In John Train’s The Midas Touch (Amazon; recent post), published in 1987, he describes Warren Buffett as 85% influenced by Benjamin Graham and 15% by Philip Fisher. After re-reading Fisher’s Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits and typing up 15+ pages of notes to substitute for a future re-read, I am convinced that Buffett is much closer to 85%-Fisher and 15%-Graham, and he was arguably already leaning more Fisher-like than Graham when Train began writing about him. Put Common Stocks on your reading list and consider a re-read if it’s already on your shelf.
On Monday (Sept. 8), The New York Times’ DealBook carried a memo from Jefferies’ top brass, Richard Handler and Brief Friedman, addressed to the firm’s senior bankers concerning the treatment and talent cultivation of junior bankers. As a Leucadia (NYSE: LUK) shareowner — Leucadia acquired Jefferies in early 2013 — this was a refreshing memo and another instance in which I believe Handler means what he says. I became a Leucadia shareowner via the Jefferies acquisition because in November 2011 I was convinced after reviewing Jefferies financial statements and trusted Handler’s statements (not to mention his transparency) that there was scant evidence to support the amateurish and whorish short smear of Jefferies (whose shares quickly fell by ~50% out of fear the i-bank was another shitshow à la MF Global).