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One-Year Course to Reinvent How You Invest,

Do Work that Matters, and

Create Your Own Financial Freedom

Get Deeper & Accelerated Learning in Value Investing
and Personal Finance, Plus Step-by-Step Guidance on
Turning Your Passion into Paycheque


The Safal Niveshak Mastermind

I hope you enjoy the three complimentary chapters from The Safal Niveshak Mastermind
one-year course to help you reinvent how you invest, work, and live.

You will find complete details of the Value Investing Course at the end of this PDF.
I trust that this taste will whet your appetite for more!

For more on the Course and how you can register for the upcoming batch, visit HERE.

Copyright 2013 by Skylab Media & Research
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying,
recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without
permission in writing from the publisher.

Published by:
Skylab Media & Research | Safal Niveshak
Website: www.safalniveshak.com

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Introduction: No Time for Excuse. Start Now .............................. 04
Lesson 1: Are You an Investor or Speculator? ............................ 13
Lesson 2: Being a Value Investor .................................................. 19
Course Brochure ............................................................................. 29

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No Time for Excuse. Start Now!
There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth;
not going all the way, and not starting. ~ Buddha

The leading American entrepreneur, author and public speaker Seth Godin has had a
great influence on my life as a writer and thinker.

In his latest book titled The Icarus Deception, Seth writes about the story of Icarus,
whose father Daedalus fashioned two pairs of wings out of wax and feathers for himself
and his son to fly out of a prison they were captivated in.

Daedalus tried his wings first, but before taking off from the island, warned his son not
to fly too close to the sun, nor too close to the sea, but to follow his path of flight.
However, overcome by the giddiness that flying lent him, Icarus soared through the sky
curiously, but in the process he came too close to the sun, which melted the wax.

Icarus kept flapping his wings but soon realized that he had no feathers left and that he
was only flapping his bare arms, and so he fell into the sea and died.

The Icarus myth is often used as an example of when hubris or over-confidence of flying too high can go badly

However Seth, in his book, points out that there is another part of the story Icaruss father Daedalus also told his
son not to fly too low as the water could also damage his wings.

As per Seth

Society has altered the myth, encouraging us to forget the part about the sea, and created a culture where we
constantly remind one another about the dangers of standing up, standing out, and making a ruckus.

However, he writes, settling for too little is a far more common failing.

The crux of Seths book is that we all have the potential to do great work in life. However to do so, we need to leave
our comfort zones to fly closer to the sun.

What this requires of us is to have the hubris to take bigger risks and create new things.

This requires facing up to the pain involved in the process, and being open to possible failure and criticism.
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Are You Flying Too Low?
In the investing world where you find more and more people sleepwalking through their lives instead of taking the
risk of going against the crowd, it pays to be an Icarus.

Given that Icarus has set a precedent for you, you dont need to fly too close to the sun by having a false arrogance and
thus risking your lifes savings to earn super-normal returns.

But then, theres a great risk in flying too low and settling for mediocre long-term returns on your money (mediocre
means anything less than inflation), which could happen only if you play a rash money game.

Can You Really Fly?
I have heard hundreds of times over the past few years that small investors cant really win the investing game that is
stacked heavily against them.

The argument goes If large, intelligent investors with an army of analysts and complex mathematical tools cannot
beat the market, how can small investor do it?

If you are in search for an answer to this question, I hope you have heard this
small story of a hound (wild dog) spotting a rabbit and giving it a chase. After
some distance, the hound began to gain, but then gave up the chase.

As it returned home, a farmer commented that the little rabbit had been too
much for the hound, who replied, Its one thing to run for your dinner, but
quite another to run for your life.

In the same way, when it comes to investing, the big investors are merely
chasing returns to earn their bonuses (the food).

You, the small investor, must play the game for your life, i.e., to earn enough to meet your lifes most important goals.

