The Education of a Value Investor: My Transformative Quest for Wealth, Wisdom, and Enlightenment, written by Guy Spier was one of the investing related books that I wanted to read for 2021. To be honest, I had no expectations for this book, and I was pleasantly blown away. Here’s my The Education of a Value Investor book review.
Who is Guy Spier?
I didn’t know much about Guy Spier before reading this book. All I knew was that he went in on a deal with Mohnish Pabrai (he wrote The Dhandho Investor and turned $30,000 to $60 million in 20 years) to pay over $650,000 to have lunch with Warren Buffett. For some reason, I had the impression that he seemed arrogant?
Guy Spier is an investor based out of Zurich and he runs the Aquamarine Fund. He emulates his investments based on Warren Buffett style investing, focusing on using no debt, and focusing on businesses that have good management and good cash flow.
Guy Spier launched the fund with $15 million in assets under management in 1997. He used to be an investment banker from New York, he is well educated, with a MBA from Harvard Business School and a degree from Oxford University.
Education of a Value Investor Summary
The Education of a Value Investor was published in 2014. This book isn’t about how to invest, but it is more about Guy Spier’s journey from a young optimistic, and possibly arrogant, investment banker on Wall Street to a humble investor who is more careful about what he is exposed to in terms of investment information. It also highlights the transformation when you realize that giving to others is more important than receiving in the investing world.
He shares the life changing and serendipitous impact that small efforts such as writing thank you notes are to your life and how we all just want to connect with others and learn from others. For example, if he didn’t write a thank you note to Mohnish Pabrai for giving a great talk, he wouldn’t have developed a life long friend and he wouldn’t have been able to have that unforgettable lunch with Warren Buffett.
Guy Spier also shares the mistakes that he made being at the helm of his Aquamarine Fund, including how he structured the fund, what his thoughts were during the 2008 crisis (and how much his fund was down) and how he managed it, and investing in the Tupperware company!
What I Liked About Education of a Value Investor
I really liked how The Education of a Value Investor was based on Guy Spier’s own journey with investing and how he candidly shares his thoughts and what he learned throughout his journey on his path towards investing enlightenment.
There was an excerpt in the book that was interesting, he had the opportunity to hear Warren Buffett speak in school but he didn’t pay any attention at the time because he was busy courting someone in the class. He also bumped into Warren Buffett in the bathroom.
This is similar to how my husband bumped into Mohnish Pabrai in the bathroom at the Daily Journey Annual General Meeting a few years back.
After reading The Making of an American Capitalist, he became a Warren Buffett convert and disciple. This book was great, I really enjoyed it too, and liked it better than The Snowball.
The rest is history and this is how his value investing journey began.
I also didn’t realize how Guy Spier was such good friends with Mohnish Pabrai. From reading this book, I like Mohnish Pabrai even more. I follow him on Twitter and enjoy watching his road biking videos in addition to his investment opinions, haha.
The other thing I liked about this book was that he shares in detail the lunch with Warren Buffett. Guy Spier also shares about his tour of Warren Buffett’s Kiewit plaza office, where he writes that Warren Buffett has an area of his office where he can take a nap.
It makes me feel better about my napping during the day with two young kids.
Finally, he shares an investment checklist and process of sorts when selecting a business to invest in. For example, he looks for primary sources first (no talking to management), only checking stock prices once a week (to decrease noise), and not talking about current investments to people (especially journalists) because it might cloud his decision making.
What I Didn’t Like About Education of a Value Investor
I really don’t have anything negative so say about this book, but I guess a bit more about his technical approach to selecting businesses to invest in would be nice.
My Education of a Value Investor book review is very positive.
As mentioned earlier, I had no or low expectations for this book but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was because it’s not just a book about investing but a book about learning and self-enlightenment. I liked it because Guy Spier is completely straight forward and honest in his book.
He tells you his investment regrets, he tells you how he struggled with separating his ego from his investing, and he tells the ways in which he tries to decrease the cognitive and psychological biases against investing rationally.
For example, he moved from New York (the epicentre of Wall Street and all the buzz it brings) to Switzerland to find his calm and not be distracted with noise.
This book is not only about investing, but the psychology behind business and relationships, and it is even a book about self-growth and how life experience is your best teacher. Guy Spier emphasizes that money is largely irrelevant as your wealth grows, and that giving back to society is more rewarding than building up your net worth.
Guy Spier even shares books that have improved his investing journey in the back pages of the book, but he also shares it here too.
If you have Twitter, here’s his Twitter handle, right now he’s mainly talking about how Switzerland has failed with their vaccination campaign.
What is your The Education of a Value Investor book review?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.