John Neff on Investing -

John Neff

Published by Blackstone Audio
ISBN 10: 1470889781 / ISBN 13: 9781470889784
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Synopsis: John Neff has proven time and again over the past three decades that bucking the system can pay off big. During his illustrious career as a money manager, Neff flew in the face of conventional wisdom by consistently passing over the big growth stocks of the moment in favor of inexpensive, underperforming ones--and he usually won! During his thirty-one years as a portfolio manager, he beat the market twenty-two times while posting a fifty-seven-fold increase in an initial stake. Now retired from mutual fund management, Neff is ready to share the investment strategies that earned him international recognition as the "investor's investor." In John Neff on Investing, Neff delineates, for the first time, the strategies, techniques, and investment decisions that earned him his place alongside Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch in the pantheon of modern investment wizards.

Review: In the investment-management business, it's best to take bows quickly. Unless, of course, you're John Neff, a living legend, who as manager of Vanguard's Windsor Fund beat the market in 22 out of 31 years. Neff grew Windsor to become the largest mutual fund by combing the bargain basement for quality merchandise and selling as other investors caught on. In John Neff on Investing, he explains how he scoured the daily list of stocks hitting new lows, the "dusty rag and bone shop of the market," to find out-of-favor companies with low price/earnings ratios, those growing faster than seven percent a year, that paid generous dividends. He shows how to distinguish misunderstood and overlooked stocks from those with lackluster prospects.

Shunning the terms value investor and contrarian, he tells us he prefers to be known simply as a "low-p/e investor." "Contrarian investor suggests a stubborn nature," he says, "and there's a thin line between contrarian and being just plain stubborn." Memory in the stock market is notoriously short. "Remember the lessons of the past as they tend to repeat themselves," Neff says. "You cannot become a captive of historical parallel, but you must be a student of history." He takes us back to the early '70s, the "silly season" he calls it, "when investors emphasized a handful of glamour stocks at the expense of the market.... Hypnotized by rising market levels, investors lost sight of fundamentals ... and a dazed and confused public became persuaded that investing is easy." The toughest investment decision is the decision to sell. "Successful stocks don't tell you when to sell," says Neff. "When you feel like bragging, it's probably time to sell." He quotes a French proverb: "Buy on the cannons, sell on the trumpets."

John Neff on Investing begins with an insightful autobiographical sketch, but the marrow of this book is the journey through Neff's investment diary while managing Windsor. He takes us through three turbulent decades and dissects in detail his investment successes and failures. Relying on relentless application of his low-p/e strategy, abetted by attention to fundamentals and a liberal dose of common sense, he repeatedly rode stocks from under- to fair valuation, most often leaving the overvaluation thrill ride to braver souls.

Neff explains his concept of Measured Participation, a sort of asset-allocation strategy for low-p/e investing, and he shows that while difficult in today's high valuation market, constructing a portfolio guided by his methodology is still possible. Anyone with an interest in investing will enjoy learning at the feet of this master. --Scott Harrison

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Title: John Neff on Investing -
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Book Condition: BRAND NEW

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