Here is what Peter Lynch, an outstanding ex-fund manager in the US, once said

I have been hearing that the small investor has no chance in this dangerous environment where there are 50,000
professional stock pickers who dominate the show and the small investor ought to get out.

From where I sit, Id say that the 50,000 stock pickers are usually right, but only for the last 20 percent of a typical
stock move. Its that last 20 percent that Wall Street studies for, clamours for, and then lines up for all the while
with a sharp eye on the exits. The idea is to make a quick gain and then stampede out the door.

Small investors dont have to fight this mob. They can calmly walk in the entrance when theres a crowd at the exit,
and walk out the exit when theres a crowd at the entrance.
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You got the point, right?

As a small investor, youve got huge inherent advantages that professional money managers dont enjoy.

Now, its only the point of realizing that those advantages exist, and learning to profit from them.

Start Preparing for Tomorrow
We often blame our past and worry about our future.

The fact is that and you also know this life is in living NOW. Its all about the

Choices we make now;
Habits we form now;
Actions we take now; and
Enlightenment we receive now

Regretting about the past is like wasting time and energy on the impossible. And worrying about the future is like
having no belief in your capabilities.

Live in the present. Connect with it. Accept it. Experience the joy of being.

Do it NOW.

The best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with all your intelligence, all your enthusiasm, on
doing todays work superbly today.

That is the only possible way you can prepare for the future.

When I was ten years old, my grandfather would draw me a house with windows and doors. He would tell me how
many brick lengths the bottom and sides needed, and how many brick lengths each window and door would take.

Then he asked me how many bricks it would take to build the whole house. If I had trouble answering, he wouldnt
get upset.

He would simply say: This is how you build a house. One brick at a time.

Well, this is also how you build your wealth over the long term.

By not worrying about your future as an investor or the size of your wealth, but by practicing the right things
nowbit by bit.

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Just Write it Out
I dont know about you, but when I have a problem thats proving difficult to solve, I write it down and then apply
critical analysis to solving it. It helps me in coming up with solutions.

Just by identifying the exact pain point can help us to take positive steps in our investing life. This is because knowing
where it hurts the most enables us to look for targeted solutions.

As Seth Godin writes in The Icarus Deception, you are so much more than you ever thought you could be.

You are no longer burdened by what you thought were limitations. You are only limited by your ability to overcome
your fear of whats outside your comfort zone.

Now, if you are ready to fly high

Lets Start from the Start
Before we get into the Value Investing Course, let me touch upon what I will cover over the next few months?

Someone asked Buffett, If you were to teach an investment course, besides works by Ben Graham and Phil Fisher
and your letters, what would be on the syllabus?

Buffett answered

An education in investing requires only two courses How to Value a Business, and How to Think About Markets.

You dont have to know how to value all businesses. Start with a small circle of competence, things you can
understand. Look for things that are selling for less than theyre worth. Forget about things you cant understand.

You need to understand accounting, which has enormous limitations.

You need to understand when a competitive advantage is durable or fleeting.

Learn that the market is there to serve you, not instruct you.

In the investing business, if you have an IQ of 150, sell 30 points to someone else.

You do not need to be a genius.

You need to have emotional stability, inner peace and be able to think for yourself, since youre subjected to all sorts
of stimuli.

Its not a complicated game; you dont need to understand math.
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Its simple, but not easy.

Now, that makes my job easy!

Based on what Buffett suggests and based on my understating of how investing really works, the Value Investing
lessons you will receive over the next few months will revolve around these few things

Creating the value mindset
Conducting good investment behaviour
Creating a latticework of mental models
Building and growing circle of competence
Understanding businesses and moats
Financial analysis, with its limitations and shenanigans
Calculating intrinsic valuations
Putting it all and go compounding

I will try to cover all these lessons in a jargon-free, non-geeky way so that you find it simple to understand and

But then, a Buffett says, Its simple, but not easy.

How? Well, thats what we are going to learn as we progress with the course.

On picking businesses to invest in, Buffett says, I dont look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars
that I can step over.

