A few weeks ago, I noticed a sudden increase in the number of people who follow me on Twitter. The reason, I soon discovered, was an article titled “Read ‘Em and Reap” by Jason Zweig that was posted on the Wall Street Journal’s Total Return Blog. For those of you who have never heard of Jason Zweig (I doubt that includes most readers of this blog), he is a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and writes the weekly “Intelligent Investor” column. In fact, Jason Zweig edited one of the most widely read editions of “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham. Jason’s post was a follow-up to another article he wrote, “Can Peers Burn Holes In Your Portfolio?”
My “Intelligent Investor” column this weekend discusses new research on what psychologists call “shared attention”—the state of paying heed to an object or event at the same time your peers are also focusing on it. Believing that other people like you are paying attention to the same thing you are can make you more likely to remember it, to take action on it and to experience more intense emotions about it, the research finds.
In my column, I encouraged investors to socialize “only with investors who are calm and methodical.” Here’s a small selection of websites, blogs and Twitter feeds that I think pass that test. It is far from complete; there are other sites I like for other reasons, but the sources I’ve listed here all encourage investors to ignore the markets’ momentary twitches and spasms and, instead, to focus on the long term.
GrahamAndDoddsville.net was one of the websites on Jason’s list. To say it is an honor to appear on Jason’s list, alongside some of my favorite websites, would be a major understatement.
When the proverbial apple fell on my head and I discovered value investing (a term I now believe to be a proxy for all intelligent investing), I wanted to read and learn as much as I could. There were several websites and blogs that helped me navigate the vast number of available resources. While many of the websites that were helpful to me no longer exist, these resources were invaluable to my own investing journey. Over time, however, I realized that many aspiring analysts / investors, including myself, fell into the pitfall of spending too much time reading about investors and not enough time investing. Once you have covered the basics (and it is my opinion that studying The Intelligent Investor, Warren Buffett’s Letters to Berkshire Shareholders, and Joel Greenblatt’s You Can Be a Stock Market Genius will get you 99.9% of the way there), there is no better way to learn how to invest than by taking your hard earned money and investing it. I have often heard people reply, “I don’t have enough money to invest in stocks on my own.” Hogwash! I may have accepted that reply prior to the turn of the century, but in 2014, anyone can open an online brokerage account with almost no minimum account balance. In most cases, this ease of access proves to be very bad for investors. But if you are truly learning how to be an intelligent investor, it is wonderful!
This brings me to the dilemma. At a certain point, my recommendation to aspiring analysts and investors is to spend their non-investing time delving into case studies and hunting for undervalued securities. Some of my favorite places to do both are on your left – right there in the margin – or on the Valuable Investing Resources page.
I am amazed how many visitors the GrahamAndDoddsville blog receives, especially in light of how infrequently it is updated. I am humbled by number of analysts and investors who have told me that they used this site as a lunching point for their own journey to become an intelligent investor. My original motive for starting the site was to have a place where I could store all of the resources I have found.
With all of this in mind, I plan for the site to become a bit more active. A reboot, if you will. The number of posts may not dramatically increase, but in the coming days, weeks and months, you will start to see fixed links, updates to the hunting grounds, research essentials and top blogs, and additions to the SuperInvestor Resources. Hopefully this will serve as a compromise. By not dramatically increasing the number of posts, my hope is that I will not draw aspiring analysts / intelligent investors away from the sites where they should be spending most of their non-investing time – websites and blogs filled with case studies and discussions of current investment ideas. At the same time, GrahamAndDoddsville.net will hopefully become an even better tool for those who continue to use the site as either a starting point or as an ongoing resource in the never-ending journey to become a more intelligent investor.
I receive many e-mails want to sincerely apologize to those who have received a reply. I do enjoy hearing from likeminded investors and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to respond.
See: “Read ‘Em and Reap: Smart People for Investors to Follow” (WSJ Total Return Blog, 9/6/2014)