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Imagine working 5 days a week even when you are 107, almost 40 years past most people’s retirement age. That is Irving Kahn, the value investor and stock picker who works not because he has to but because he loves his work so much.

This is quite akin to Warren Buffett, who often says he ‘tap dances’ to work everyday. It is no coincidence that both have built very impressive investment track records over time.

As Charlie Munger quips in his USC Law School Commencement Address, you need to have an ‘intense interest’ in a particular subject if you want to excel in it. Success and mastery in investing requires an intense interest and willingness to spend your entire life learning as much as you can, particularly about businesses and competitive dynamics.

Irving Kahn was also a student of Benjamin Graham – one of the few investors still alive today who worked directly for this legendary father of value investing. Graham taught the ‘net-net’ approach to investing and employed a statistical approach to fish out bargains in the stock market. Irving Kahn and Warren Buffett both started out with the Graham approach when they first started investing.

Read more in Jason Zweig’s WSJ column here: The Intelligent Investor: Irving Kahn The 107-Year-Old Stock Picker.


One of Charlie Munger’s favorite pieces of advice is to invert, always invert. He once told a large crowd that he wants to know where he will die, so he will never go there. On a more practical note, inverting is very useful in just about every facet of life, including investing. The following WSJ article illustrates the power of negative thinking well and further proves this point.

As it applies to investing, think about what could go WRONG with a particular investment. Could the product disappear completely 5 years from now? How much stickiness does it have? It is in asking questions like these that you implicitly get at a company’s competitive advantage and figure out the size of a company’s moat.

If you figure out that the worst that could happen to a particular company is only X, and X will not destroy that much value, then your downside is protected. And that is investing with an eye for a margin of safety. If heads you win and tails you don’t lose much, then you have an attractive risk/reward that you should bet on.

On the contrary, if the worst that could happen is bankruptcy with low chances of recovery and the odds are reasonable, then you may want to rethink your investment.


Ryan Morris: 28 Year Old Activist Investor

Came across a great article today on a talented young investor who decided to follow in Buffett’s footsteps and started reading his annual shareholder letters from the age of 12. What is interesting though is how he transitioned to being an activist investor: when he felt helpless as a few investments tanked in spite of [...]

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From Hedge Fund Analyst to Internet Entrepreneur: An Interview with Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance

We have a special treat for you today – an interview with Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance. A hedge-fund-analyst-turned-Internet-entrepreneur, Andrew has a wealth of insights into personal finance and investing and in this interview shares with us some of them. 1. For the benefit of our readers, could you give us a [...]

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Warren Buffett Lubrizol Investment

Warren Buffett Lubrizol Investment. Why Warren Buffett acquired Lubrizol (NYSE: LZ) for 9 billion. Lubrizol is a company with great pricing power. It controls 35 percent of sales in an industry with only four major players, and has made significant improvements in its operating margins over the past few years. It also demonstrated pricing power [...]

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Warren Buffett ISCAR Investment

Warren Buffett ISCAR Investment. Why and how Warren Buffett invested in ISCAR Metalworking Companies, an Israeli company. Buffett acquired 80% of Iscar Metalworking Companies for $4 billion in cash in 2006. Iscar is an international company based in Israel, and makes precision metal-cutting tools. Its primary customers are in the auto and aerospace industries. The [...]

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Warren Buffett PetroChina Investment (NYSE: PTR)

Warren Buffett PetroChina Investment (NYSE: PTR). Buffett invested $488 million in PetroChina and made close to 9x his investment in 5 years. The principles of value investing do not just work in the United States; they work anywhere there are markets where there is a Mr. Market who tosses irrational prices at you every day. [...]

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Warren Buffett Johns Manville Investment

Warren Buffett Johns Manville Investment. Why Warren Buffett invested in Johns Manville at 5x EBIT, at an opportune time when Johns Manville was out of favor on Wall Street. Buffett acquired Johns Manville for $1.8 billion in 2000. Johns Manville is America’s biggest manufacturer of fiber glass building insulation, commercial roofing membranes and roof insulations, [...]

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Warren Buffett Justin Industries Investment

Warren Buffett Justin Industries Investment. Why Warren Buffett invested in Justin Industries, a producer of bricks and boots based in Texas. Buffett acquired Justin Industries for $570 million in cash in 2000. Justin Industries is the leading maker of Western boots and a premier brick producer in Texas and five neighboring states. Buffett liked this [...]

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Warren Buffett MidAmerican Energy Investment

Warren Buffett MidAmerican Energy Investment. Why Warren Buffett invested in MidAmerican Energy. Buffett acquired 76% of MidAmerican Energy for $2 billion in 1999. MidAmerican Energy is a utility company based in Iowa. Investments such as MidAmerican Energy are examples of investments in companies that generate stable but not spectacular returns. They have high capital expenditure [...]

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