Build Your Own Ben Graham Library

by Geoff Gannon

If you want to fully understand Ben Graham, you should own the following Ben Graham library:

In Print

1. Benjamin Graham on Investing (1917-1927) - $20.76

2. The Rediscovered Benjamin Graham (1932-1977) - $29.70

3. The Interpretation of Financial Statements (1937) - $17.84

4. Security Analysis (1940) - $34.71

5. Benjamin Graham: Building a Profession (1945-1977) - $20.82

6. The Intelligent Investor (1949) - $19.39

Out of Print

1. Benjamin Graham: The Memoirs of the Dean of Wall Street ($44.99 Used)

That's a total cost of $143.22 to build a complete - for our purposes - Ben Graham library counting only books in print. And $188.21 if you include a used copy of the memoirs.

So you can buy a complete library of Ben Graham's investment writing for about $200 at Amazon.

A couple ex-library copies of the memoirs have passed through my hands over the years, and they're usually in good shape. Ben Graham’s memoirs appeal to such a niche audience, it's likely no one actually read the library's copy.

The memoirs only touch on investing in spots. But if you're really into Ben Graham, you should get them. Buying these books is only worthwhile if you both have an appetite for Ben Graham's stuff and you’re a voracious reader.

I read old books, papers, etc. It's something I like doing. If you don't like reading stuff that’s 60 to 90 years old, you probably aren't going to like reading these books. 

Some people can’t get through Graham. I don’t know why. But you might be one of those people. Sample some of Graham’s actual writing first to find out.

If you just want the core "how to invest" stuff by Ben Graham, it's simply:

1. The Interpretation of Financial Statements (1937) - $17.84

2. Security Analysis (1940) - $34.71

3. The Intelligent Investor (1949) - $19.39

So we’re talking a $75 set.

The usual caveats for any decades old academic / technical writing applies to these books.

All the information in them is dated. This isn't what Graham would write today. It's like reading Keynes or something. It's a classic. But it's definitely not the way today’s students are introduced to the field.

I get asked which editions of The Intelligent Investor and Security Analysis I prefer. The answer is the 1940 edition of Security Analysis and the 1949 edition of The Intelligent Investor.

Different people have different preferences. Those are mine.

The book I'm giving away in this month's blind stock valuation contest is the 1949 edition of the Intelligent Investor. To be clear, these are all modern reprints. I don't own - and am not giving away - collector's pieces. Although, obviously, copies of the memoirs are "collectible" in the sense that they've appreciated in value. I think new copies retailed for $28 in 1996.

Regardless, you should only buy these books if you intend to read them - repeatedly.

Talk to Geoff About Building Your Own Ben Graham Library