I have designed this course to help you find those 1-foot bars in the stock market using proven business-like
principles and applying a value investing framework.

So, unfasten your safety belts, get over your fear of learning, be ready to change your behaviour, and get set on this
amazing, and adventurous, journey.

But please remember what a wise man once said Adventure comes with no guarantees or promises. Risk and
reward are conjoined twins.

This is the reason I always advice someone starting out that fortune favours the brave.

There are many good reasons not to toss your life up in the air and see where it lands. Just dont let fear be one of

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How to Become a Successful Investor?
We all dream of beating the market and being super investors and spend an undue amount of time and money in this
attempt. Consequently, we are easy prey for the magic bullets and the secret formulae offered by eager salespeople
pushing their wares. Bullets like

Heres the secret of finding market-beating stocks
Our strategy will help you find stocks like Buffett
We can help you multiply money by 4-5x

In spite of our best efforts and even after falling prey to sleazy marketing from money experts, most of us fail in our
attempts to be more than average investors.

Nonetheless, we keep trying, hoping that we can be more like the investing legends another Warren Buffett or Peter

We read the words written by and about successful investors, hoping to find in them the key to their stock-picking
abilities, so that we can replicate them and become wealthy quickly.

In our search, though, we are whipsawed by contradictions and anomalies. In one corner of the investment
landscape, stands someone like Vishal Khandelwal of Safal Niveshak, yelling to us to buy businesses with solid cash
flows and liquid assets because thats what worked for Buffett.

In another corner, someone else cautions us that this approach worked only in the old world, and that in the new
world of technology, we have to bet on companies with solid growth prospects.

In yet another corner, stands a silver tongued salesperson with vivid charts and presents you with evidence of his
capacity to get you in and out of markets at exactly the right times.

It is not surprising that facing this noise of claims and counterclaims that we end up more confused than ever.

I believe that to be successful with any investment strategy, you have to begin with an investment philosophy that is
consistent at its core and which matches not only the markets you choose to invest in but your individual

In other words, the key to success in investing may lie not in knowing what makes Warren Buffett or Peter Lynch
successful but in finding out more about yourself, as we will understand during the Course.

So, its all about being self aware by answering questions like

Am I a patient or impatient person?
Do I have a long term horizon?
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How do I respond to peer pressure?
Am I a worrier?
Am I a details person or a big picture person?

A little self introspection will pay off much more than investing your money in another get rich quickly book.

Ultimately, what I am arguing is that there is no one best investment philosophy that works for all investors. Like at
the end of this course, either you will love the concept of Value Investing and adopt it to invest your money, or you
will never try it for some obvious reasons (like Who has the time to do the hard work?).

Before Being Successful, How Do You Become Smarter?
I recently came across this wonderful article on Farnam Street, titled The Buffett Formula How to Get Smarter.

The answer that the author suggests, and as Buffett has stressed upon for long, is Read a lot.

Warren Buffett says, I just sit in my office and read all day.

Heres Charlie Mungers edition

We read a lot. I dont know anyone whos wise who doesnt read a lot. But thats not enough: You have to have a
temperament to grab ideas and do sensible things. Most people dont grab the right ideas or dont know what to do
with them.

What Munger says about people not grabbing the right ideas, Adler wrote in a different way in his book

The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.

So read, my friend. Read a lot.

Dont just read to absorb information. Thats what everyone else is doing. Instead, read to ask questions. Read to look
for answers. Read to understand the various answers. And read to decide for yourself the best answer for the question
you asked.

Now, if you think what I just suggested sounds like a lot of work, well youre right! I am sure most people wont do it,
just like most people will never sit quietly to understand why they are investing in the first place.

But you do itfor your own sake.

Remember what Munger says, The game of life is the game of everlasting learning. At least it is if you want to win.

Im sure youre here to win.
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Before We StartA Warning!
Before we start with this course, let me remind you that knowledge doesnt equal behavior.

