Buffettology Workbook: Value Investing the Buffett Way


For five decades, Warren Buffett has been making himself one of the wealthiest men in the world, amassing more than 30 billion dollars by investing in the stock market. Remarkably, he did it by spurning popular Wall Street trends, adhering instead to his own unique discipline, one the world has come to know as Buffettology. In The Buffettology Workbook, internationally acclaimed writer and lecturer Mary Buffett has again joined forces with David Clark, the world's leading authority on Warren Buffett's investment ...
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For five decades, Warren Buffett has been making himself one of the wealthiest men in the world, amassing more than 30 billion dollars by investing in the stock market. Remarkably, he did it by spurning popular Wall Street trends, adhering instead to his own unique discipline, one the world has come to know as Buffettology. In The Buffettology Workbook, internationally acclaimed writer and lecturer Mary Buffett has again joined forces with David Clark, the world's leading authority on Warren Buffett's investment methods, to create an in-depth, step-by-step guide to the concepts and equations Warren Buffett uses to create fantastic wealth.

Here you will learn:

The difference between a great company and a great undervalued company

How the short-sightedness of Wall Street pundits can work to your advantage

Where to look for investments with long-term, consistent, and extraordinary growth potential

To perform the same financial calculations Buffett uses, and apply them to stocks you'd like to buy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641501784
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Trade Paperbacks
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: Workbook
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

First Chapter


The Buffettology Workbook is designed to teach you the investment methodologies of Warren Buffett. Warren has never been the type of investor who "plays" the stock market. In fact, over the last forty years, he has made a point of dodging every popular investment mania to sweep Wall Street. Be it the Internet revolution or the biotech bonanza, he sat out all the big plays, never making, as he himself admits, one thin dime off any of them. Yet, in those years, as countless treasure-laden Wall Street ships slipped by, Warren managed to turn an initial investment of $105,000 into a fortune exceeding $30 billion, solely by investing in the stock market. His investment feat is unparalleled in the history of Wall Street.

How did Warren Buffett become a multibillionaire, King of the Street, without making any money off any of the big Wall Street plays? It's an interesting question.

The answer may not be obvious but it is simple: Warren Buffett got super rich not by playing the stock market (you heard me right, he doesn't play the stock market) but by playing the people and institutions that play the stock market. Warren is the ultimate exploiter of the folly that results from other investors' short-sightedness. The people and institutions that play the stock market in search of quick profits will at some point (we can assure you) commit acts of short-sightedness that ultimately collapse into investment foolishness. When they do, Warren is there waiting, patiently, to take advantage of them. It sounds predatory, doesn't it? It is.

Warren is able to do this better than anyone else because he discovered something that very few people appreciate, that approximately 95% of the people and investment institutions that make up the stock market are what he calls "short-term motivated." They respond to short-term stimuli %151; they buy on good news and sell on bad.

The good news can be as complex as a prospective buyout looming on the horizon or as simple as a quarterly increase in earnings or a quickly rising stock price. The bad news can be anything from a major industry recession to simply missing a quarterly earnings projection by a few cents.

Warren realized that an enthusiastic stock price, when coupled with good news about a company, was often enough to help push the price of a company's shares into the stratosphere. This is commonly referred to as the "good news phenomenon." He also saw that the opposite happened when the situation was reversed. A pessimistic price, when coupled with negative news about a company, will send its stock into a tailspin. This is, of course, the "bad news phenomenon."

Warren discovered that in both situations the underlying long-term economic value of the company's business is often totally ignored. The short-term mentality of the stock market sometimes grossly overvalues a company, just as it sometimes grossly undervalues a company.

Warren also observed that, over time, it is the long-term economic value of a business that levels the playing field and ultimately causes the stock market to properly value the company relative to its long-term worth as a business enterprise. Warren has found that businesses that the stock market has overvalued are eventually revalued downward, making their shareholders poorer. This means that many a fashionable investment ends up in the dumps, costing its shareholders their fortunes, rather than earning them a bonanza. He also discovered that many overlooked and undervalued businesses are eventually revalued upward, making their shareholders richer. Which means a current stock market pariah can often end up tomorrow's shining star.

The aspect of this treasure hunt that intrigues Warren, and where he made the majority of his money, is when the short-term market mentality grossly undervalues a great business. He has determined that the stock market will sometimes overreact to bad news about a great business and rush to sell its stock, making it a bargain buy for the few who value the stock based on its predictable long-term economics. (Remember, the vast majority of people and institutions, like mutual fund managers, sell on bad news.) When this happens to a stock that Warren is watching, he goes into market and buys as many shares as he can, knowing that over time, the long-term economics of the business will eventually correct the negative situation and return the stock's price to more profitable ground.

Warren, unlike the vast majority of the market, loves to buy on bad news. He shops when the stocks are unpopular and the prices are cheap %151; when short-term doom and gloom blinds Wall Street's eyes to the predictable long-term economic value of a great business.

Speculating in good news bull markets is something that Warren leaves to the other guys. It's not his game. He never owned Yahoo!, Lucent Technologies, CMGI, or any of the other high-flying high-tech companies that were all the rage of the Internet bubble. Warren's game is to avoid popular stocks, wait for short-term bad news to drive down the price of some fantastic business, then jump on it with a ton of cash, buying as many shares as he can.

