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Book Review
Brandes On Value: The Independent Investor
McGraw Hill Education, 2014.

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Book cover - Brandes on ValueJust to mention up front, I have been a member of the Brandes Institute since 2003. This is a research group that naturally has a value orientation, but also covers many other areas of investment research as detailed on its website.1 Charles Brandes, a colleague of Ben Graham, founded the institute and has contributed to our industry in many ways. He spoke at the CFA Society Toronto’s ‘Annual Forecast Dinner’ and was very well-received. His book, Brandes on Value, which he gave out to each of the tables (over 50 copies) at the dinner, presents valuable long-term insights into the field of value investing.

In 1971, shortly before he founded Brandes Investment Partners in San Diego, CA, he was an investment dealer fresh out of school when he met Graham, the father of value investing,2 in La Jolla, CA. Graham lived there after retiring from teaching at Columbia and the two met frequently: Brandes had read Graham’s two books3 and soon became a fervent disciple of value investing.

His latest book is a follow-up to his 2004 book – Value Investing Today.4 It provides a broad and timely update on a myriad of tumultuous topics that have evolved since his first book, all in a very clear and enjoyable fashion.

Major Parts

The book is divided into four parts covering:

Major Themes

A number of the major themes run throughout the book of which I would like to mention three: behavioural biases, the need for independent judgment, and the long-term view.

In Summary

Brandes on Value covers a myriad of investment topics over the past 50 years and value investing’s performance, role, and qualities in these quite variables times. The book is written in a very clear, informative, and readable fashion with topics appropriately grouped under the four parts outlined above. With his clear and concise prose, Brandes is especially adept at explaining these complex topics. His text is well-augmented by extensive references and data. All in all, Brandes on Value is a highly worthwhile contribution to the literature on value investing – not to mention, how many value investors today knew, worked with, and became a disciple of this discipline from non-other-than Ben Graham himself?

Bruce Grantier (CFA) is founder of InvestorLit.com.

1. http://www.brandes.com/Institute/

2. The book has a letter dated March 1, 1974 from Graham, congratulating Brandes on the founding of his new firm

3 .Benjamin Graham and David Dodd, Security Analysis, McGraw Hill, 1934. Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor, Harper and Row, 1949

4. Charles H. Brandes, Value Investing Today, McGraw Hill, 2004

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