If you have ever met me, you know that I am slightly overweight. Even I know this, and I know that the easiest way for
me to remedy this situation is for me to eat less and exercise more.

Sadly, despite my knowledge, I havent adjusted my behaviour completely especially when it comes to exercising
so as to see a drastic reduction in my waist size.

The same is true when it comes to investing. Learning the secrets of a sound investment process and realizing that we
are prone to behavioural biases is an important first step, but it isnt enough.

We need to force ourselves to actually change our behaviour by altering the way we approach investing.

Thats exactly what I will try to help you do through this course.

Napoleon Hill said in his amazing book Think and Grow Rich Desire is the starting point of all achievement,
not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.

I wish you that pulsating desire to change your investing life throughout this course, and even after that.

Before we start this course on Value Investing, the very first exercise I
want you to undertake is to start a diary where you should note down
all your key learnings over the next one year.

That diary will also double-up as an investing journal where you
should record all your thoughts and emotions while analysing stocks
and while making a buying/selling decision. It would serve you well
when you were to look at your past thought process, which will help
you avoid a lot of old mistakes.

You would be using your diary a lot of times during performing the
lesson exercises and preparing your investment checklist and
philosophy as we move ahead in the Course.

And, like I have done, you can name it Diary of a Dumb Investor to constantly remind yourself of how little you
know and how much is there to learn.

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In the first 1-2 pages of this diary, try answering these four questions that you must answer before starting anything
in life

1. What is my biggest fear of being a stock market investor?
2. What would happen if that fear came true?
3. Would it stop me from trying again?
4. What do I expect from the Mastermind course that would help me get over this fear?

Then head over to the Mastermind Forum via this link and answer the first and the last question there.

The reasons I would like you to answer these questions is not to just write them out and forget them, but because the
answers will lay the groundwork for an enhanced self awareness as far as your future as an investor is concerned.

I wish you all the best for the learning path you will cover over the next one year!

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Module 1 | Lesson 1
Are You an Investor or Speculator?
A lot of investors I meet or interact with through Safal Niveshak want to seek my opinion on their stock portfolios a
large number of them being in complete mess.

One big reason for the same is the fact that most of these people bought stocks without a hint of what they were
getting into. Its like they were flirting with someone and then saying they were serious all this while!

I still remember this small conversation with a friend sometime in October 2008. This gentleman, my classmate from
school, had been a bright student in the past. He was a practicing doctor, but had no clue about investing in the stock

But one fine day, on advice from some of his patients (yes, even patients can give doctors some painful advice!), took
his first step into the stock markets only to see his savings burn in the crash that followed.

Sometimes I wonder how even intelligent people (like my doctor friend) fall into the trap of playing with their hard-
earned money without knowing what they are getting into.

They work so hard for many years to become successful students, professionals, and businessmen. And then, in a
small phase of mindlessness, lose their entire savings just because someone advised them a way to become rich fast.

Most of such people I have had the luck to meet call what they are doing as investing.

If the father of investing or let me say sensible investing Benjamin Graham were to hear that, hed turned over in
his grave!

Graham was among the firsts to clearly define what investing actually is, and how it differs from what most people
do in the stock markets (like my friend did) i.e., speculate.

But before I take you to Grahams definition of investing and speculation, let me take you a bit deeper into their entire
confusion most people have between speculation and investing.

Let me first ask you What do you think is the difference between investing and speculation?

Think about the answer. Then first write down the definition of investing, and do the same for speculation.

The answers may not come by easily. But they should.

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After all, investing and speculation were first defined way back in 1688 when Joseph de la Vega wrote Confusion of
Confusions, one of the earliest books written on the working of the stock market.

In this book, de la Vega observed three classes of men:

1. The princes of business, called financial lords, were the wealthy investors.
2. The merchants, the occasional speculators, were the second class.
3. The last class was called the persistent speculators or the gamblers.

