Benjamin Graham Biography – How does Benjamin Graham Value Stocks?

Benjamin GrahamBen Graham
Ben Graham was born in London in 1894, and he passed away at the age of 82 in 1976. He is a matchless investment manager and a surpassing financial educator. He is the author of many classic writings that have no match in investing. He is the pioneer of security analysis and value investing. His career was marked by working for Newburger, Henderson & Loeb, and later at Graham – Newman Corporation.

Many professional investors hold his books the best for the stock market. Two of many titles that exalt him from the crowd are “Security Analysis,” written in 1934, and “The Intelligent Investor,” published in 1949. Those two books are considered a must-read, and they have used literature at the universities.

  • Early Life and Education
    • Benjamin Grossbaum was born in London, England, on May 8, 1894.
    • He moved to New York City with his family at the age of one.
    • She excelled academically, particularly in mathematics.
    • He attended Columbia University on a scholarship, graduating second in his class at 20.
    • He was offered a position to teach English, mathematics, and philosophy but turned it down to work on Wall Street.
  • Career on Wall Street
    • He started his career at Newburger, Henderson, and Loeb, eventually becoming a partner.
    • He experienced the Wall Street crash of 1929 and its aftermath, which shaped his investment philosophy.
    • She founded the Graham-Newman Partnership in 1926, a successful investment fund.
  • Investment Philosophy and Influence
    • She developed the concept of “value investing” – investing in undervalued stocks with strong potential for growth.
    • She emphasized the importance of a company’s intrinsic value and margin of safety.
    • His investment principles had a significant influence on modern investment theory.
  • Key Publications
    • Authored “Security Analysis” in 1934 with David Dodd, considered the bible of value investing.
    • Published “The Intelligent Investor” in 1949, it is widely acclaimed for its investment philosophy and is recommended reading for investors.
  • Teaching and Legacy
    • He taught at Columbia Business School, where his courses were top-rated.
    • Mentored Warren Buffett, among others, who became a legendary investor in his own right.
    • They passed away on September 21, 1976, but left a lasting impact on the field of investment.
  • Personal Life
    • He is known for his modest lifestyle despite his success.
    • Passionate about languages and philosophy.

Graham’s principles of investing, especially the concept of value investing and the margin of safety continue to influence investors and finance professionals globally. His teachings and publications remain relevant and are still studied in finance and investing.

Ben Graham is regarded as the most influential analyst of applied portfolio investment. He is known for teaching Warren Buffet and many other famous and successful investors, demonstrating his ability to pass on knowledge and not just present the ways and methods of his work.
Ben Graham migrated to New York with his family when he was just a twelve-month-old baby. When his father died eight years later, his life became preoccupied with financial problems.

He got a job as a messenger at a Wall Street company, “Newburger, Henderson & Loeb,” after graduating from Columbia University in 1914. In just six years, he became a partner in the company. Years later, he founded a company together with Jerome Newman. His work until his retirement was teaching about finance at Columbia University. Ben Graham went bankrupt during the Great Depression, but he successfully revived his financial status very soon after that.

Ben Graham explains his investing style in his book “The Intelligent Investor,” in short, the basics of his investing methods are that an investment needs to be bought for less of its actual value. “Margin of safety” is the phrase he uses to describe how an investor should find what to invest in. That means an investor should find a company whose value is temporarily low but has a bright future. S,o the “Margin of safety” is the difference between the actual value of a company and the price (lower than the actual value) that the company is to be bought for.

Benjamin Graham’s trading style, primarily focused on value investing, is a cornerstone of modern investment philosophy. Here’s an in-depth explanation of his approach:

Core Principles of Graham’s Investing Style

1. Value Investing

  • Definition: Graham’s strategy was based on investing in undervalued stocks—those whose share prices don’t fully reflect their intrinsic worth.
  • Intrinsic Value: He focused on a company’s intrinsic value, which he calculated based on its assets, earnings, dividends, and financial strength.
  • Long-Term Approach: Graham advocated for a long-term horizon, emphasizing investment over speculation.

2. Margin of Safety

  • Key Concept: This is perhaps Graham’s most critical contribution. The ‘margin of safety’ refers to the difference between the intrinsic value of a stock and its market price. A significant margin of safety minimizes the risk of loss.
  • Risk Management: By buying stocks at prices well below their intrinsic values, investors protect themselves from market uncertainties and fluctuations.

3. Fundamental Analysis

  • Financial Health: Graham emphasized analyzing a company’s financial statements, looking for firms with strong balance sheets, low debt, and good cash flow.
  • Earnings Stability: Consistent earnings history was a critical factor in his analysis.

