaluation of businesses" (his words) & uses clear exemples.

Brian Zheng
Jun 02, 2016 Brian Zheng rated it it was amazing
You probably won't find a hard copy as it is out of print and selling 2000 USD per copy. Seth Klarman is well known for keeping substantial amount of cash (>50%) in his portfolio when the he cannot find attractive opportunity. Nonetheless, excellent book which discuss the essence of Value investment: Margin of safety.
Todd Wood
Jun 19, 2015 Todd Wood rated it really liked it
Finally read what many consider one of the two seminal books (the other being the Intelligent Investor) for value investors. Nothing overly new/groundbreaking here, but overall a very well written book, with some great real world (albeit dated at this point) examples.
Feb 27, 2013 Kyle rated it liked it
Actually a pretty good read. Stresses buying stocks not based on market trends or technical analysis but instead on fundamental analysis. The theory: if a company is financially healthy and has good operations, than eventually, its stock will appreciate.
Jan 25, 2014 Jonathan rated it really liked it
great contrarian way to think about investing from one of the great value investors. some of the commentary is a bit dated and I disagree w him on his assessment of index investing but good for the professional as well as amateur investor
Nov 13, 2011 Hari rated it liked it
Shelves: stock-market
This book is good. Really good, in fact, but I'll have to come back to this after I've read more books - a lot of it left me scratching my head, and I'm pretty sure that I glossed over the parts that I should have paid most attention to.
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Seth Klarman is an American hedge-fund manager and a billionaire who founded the Baupost Group, a Boston-based private investment partnership, and the author of a book on value investing titled Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor. Klarman is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar.

Klarman grew up in
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