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The Little Book That Still Beats the Market

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  3,763 ratings  ·  252 reviews
In 2005, Joel Greenblatt published a book that is already considered one of the classics of finance literature. In The Little Book that Beats the Market--a New York Times bestseller with 300,000 copies in print--Greenblatt explained how investors can outperform the popular market averages by simply and systematically applying a formula that seeks out good businesses when t ...more
Hardcover, 183 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Wiley (first published 2007)
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Mar 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm far from a financial expert (don't ask me about my own portfolio... I tend to leave money in CDs and mutual funds and forget about it). However, I have done a bit of reading, and know enough to smell BS or something that has the ring of truth.

Greenblatt's book is aimed at the very naive (in the sense of not knowing much, not in the sense of being stupid or gullible) investor. That is, the average American who thinks s/he can use "common sense" and a few hot tips or some "expert opinions" on
Steve Bradshaw
Jan 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: investment
Wish I hadn't wasted any money on this one. Although I am a big proponent of value investing and wanted to give Greenblatt a chance, this book is far too simple to be useful to anyone with a more than a passing interest in the stock market. Return on Capital and Earnings Yield are not terrible filters to start off with, but I do believe there is more to successful value investing than applying a simple formula.

Greenblatt is spot on when he says most people end up losing money because of impatie
Darin Shreves
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book first explains complex financial and investing concepts in a highly approachable and relatable manner (albeit with a folksy tone that may wear on some). With that foundation, it then explains (in just a few brisk pages) the author's stock-picking methodology. That this (or any) strategy can consistently outperform the overall stock market is, of course, a highly suspect claim. But the author makes a persuasive case, by far the most persuasive I've seen in my short investing career. Rea ...more
Martin Georgiev
Mar 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
As a general rule, if a book promises you a magical money-making formula that works if and only if you truly believe in it, close that book. I do not know whether the author's claims are true or not but the way he sells it screams "scam" to me. In fact, it looks like a genius ponzi scheme which lets you buy stocks and then advertise them to your followers, thus increasing their price. Not to mention the income from the sales of the book itself. On the positive side, the introduction explains som ...more
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
When people say, "that book should have been a blog post" this is what they mean.

Usually, I like the "Little Books" series but this one was no good for me. I do like Greenblatt though, I strongly suggest you read You Can Be a Stock Market Genius instead.
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great book to get deeper understanding of how trading works.
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic read. It's short and succinct. I like that Joel uses humorous writing to make something accounting less boring.

In a net shell, he is promoting a strategy he calls "Magic Formula Investing". Building on the time-tested strategies of Ben Graham and Warren Buffet, Joel tells us to invest in companies that return very high return on capital AND high profit per share.

He also sets the right expectations, by providing enough data to prove that it works (mostly), and that it works if
Wigger Tolsma
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I read this book after reading 'the intelligent investor', and had to get used to the simplicity in which this book is told. At first I liked it, because it is almost straight forward what he is telling, but it gets kind of annoying at the second half of the book.

Too repetetive, and he's promoting his so-called 'magic formula' too much. Still a nice read if youre into investing though! Not the only book youll only need to read on investing as mentioned.
Wei Han
Aug 31, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fred Forbes
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Want my attention? Free books will usually do it! Picked this up at a recent trade show for investment professionals as I like to review what is available in the popular press so I can field questions and comments from clients. (Explains why I subscribe to a lot of "financial pornography" like "Money", "Kiplingers" and "Consumer Reports".) At any rate, this simplistic, repetitive and slender volume still contains some worthy ideas. The "magic formula" emphasizes investments in companies that com ...more
Saurabh Moitra
It is a rather average book. It wants to accomplish a lot and has a fancy name to it and a fancy hope of a so called magic formula but falls short. Following are some of my thoughts:

1. Who is it meant for? Someone who has spent less than a year in the investing business and essentially wants a ready-to-eat dinner. Though personally speaking, even if you are in that category you would be better off reading Peter Lynch.

2. Does it work? The so called magic formula does not do too well in real life
Jul 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, audio
You can almost judge this book from its title (and it beats “Investing for Dummies” although it meets the same goal). While author Greenblatt is a professor at a business school, it is less a primer about stock investments (although it does serves as a 101, for illiterate investors such as myself), but more to push his “Magic Formula” for investing, which is actually quite simple, backed by years of his research that shows it beats the market, and can be applied with the help of his free website ...more
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A few weeks ago I read another book from Joel Greenblatt called "the big secret for the small investor". At the time I felt disappointed by the level of simplicity but still wanted to continue to learn from the author. I understand now that back then I missed the point. The principles of value investing are meant to be that way: good businesses at bargain prices, and Joel Greenblatt masters the art of telling this story. Yet 30 holdings to rebalance on a yearly basis seems a lot. I can't help bu ...more
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
In many ways, I would equate The Little Book That Still Beats The Market to P90x. I've always respected the P90x fitness plan because it basically says "Hey, if you want to get in shape, work your ass off and don't eat very much. It's going to really suck," which is the most honest approach to a weight loss program I have ever heard. Joel Greenblatt takes a similar approach in this book, as he basically says if you buy above average companies at below average prices, and remain disciplined in do ...more
Syed Ashrafulla
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a valuable book that you might detest. The reading is that the author takes a sales tone to describe the value investing strategy. There are a lot of anecdotes and italics and exclamation points. These will put you on the defensive. You will ask yourself what scheme the author is selling.

