"Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later win a little more."
-- Louis L'Amour
Every athlete in the 2006 Winter Games prepared to face the competition one day at a time. And it was the little things that meant the difference between gold and silver, standing on the podium or watching from the side.
An extra sit-up. An extra set of reps. An extra lap around the track. These little things are crucial to becoming the champ you want to be. And the same holds true for investing. Here's a training session to help you become the best investor you can be.
A daily regimen
The best value investors read every day.
While I am fortunate to be able to read for two to three hours a day, Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, and Lou Simpson of Berkshire Hathaway read considerably more. In a conversation with Michael Mauboussin recently, he told me most of his day is spent reading. Bill Miller always talks about papers and books that continue to influence his thinking.
So read TheWall Street Journal. Read The Economist. Read great investment books like Philip Fisher's Common Stocks, Uncommon Profits. Read books like Deep Simplicity and Nature: An Economic History, recommended by Munger and Miller, respectively.
And don't forget about reaching out to the community. There is a wealth of knowledge there and the interactions can lead to deeper understanding.
So take it from these master investors and read: It's the mental workout our brains need every day.
A monthly dive for value
After your daily readings, you need to be ready to dive deeper into at least one company every month. A quick scan is well and good, but you'll never get ahead of the crowd unless you commit. And commitment requires endurance. Go, investor, go!
A few months ago, Symantec
I scanned the financials, headed to our Fool message boards, and then concluded that First Marblehead was out of my circle of competence. On the other hand, Symantec faces tough competition from companies like McAfee
This month, Apple
A quarterly triathlon
Every quarter, read the quarterly reports of your favorite fund managers. They are full of knowledge and ripe for interesting ideas.
Wally Weitz, advisor of Weitz Funds, is a manager I respect. While reading a quarterly report, I discovered Cabela's, the outdoor sporting goods retailer. But just because Wally owns the stock doesn't mean that it's necessarily a great idea. He owns Comcast as well -- a company that I think requires too much capital to generate consistently high returns.
I decided to analyze Cabela's, its strategy, its financials, and the industry. And after doing my due diligence, I decided to make an investment after the price dropped following the IPO and the secondary offering. Although the stock is down 10% from my purchase price, I believe Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops are in a two-horse race, since competitor Gander Mountain is having a tougher time with its smaller stores.
So you can see that doing that deep investing marathon every quarter can lead to some unsuspected values.
Inside Value training camp
It takes time to be the best at what we do. To be the best investor for your own portfolio, you have to be diligent in your training. The Winter Games only happen once every 4 years, but those athletes are ready to go. Are you ready?
If you're a little out of shape on your value investing strategy, take a workout session with Philip Durell. He's been doing his training every day for a long time. So register today for a 30-day guest pass to see how many gold medals he's won so far. The pass is free and there's plenty of great reading material. You too can train your way to great returns.
Microsoft is an Inside Value recommendation.