What Do You Want to Own?
Man the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.
The stock market is a curious place because everyone participating in it is loosely interested in the same thing—making money. Still, there is no uniform path to achieving this rather uniform goal. You may be only a few mouse clicks away from purchasing the popular book The Warren Buffett Way,1 but only one man has ever truly followed the path of Warren Buffett. In investing, it is hard enough to succeed as an original; as a copycat, it is virtually impossible. Each of us must carve out a personal way to investment success, even if you are a professional investor.
That said, great investors like Ben Graham, Seth Klarman, and Warren Buffett have much to teach us, and we have much to gain by learning from them. One of the masters' key teachings is as important as it is simple: A share of stock represents a share in the ownership of a business. A stock exchange simply provides a convenient means of exchanging your ownership for cash. Without an exchange, your ownership of a business would not change. The ability to sell your stake would be negatively affected, but you would still be able to do it, just as you can sell your car or house if you decide to do so.
Unfortunately, when we actually start investing, we are inevitably bombarded with distractions that make it easy to forget the essence of stock ...