The Buffettology Workbook: Value Investing the Warren Buffett Way
For those of you that are time-pressed, this is the best book in the Buffettology Series to read in order to glean a few secrets on the investment techniques of the Oracle of Omaha. The workbook covers both the qualitative and quantitative sides of Buffett's value investing approach, and provides the basic techniques one can implement in order to invest with a reasonable amount of success.
The workbook is not exactly the best book on investing that I have read (that title goes to Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor), but in its defense, it does provide a simple to implement investment strategy. Most of the techniques hinge on a few simple ratios and knowledge of simple present and future worth. Additionally, most of the limitations associated with the techniques are clearly and simply stated.
The book has several merits. The chief merit of the book is that its approach to investing is self-contained, and emphasizes the qualitative aspects more than the quantitative aspects. In passing, readers that focus more on Part One of the book and skip Part Two, the quantitative part, could easily obtain a dramatic improvement in their investment results. Written in simple, easy to understand language, the target audience of this book is most likely that individual who depends on the Internet for all of her information on companies, as such sites as Yahoo, MSN and Value Line are routinely cited in the text as sources of information. The book is very well organized, quite possibly with the idea that it would fit the mold of a chapter-a-day format. Most chapters are usually no more than five pages long, with easy, cheesy word problems and true/false questions at the end of most every chapter to reinforce key concepts. The title of each chapter basically states the key concept to be learned, and key points are highlighted at the end of each chapter. Although it provides some theory and rationale for the techniques it attempts to teach, this is kept to a minimum, and the book focuses almost exclusively on application of the techniques. Those readers that are only interested in the methodology can simply skip to the 22nd Chapter titled 'Doing It Yourself: Buffettology Worksheet'. Thus, the book makes every effort to make learning, and ultimately using, the techniques as painless as possible.
The major demerit of this book rests in its insistence on doing all calculations on a per-share basis. But then, this is how much of the information that is easily obtainable through such channels as Value Line and other sources is presented. One minor demerit is that the authors do not seem to be aware of the virtual ubiquity of MS Office, making it possible to perform all of the calculations in the book in one Excel spreadsheet, but then again, this is a minor demerit. Although there were a number of minor typographical and mathematical errors in the book, I am willing to overlook this, as the thinking and reasoning behind any investment proposition is more important, and is clearly presented throughout the book.
Overall, I rate the book to be worthy of reading. It presents a simple and straightforward investment approach, and does not require an advanced degree in rocket science to implement it. All it really requires is a basic understanding of fractions, decimals and percents, and most important, a willingness to think and reason through the investment proposition. However, those of you with strong quantitative backgrounds will be very dismayed with this book (as I was initially), but as I said before, if you focus exclusively on Part One of the book and Chapter 22, then you will see a dramatic improvement in your investment results going forward.