Chapter 10

Finding Value in Junk

Martin J. Whitman

Education and Martin J. Whitman are closely linked.

There’s the Whitman School of Management, named in his honor, at Syracuse University, where he received the bulk of his undergraduate education, graduating magna cum laude in 1949 and topping that off, nine years later, with a Masters in economics from the New School for Social Research in New York City.

There are the 30-plus years Whitman spent as Distinguished Management Fellow at the Yale School of Management, along with teaching stints at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and at his eponymous Whitman School.

There are the books that have become classic texts and de rigueur reading for anyone interested in investing, security analysis, and how not to lose your shirt in the market—The Aggressive Conservative Investor and Value Investing: A Balanced Approach—along with numerous articles on a range of topics.

There are the lectures on securities and valuations at leading law schools and at forums and management conferences around the country.

Perhaps the commitment to education derives from Whitman’s being the only son of Jewish immigrants who came to the United States from Poland in 1920, just at the tail end of that great mass migration of a people legendary for cherishing learning.

Perhaps it is because he remains grateful, in his ninth decade, for the gift of education provided by the GI Bill in return for his four years of torpor in the Navy during World ...

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