I tend to confuse in my head Ben Graham's story with that of his most famous protege: be born, start managing money, get rich, live happily ever after. But Graham's life was much more complicated, both personally and professionally, with as many twists and turns as his literary hero Odysseus. His memoirs are not a how-to guide to becoming a successful investor (that 's what this and this are), but they are inspirational to me, and a timely reminder of how one great investor survived Wall Street's darkest days.
- Graham skirted financial ruin several times, beginning at age nine when his father died, and ending when the fund he managed endured seven painful years during the Depression.
- For the manager selectors like me who have struggled to construct a psychological profile of the "ideal investor," consider that Graham did not particularly care about money, studied no finance and almost no economics in college, and was alternately extravangant and miserly in his personal expenditures.
- He says things like this: "Several decades were to pass, and many vicissitudes to be undergone, before I could master the simplest and most important of all the rules of material welfare: The most brilliant financial strategy consists of living well within one's means."