The Buffettology Workbook is designed to teach you tools that will give you the kind of conviction that Warren has to charge ahead where others fear to tread. We'll take you step by step through the methodology and financial equations Warren uses, not only to determine what companies to invest in, but also when to invest in them. Simply knowing what types of companies have excellent long-term economics working in their favor is not enough. You also have to know how to determine the right price to pay for them. Pay too high a price and it doesn't matter how great an economic engine the company has working for you, your investment return is forever moored to the dock of poor results. Pay a low enough price for the right business and you too can sail away with the riches of King Solomon, just as Warren has.

The first part of this book focuses on the qualitative side of the equation. This is where you'll learn how Warren identifies the power and quality of a company's long-term economics. It explains how he determines whether or not the company's economic machinery is sound enough to weather the storm that brought the company's stock price down in the first place. You will come to see that Warren's genius lies in his ability to grasp the long-term economic worth of a handful of great businesses and why they are sometimes oversold by the stock market.

The second part is quantitative. This is where you will learn to use the mathematical equations that Warren uses to determine how much to pay for one of these great businesses. Warren will only invest in a company when it makes business sense, when he can get it at the right price, as determined by projecting an annual compounding rate of return for the investment. This projected annual compounding rate of return is ascertained by performing a series of calculations that we will teach you how to do.

To facilitate the number crunching, we incorporate into the book the use of a Texas Instruments BA-35 Solar financial calculator. Thirty years ago these marvelous little wonders didn't exist, but thanks to the brilliance of Texas Instruments, a world that once belonged only to Wall Street analysts is now accessible and understandable to anyone. So if you are afraid of financial math %151; don't be; we've got you covered and in no time you'll be making financial projections just like you-know-who. (Please note: Though we have designed the workbook around the use of this particular calculator, any financial calculator that performs present and future value calculations will suffice.)

At the end of the book we have created several case studies and a special template for you to use to facilitate the use of Warren's methodology and intrinsic value equations. This will enable you to work through a set of specific questions and calculations to help you obtain Warren's unique perspective.

Those of you who have read Buffettology will find that the Workbook will give you a very different, but enlightening, perspective on Warren Buffett's investment methods. We have revisited many of the original Buffettology case studies to determine whether our past analysis was on the money. (It was and still is.) We also explore how Internet trading companies have made stock arbitrage a lucrative venture for even the smallest of individual investors.

For those of you who haven't read Buffettology, we can think of no better primer than the Workbook. Each book complements the other; reading both should give you a deeper and more profitable understanding of Warren Buffett's investment techniques. While Buffettology focused on Warren's use of Business Perspective Investing, the Workbook takes an in-depth look at just how he uses the stock market's short-term mentality to reap unheard-of riches.

You will learn that this short-term mentality has permeated every corner of the investment world, and that if it didn't exist, Warren would never have made a penny. But it does and he has used it to create one of the great fortunes of all time.

Please don't be misled. Warren's methods are fairly simple to grasp, but they do go against basic human intuition. The learning part is easy. The implementation is far more difficult. This book will be read and understood by many, but few will have the courage to implement its methods. Buying on bad news is much harder than it sounds. The few who come to understand his methods and develop the backbone to implement them will soon discover a bottomless well of wealth into which they may dip for the rest of their lives.

So let's get out the calculator, sharpen a pencil or two, find a clean piece of paper, and start calculating our way to your first billion!


Study Questions

Are you more comfortable buying on good or bad news? Why?

Is Warren more interested in buying on good or bad news? Why?

Why do you think that most investors ignore the long term and focus on the short term?

Have you ever wished you had the courage to invest in a company after the market tanked its stock? What was the company's name and how much money would you have made if you had bought and held?

True or False

1. T or F Warren is interested in buying Internet stocks that are grossly overvalued.

2. T or F The time Warren becomes interested in a company is when it has just announced good news about the business and the price of its shares responds by jumping upward.

3. T or F The stock market sometimes undervalues a company from a long-term perspective.

4. T or F Even great businesses can fall prey to the "bad news phenomenon."

Answers: 1. False 2. False 3. True 4. True

Copyright © 2001 by Mary Buffett and David Clark

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2003

    An excellent tool for the individual investor...

    Written by Mary Buffett, former daughter-in-law of Warren Buffett, and David Clark, a portfolio manager, 'The Buffettology Workbook' is the best investment I¿ve ever made. The financial formulas you¿ll find in this book are all the ones they should teach in business school, but don¿t. The book is broken down into 23 chapters, each no more than a few pages, so you can read a chapter a day (and continue to review the chapters for the rest of your investing career). The first seven chapters give a breakdown of Warren¿s investment philosophy, value investing. Here, you learn about the short-sightedness of the market and the bad news phenomenon. Also, the authors identify the difference between commodity-type businesses and consumer monopolies, and tell you why it¿s far better to own consumer monopolies. Once you understand these concepts, you¿re halfway toward success as an investor. Now, you need to learn how to identify the correct buying opportunity. That¿s where the true value of this book comes into play, offering formulas and equations you won¿t find most books. The remaining chapters in the book focus on the examination of financial statements, the acquisition of pertinent information (what¿s important and what¿s not), then they tell you how determine an investment¿s desirability. You¿ll learn the value of high rates of return on shareholder equity, how to measure management¿s ability to utilize retained earnings, and Warren¿s ideas for the Internet and short-term arbitrage commitments. I read this book beginning to end the day I got it, but I¿ll continue to familiarize myself with its formulas for the rest of my investing career. Although it marks only the beginning of one¿s investment knowledge, learning these bedrock principles are what separate successful investors from mere average ones... Buy this book! >>>> Britt Gillette, Author of 'Conquest of Paradise: An End-Times Nano-Thriller'

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