Seth Klarman’s 27-year-old book, Margin of Safety, is one expensive book. $3,000 expensive. Its lessons on investing strategies have held true throughout the decades. Readers are hungry for its secrets. Ongoing interest may have just as much to do with the success of the author as it does with the content.
The Man Behind The Cover
Klarman has done pretty well for himself over the years. Apparently, his strategies work. His net worth? $1.5 billion, according to Forbes. Klarman is the CEO and president of the Baupost Group hedge fund. If you haven’t heard of him, that’s because he likes it that way.
Klarman keeps a low-profile, all-the-while being one of the most successful long-term performers in the hedge fund industry. The Economist calls him the “Oracle of Boston,” an homage to billionaire investor Warren Buffet’s nickname — the “Oracle of Omaha.”
Does It Have The Goods?
Where success goes, readers will follow, at least when it comes to actionable, time-tested investment strategies. Klarman promotes the concept of value investing. In a nutshell, it explains how to identify and buy shares in companies that are undervalued.
For the technique to pay off, it takes a great deal of long-term vision and discipline. Most people, Klarman says “[won’t ever] devote sufficient time and effort to become value investors, and only a fraction of those have the proper mindset to succeed.”
How It Got So Dang Expensive
The original price of the book was around $25. Only 5,000 copies were ever printed. It was considered a flop. Today, Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor has achieved cult status.
By 2011, copies of the book had already reached astronomical prices. In 2015, online copies were available for between $1,300 and $3,000. Not long ago, a “brand-new condition” copy was listed on eBay at $3,325.
I guess it was a little too early to call Margin of Safety a flop back in the day. This flop just got flipped… big time.