Then, around 250 years later, Philip Carret wrote a book called The Art of Speculation where he believed that the
best way to determine the difference between investment and speculation was the motive of the person involved.

Carret suggested that while an investor is concerned about the fundamentals of the business, the speculator is
worried just about the stock price.

He wrote, Speculation may be defined as the purchase or sale of securities or commodities in expectation of
profiting by fluctuations in their prices.

Sound eerily similar to what you have seen people around you doing? Or like you yourself have done over the

Anyways, lets now come to Benjamin Graham who differentiated between investing and speculation in the 1934
edition of his Bible of Value Investing called Security Analysis.

Graham defined

An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis, promises safety of principal and a satisfactory
return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative.

Let me now bring in Seth Klarman, who wrote in Margin of Safety

assets and securities can often be characterized as either investments or speculations. The distinction is not clear
to most people. Both investments and speculations can be bought and sold. Both typically fluctuate in price and can
thus appear to generate investment returns. But there is one crucial difference: investments throw off cash flow for
the benefit of the owners; speculations do not. The return to the owners of speculations depends exclusively on the
vagaries of the resale market.

Finally, heres what Warren Buffett says

The line separating investment and speculation, which is never bright and clear, becomes blurred still further
when most market participants have recently enjoyed triumphs. Nothing sedates rationality like large doses of
effortless money. After a heady experience of that kind, normally sensible people drift into behavior akin to that of
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Cinderella at the ball. They know that overstaying the festivities that is, continuing to speculate in companies
that have gigantic valuations relative to the cash they are likely to generate in the future will eventually bring on
pumpkins and mice. But they nevertheless hate to miss a single minute of what is one helluva party. Therefore, the
giddy participants all plan to leave just seconds before midnight. Theres a problem, though: They are dancing in a
room in which the clocks have no hands.

Buffett adds

Basically, its subjective, but in investment attitude you look at the asset itself to produce the return. So if I buy a
farm and I expect it to produce $80 an acre for me in terms of its revenue from corn, soybeans etc. and it cost me
$600. Im looking at the return from the farm itself. Im not looking at the price of the farm every day or every week
or every year. On the other hand if I buy a stock and I hope it goes up next week, to me thats pure speculation.

Of Silly Charts and Voodoo Practices
John Maynard Keynes defined speculation as the activity of forecasting the psychology of the market.

He said that the speculator must think about what others are thinking about stocks and the stock market.

In Chapter 12 of his book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936) where he
explained price fluctuations in equity markets, Keynes wrote

It is not a case of choosing those [faces] that, to the best of ones judgment, are really the prettiest, nor even those
that average opinion genuinely thinks the prettiest. We have reached the third degree where we devote our
intelligences to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be. And there are some, I believe,
who practice the fourth, fifth and higher degrees.

So, in a Keynesian beauty contest, the judges are told not to pick the most beautiful woman (the best business) but
instead to pick the contestant they think the other judges will choose as the most beautiful (the most speculative
stocks). The winner of such a contest may be very different than the winner of a traditional beauty contest.

Much of what you see during IPO rush and bull markets is in fact a Keynesian Beauty contest, with stock market
participants trying to guess what others are thinkingabout what others are thinkingabout what others are thinking

So, effectively, people who indulge in day-trading or swing-trading using silly charts and other voodoo-like practices
are speculators.

You will hear them talk about how the market behaves rather than what the value of a given stock may be. But then,
to guess about market behavior based on a chart is just that a guess!

In a 2011 interview, Buffett was asked to explain how he sees speculation as opposed to investing. Buffett replied
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You know, its like pornography the famous quote and all that. I look at it in terms of the intent of the person
engaging in the transaction.

An investment operation in my view is one where you look at the asset itself to determine your decision to lay out
some money now to get some more money back later on. So you look to the apartment, house, you look to the stock,
you look to the fame in terms of what that will produce. And you dont really care whether theres a quote under it
at all. You are basically committing some funds now to get more funds later on through the operation of the asset.

