The best way to learn about a subject, it is often said, is to write a book about it. Over the last 20 years I have written and/or commissioned several books on investment themes, as well as an illustrated guide to the game of bridge. Apart from the latter, my books all reflect a longstanding interest in studying the ideas and methods of the most successful professional investors of my time – an interest that was first sparked nearly thirty years ago when I completed a thesis on the methods of Warren Buffett for a Master’s degree at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
The Investment Trusts Handbook is an annual publication, which I edit and contribute several sections to. It is now in it is fourth year. I started the handbook with the aim of helping private investors better understand the dynamics of the investment trust sector. It includes reviews of the year, interviews, professional perspectives, a directory of the 200 largest investment trusts and a detailed guide to analysing trusts. The 2021 edition is scheduled for publication in December 2020. For more information visit the dedicated handbook page. It is now available to order from Harriman House, Amazon and other online booksellers.
My first book, Money Makers, is a study of the lives, methods and philosophy of eight professional investors who achieved success in very different ways. The original edition is now out of print, but a revised and updated version was published by Harriman House. Those profiled include Anthony Bolton, Nils Taube, Mark Mobius, Ian Rushbrook, Jim Slater, Colin McLean and John Carrington. The conclusions to be drawn from their experience remain only too valid today. Where appropriate, for the second edition I updated the book to include comments about the opportunities and threats facing investors at the time.
Investing with Anthony Bolton was first published 2004, with a revised second edition in 2006. This is the first and only full-length study of the methods and performance of a man who by common consent has been the most successful investment manager of modern times in the UK. £1,000 invested in Anthony Bolton’s Fidelity Special Situations fund at its launch in 1979 was worth more than £140,000 by the time he relinquished control of the fund in December 2007. During that period the fund outperformed its benchmark index by a remarkable 6% per annum, compounded over nearly three decades. The book tells the story of the fund from the beginning, analyses how it came to be so successful and draws out the lessons for investors generally. I was able to spend a lot of time discussing investment with my subject before his retirement; an enlightening experience.
Templeton’s Way With Money is co-authored with Dr Sandy Nairn, the CEO of Edinburgh Partners, who worked closely with Sir John Templeton for many years, latterly as Director of Global Equity Research for the Franklin-Templeton group. The book, published by John Wiley in March 2012, is the first wholly independent study of the investment philosophy and methods of one of the twentieth century’s greatest investors, written from a purely professional perspective. As well as interviews with some of his closest associates, we draw on previously unpublished letters to clients of Templeton’s investment advisory firm to explain his ideas and uncover, with the help of new proprietary research, why the stockpicking methods he developed were able to produce such exceptional returns over such a long period.
You can order all these books online, from the publishers or from Amazon and other online box stores.
Links to the books
Over the years I have encouraged other professional investors who I think have an interesting story to tell to write books about their knowledge and experience. I edit and co-publish these with my joint venture colleagues at Harriman House, the UK’s leading independent publisher of investment and trading titles.