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Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits [Summary & Takeaways]

by The Quick Book Summary Team
4 minutes read

Main Topic

“Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings” by Philip A. Fisher is a classic investment book that focuses on the art of stock investing. The main theme of the book is the author’s approach to selecting and managing common stocks for long-term growth and profitability.

Key Ideas or Arguments

  • The Scuttlebutt Method: Fisher introduces the concept of the “Scuttlebutt” method, which involves conducting extensive research and gathering information about a company’s management, products, and industry through various sources. This method helps investors make informed decisions.
  • Qualitative Analysis: Fisher emphasizes the importance of qualitative analysis over quantitative analysis. He believes that understanding the qualitative aspects of a company, such as its management’s competence and market positioning, is crucial for successful investing.
  • Long-Term Perspective: Fisher advocates for a long-term investment horizon, encouraging investors to hold onto their stocks for many years to realize the full potential of their investments.
  • Margin of Safety: The author recommends buying stocks with a margin of safety, meaning that the stock should be undervalued, providing a cushion against unforeseen risks.
  • Diversification: Fisher advises against excessive diversification and instead recommends concentrating investments in a few carefully chosen stocks.

Chapter Titles or Main Sections

  1. Conservative Investors Sleep Well: Fisher discusses the mindset and approach of conservative investors who prioritize safety.
  2. The Defensive Investor: This chapter focuses on strategies for defensive investors looking for stable, low-risk investments.
  3. The Enterprising Investor: Fisher delves into the techniques that enterprising investors can use to achieve higher returns by actively managing their portfolios.
  4. General Portfolio Policy: This section discusses portfolio management strategies and the importance of diversification.
  5. The Constructive Aspect of Institutional Activity: Fisher explores the role of institutional investors and their impact on the market.

Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and Other Writings

by Philip A. Fisher


Key Takeaways

  • The “Scuttlebutt” method and qualitative analysis are powerful tools for investors to make informed decisions.
  • Long-term investing and a margin of safety are key principles for successful stock market investing.
  • Concentrating on a few well-researched stocks can yield better results than excessive diversification.

Author’s Background and Qualifications

Philip A. Fisher was a renowned American stock investor and author with a long and successful career in the investment industry. He founded Fisher & Co., an investment counseling firm, and his investment philosophy has influenced many successful investors.

Comparison to Other Books

“Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits” is often compared to Benjamin Graham’s “The Intelligent Investor.” While Graham’s approach is more quantitative, Fisher’s book focuses on qualitative analysis and is suitable for those seeking a different perspective on investing.

Target Audience

This book is aimed at both novice and experienced investors who are interested in adopting a qualitative and long-term approach to stock market investing.

Reception or Critical Response

The book has received critical acclaim and is considered a classic in the field of investment literature. Many investors and experts consider it a valuable resource for understanding Fisher’s investment philosophy.

Publisher and First Published Date

Published by HarperBusiness, the book was first published in 1958.


Biggest Takeaway

The primary takeaway from “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits” is that successful investing involves in-depth qualitative research, a focus on the long-term, and the importance of selecting a concentrated portfolio of well-researched stocks rather than excessive diversification.

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