4. Diversification

  • Risk Spreading: He recommended diversification of investments to manage risk. However, he cautioned against over-diversification, suggesting a focused yet varied portfolio.

Graham’s Investment Strategies

1. Defensive Investing

  • Aimed at preserving capital and obtaining a reasonable return.
  • I preferred well-established, large-cap companies with a consistent record of dividends.
  • She emphasized diversification to reduce risk.

2. Enterprising Investing

  • More aggressive, involving buying undervalued stocks and selling them when they rise to their intrinsic value.
  • Focused on smaller, less popular companies with growth potential.
  • Requires more time, effort, and knowledge than defensive investing.

Notable Techniques and Criteria

1. Net-Net Method

  • Graham often invested in companies whose market capitalizations were less than their net current asset values—essentially buying businesses for less than their liquidation value.

2. Stock Selection Criteria

  • Adequate Size: Larger companies are preferred due to stability and lower risk.
  • Strong Financial Condition: Focused on companies with low debt-to-equity ratios.
  • Earnings Stability: Companies with a history of consistent earnings.
  • Dividend Record: Companies with a consistent record of paying dividends.
  • Earnings Growth: A minimum increase in per-share earnings over the years.
  • Moderate Price-to-Earnings Ratio: Avoided overpaying for good prospects.
  • Moderate Price-to-Book Ratio: Preferred companies with a lower price than their book value.

Influence and Legacy

  • Influential Mentoring: Graham’s most famous student, Warren Buffett, credits Graham’s teachings as the foundation of his investment strategy.
  • Lasting Impact: His principles laid the groundwork for what is now known as value investing, a strategy still widely used today.
  • Books and Publications: His books, especially “The Intelligent Investor” and “Security Analysis,” are essential readings in finance and investing.


Benjamin Graham’s investment style is characterized by its disciplined, analytical approach and emphasis on intrinsic value and margin of safety. His legacy endures in the investment world, and his strategies are as relevant today as they were in his time. His systematic approach has guided generations of investors in making more informed and rational investment decisions.

How does Benjamin Graham value stocks?

The price,e, in comparison to the actual value,e, is – better. He firmly believed that a stock’s market price is never the same as the actual value. He explained that Mr. Market – as he called it – will always have the value of the stock prices change and that that is an opportunity for wise investors to buy something lower than its actual value and sell it when the price gets more excellent value. He pointed out how following the crowd must be avoided, and the lower-priced stocks must be searched for.

Benjamin Graham Quotes

If you are shopping for common stocks, choose them the way you would buy groceries, not the way you would buy perfume.

Finance has a fascination for many bright young people with limited means. They would like to be both intelligent and enterprising in the placement of their savings, even though investment income is much less important to them than their salaries. This attitude is all to the good. There is a great advantage for the young capitalist to begin his financial education and experience early.

If he is going to operate as an aggressive investor he is certain to make some mistakes and to take some losses. Youth can stand these disappointments and profit by them. We urge the beginner in security buying not to waste his efforts and his money in trying to beat the market. Let him study security values and initially test out his judgment on price versus value with the smallest possible sums.

Basically, price fluctuations have only one significant meaning for the true investor. They provide him with an opportunity to buy wisely when prices fall sharply and to sell wisely when they advance a great deal. At other times he will do better if he forgets about the stock market and pays attention to his dividend returns and to the operating results of his companies.

Have the courage of your knowledge and experience. If you have formed a conclusion from the facts and if you know your judgment is sound, act on it – even though others may hesitate or differ. You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right.

The underlying principles of sound investment should not alter from decade to decade, but the application of these principles must be adapted to significant changes in the financial mechanisms and climate.

Books :

Security Analysis, ISBN 978-0-07-159253-6
The Intelligent Investor
Storage and Stability: A Modern Ever-normal Granary, New York: McGraw Hill. 1937 ISBN 0-07-024774-9[30]
The Interpretation of Financial Statements
World Commodities and World Currency, New York & London, McGraw-Hill Book Company. 1944 ISBN 0-07-024806-0
Benjamin Graham, The Memoirs of the Dean of Wall Street (1996) ISBN 978-0-07-024269-2

An interesting fact from BenGraham’sm Wikipedia page :

Graham’s most famous student is Warren Buffett. According to Buffett, Graham said that he wished every day to do something foolish, something creative, and something generous. Buffett said that Graham excelled most at the last.Some of Graham’s most famous disciples, who have drawn on the works of several Columbia Business School alumni, many of whom were direct disciples of Benjamin Graham himself, include famous Value Investors such as Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Philip Fischer, Walter Schloss, Peter Lynch, John Templeton, Mohnish Pabrai, Amit Ayare, Whitney Tilson, Prem Watsa, Lauren Templeton, Jerome Chazen and many more.



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