Value Investing, or How Not to Go Broke

Few outside the investment circle would have known him, but to those that lounge on Wall Street, it is as familiar as the names of George Washington or Pythagoras. He is Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing.

Graham was born in England, but he soon moved to New York with his two older brothers. His father died young at only 35, leaving his family in the care of Maurice Gerard, his uncle who is a civil engineer. Gerard quickly realized young Graham’s talents and nurtured them, later even becoming one of Graham’s first business partners. Graham then achieved the second highest score ever given on a national scholarship test and was accepted into the University of Columbia with a scholarship. He graduated the second of his class.

Upon entering Wall Street, he worked his way up, from the very basic job of posting stock listings to a highly respected investor. He used his natural talents of logic and mathematics to analyse the market and the companies behind them, opening a new path to investments. It is not just about looking at fluctuations and the DJIA, the company asset value, or insider information. By combining deep analysis into all parts of company data, he created a cult in Wall Street who followed his example to this day.

He had realized at the peak of career that he has a duty to pass on his knowledge and thinkings to those who need it. He went to teach at his alma mater, Columbia University, creating a popular course that many of the current world’s greatest investors sat through. His most famous student is perhaps Warren Buffett, with a net worth of 79.2 B dollars. Graham’s natural love of teaching able young minds and his talent for using examples and class debates to reinforce concepts made him a hugely popular teacher with many students travelling from remote places to see him. This group of students eventually became the Graham-Dodds ville, an intellectual village with many elites in Wall Street. The success of those who followed Graham can be clearly seen in Buffett’s 1984 speech of “The Superinvestors“. Graham’s brilliant theories in a world of chance helped many stand their ground even in crisis, and saved them from a fate of bankruptcy. He made his contributions to the economy by levitating investor’s faith in stock exchange after crashes and giving birth to many of the world’s greatest philanthropists. He ideas helped materialize the dreams of many who had nothing but their mind, their 200 dollars and their passion.

Logic and mathematical thinking has always been part of my approach on the world, and the investment community have always been a jewel that I want to explore. Growing up in a foreign country with a middle class family, Graham had learnt to be confident of himself and to believe in his potential to achieve. His generosity and air of positivity are things that I look up to. I believe that his ideas on investing will not just apply to the financial field, but also the lives of everyone influenced by him.

Giphy.com

Harrison Burgeron Film vs. Short Story

The film “2081” was a better medium for the story of Harrison Bergeron. This is mostly due to the fact that it is much more realistic and occur in settings that we can relate to. When reading the short story, “Harrison Bergeron”, we are not inclined to take the story and understand or apply it in our world because of the fantasy-like descriptions of Harrison. Instances like him carrying three hundred pounds, flying and “[abandoning] the law of gravity and the laws of motion,” decreased the effectiveness of the satire by stripping away connections to the real world. As readers, we create meaning both though the text and our previous experiences, so if we can’t make any obvious connections when reading, we take away less from the story. Besides that, the film conveys messages to us through imagery and sound. Harrison is seen with long hair, in a white suit carrying his handicaps on his shoulders. It is a familiar allusion to Jesus, who died for the redemption of his people, hinting that Harrison may be the only savior of his world. On the same level, sound was also used to the story’s advantage. We know that Hazel unconsciously hums the song that played during Harrison’s confrontation with the HG men. It makes us wonder whether she really remember Harrison’s tragic death. These kinds of references are never found in the short story, and they invite us to probe deeper into the tale. The film helps us know more of Harrison, George and even Hazel’s wants and fears, making it a superior medium for the short satire.

Sorry, I thought I posted it, but actually not. I found out when showing it to others at lunch on Tuesday. 

Racism.

The these in David Suzuki ‘s “Racism”, told through scientific discoveries as well as personal anecdotes, is that we should always stand up to bigotry. He states that we are otherwise tacitly supporting it, and soon, it will be our turn too if the practice of racism is not stopped. As a geneticist, Suzuki uncovered the ugly misconception behind racial discrimination, that for example, it was thought that all Japanese people hide treachery because of an action taken by a nation that Nisei and Sansei have never seen. Suzuki himself “[has] always been keen to inform people and raise the alarm about misapplication of the rules of hereditary”, and it may have changed someone as profoundly as the acts of kindness that he received from the Chinese cook or the RCMP (20). Bigotry is still in our lives today, even in this ideal world. In the news, we hear of stories of people being harassed for their ethnicity, and in schools, stereotypes restrict our potentials. Even as youths who doesn’t seem to hold a lot of say, Suzuki urges his grandsons and the readers to speak up about bigotry, because the cycle just might stop in our generation. It is when bigotry is the norm that it prevails. By stopping the “[people with] closed minds, ignorance, and fear of difference,” as Suzuki summed up, we can bring awareness to those who rejects or are oblivious of the past, to make them understand the damage it deals, and the fallacy of its origins (30).

English Post #2

From the firm and shocking TED talk, “The Danger of a Single Story”, to the tragic story of “The Metaphor”, I took away the idea that physical appearances or outward personalities are only single stories that need to be expanded, and that we need to seek out more stories and share them to the world so that people can be understood. In the story “Emil” by Stuart Mclean, we see the character Dave judging and squishing Emil into the general stereotype of homelessness. It is until later that Dave began to connect and understand Emil with the help of his wife. Morley, in this case, shows stories that fills the single story of Emil to Dave, helping Dave build compassion and empathy. “The Metaphor” by Budge Wilson brings a more stricken message. Miss Hancock’s makeup that is applied with “an excess of zeal and a minimum of control” along with her overly dramatic attitude that younger children delights over betrays her in front of parents and youth (215). The grade 10 class that Miss Hancock enters “white with tension and left it defeated” eventually pushed her to her end (230). Miss Hancock is a single story of a somewhat insane and childish teacher to her class, and Charlotte, as the only one to know the other side of the equation, of what a great teacher she could be, remains silent. To Charlotte, life’s most precious gifts are “the admiration of my peers, local fame, boys, social triumphs,” and it is not surprising that she is silent about her inner compassion towards Miss Hancock (227). If Charlotte and her classmates had had a more complete story of what success in life mean, and they can learn not just from watching adults in their shells, but connect with them and touch their hearts, it may be a different story.