It's not a scheme though. Taking out the entertainment, it is principled value investing. The difference between the author's advice for you and fundamental stock investors is that those investors will c
Yanjia Li
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite
This is the by far the best book about stocks market I've ever read! Well, I've only read three so far (the other two are CFA 1 textbook and O'Neil's book), so my opinion is not fair at all! Still, I feel like this is a great introduction for entry level stocks investor.

The reason I like this book so much, though, isn't because of the magical investment advices, but Joel's excellent writing skills. He is really good at translating his thoughts into words in an easy-going and structured way. His
Frederic Kerr
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
The value oriented principles described here make a lot of sense. I used the book and Greenblatt's website as a source of ideas on which to do further research. Readers should consider other books like Peter Lynch's "One Up on Wall Street", which is more of a growth investing approach, or Benjamin Graham's classic and much more detailed "The Intelligent Investor", the bible of value investing, to supplement this book. I like the version edited by Jason Zweig.

Author Joel Greenblatt deserves a lot
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Ok, so what you get is a very succinct, down-to-earth explanation of a tiny (but fundamental) part of business valuation + a "simple" investing strategy. "Simple" because it has about 1 year lead time and requires buying about ~30 stocks, re-balancing 1x a year, in two batches, fully disciplined adherance to the rule set.

So it is not gauge-theory inspired high-frequency trading strategy for theoretical physics PhDs, but also it is not quite as simple as indexing (or ignoring investing altogether
May 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really straight forward and simple. Great advice that is common sense but overlooked many times due to the role of emotions in the market.

I really wish he didn't baby the reader along the entire way. I understand that the book was written for all audiences that want to begin investing but as a 23 year old, I felt like I could have found the book in the children's section of the library.

Regardless, still well said and the author gives you all of the tools you need to execute everything he says in
Renju Reghu
Dec 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Joel greenblatt is a renowned value investor, his book emphasizes on his time tested magic formula for picking value stocks, the research results proving the latter and the nuts and bolts of why the formula is effective.
The author has written this book in such a simplified manner even for a 10 year old it wouldn't be hard to follow.
Antonios Hadjigeorgalis
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Antonios by: Manish Prabai
This book is an easy read. The strategy it contains is remarkably simple and as described in the book, likely difficult to follow if Mr. Market does not hand you immediate gains.

I plan to use the 'magic formula' as a baseline to get a list of stocks for further review. This is how Joel runs his hedge fund.

The book reports remarkable backtesting results.
Alex Moskalyuk
Aug 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Basic introduction to value investing with prolonged explanation of some financial terms, and one basic idea - forward-looking low P/E ratios are a good test to differentiate between good and bad stocks.
Brian Moyer
Apr 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Explains value investing in a way anyone can understand and provides a very simple formula for buying profitable companies at bargain prices. Most people probably lack the patience and humility to use this strategy but he eliminates all doubt of its success.
Julianna Dawson
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to gain control of their financial decisions.
Recommended to Julianna by: Anndrea Hollingsworth
Shelves: favorites, self-help
I will use the advice in this book! Loved it!
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It is a very simple book on stock investing. I read it in an afternoon and learned some things.
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-calibre
Great book a must read for every investor.
Danielle Robertson
Well, when I get my bonus, I'm going to try these strategies... fingers crossed, it sounds like a promising formula.
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: via-kindle
I think it has a common sense principle that could work. I have to test it in real life. Will start this year.
Matthew Showman
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-books
It's a very fast read: one day. Seems like good advice. ...if you have money to invest, that is.
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really simple, really quick, amazingly smart formula. I am reading more about Joel Greenblatt's method and when I am more comfortable with it will more than likely put it into practise.
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Joel Greenblatt is an American hedge fund manager and founder of Gotham Capital. He is also an academic and a writer. He is also an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He is the former chairman of the board of Alliant Techsystems and founder of the New York Securities Auction Corporation.

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25 likes · 5 comments
“Graham figured that always using the margin of safety principle when deciding whether to purchase shares of a business from a crazy partner like Mr. Market was the secret to making safe and reliable investment profits.” 2 likes
“screening option was created specifically for this book, The magicformula site is designed to emulate the returns achieved in our study as closely as possible. This site is currently available for free. Step-by-step instructions for selecting stocks using follow. Other options include, but are not limited to, the screening packages available at,, and smart” 1 likes
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