Speculation, I would define, as much more focused on the price action of the stock, particularly that you buy or the
indexed future or something of the sort. Because you are not really, you are counting on, for whatever factors,
could be quarterly earnings, could be up or its going to split or whatever it may be or increase the dividend, but
you are not looking to the asset itself.

And I say the real test of how you, what youre doing is whether you care whether the markets are open. When I
buy a stock, I dont care whether they close the stock market tomorrow or for a couple of years Now if I care
whether the stock market is open tomorrow then I say to some extent Im speculating because Im thinking about
whether the price is going to go up tomorrow or now.

And then gambling I would define as engaging in a transaction which doesnt need to be part of the system

So, What Do You Want?
Just think for a moment, and you are not embarrassed to admit that you want your investments to support you
during your years in retirement. Neither are you embarrassed to admit that you want your investments to support
your children or help you do good work for others.

But then, if you are like most investors out there, some of what you want from your investments is embarrassing, such
as your wanting status.

You might want to mention your investment in the best or the hottest stock out there, as you think it signals high

I have seen a lot of investors buying expensive stocks just because they couldnt have avoided not owning these stocks
like other successful investors who made money in them.

It may be due to jealousy of seeing others make money, or regret of missing out on future returns, but look around
and you would find even serious investors speculating to make a quick buck just one last time!

But then, a loud expression of your investment status (like I have bought a great stock like Titan or I bought
Nestle), like a loud display of an oversized logo on a Louis Vuitton bag, can bring embarrassment rather than an
acknowledgment of status.
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In a 1930 book, Watch Your Margin: An Insider Looks at Wall Street, the author asks a person Do you know why
people go into stock speculation?

To make money, the person replies.

Not at all, said the author, They go in for the pleasure of getting something for nothing. What they want is a
thrill. That is why we drink bootleg whisky, and kiss the girls, and take new jobs. We want thrills. Its perfectly
human, but Wall Street is a poor place to look for thrills, for the simple reason that thrills in Wall Street are very

The world has changed greatly since then, but our wants remain the same. The man answering the author above (that
we speculate to make money) is not entirely wrong. We do want to make money from investing and speculating.

But the author is surely right. We want pleasure from investing and speculating, and we want thrills from playing the
beat-the-market game and winning it.

The truth is that the stock market is still a poor place to look for thrills and the stock market thrills remain expensive,
but we are willing to pay the price.

In fact, a majority of participants in the stock market consider themselves like sportsmen. They want to win.

In sports, only if you win the gold medal are you paid millions for endorsements of shoes, watches, and cereals, while
silver and bronze-medallists are paid little, and fourth-place athletes are paid nothing.

Gold medals also bring the emotional benefits of pride and the expressive benefits of a winners image.

It is no wonder that an Internet broker made the connection between investment competitions and sport
competitions in an advertisement displaying a sprinter in starting blocks above a caption

If youre waiting for just the right time to start investing online, we have one thing to say. Bang!

You see, the race to speculate in stocks to earn big money, and do that quickly, is too temptingand the desire to win
is too strong.

But the consequences are sad! You already know it, dont you?

Finally, Mark Twain said that there are two times in a mans life when he should not speculate: when he cant afford it
and when he can. Because this is so, understanding the difference between investment and speculation is the first
step in achieving investment success.

And thats exactly what we will try to do now.
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Having read the above perspectives on investing versus speculation, its now upon you to decide whether you have
been an investor or speculator all these years.

So, visit the Mastermind Forum right away (through this link), and answer these three questions

1. Are you an investor or a speculatoror are you both?
2. Which was your last stock purchase that qualified as a Graham-styled investment- (1) It was based on thorough
analysis, (2) promised safety of principal and (3) a satisfactory return?
3. Which was your last stock purchase that qualified as a speculation? Why do you think it was a speculation?

Clue: Thinking long term or short term might be a sensible starting point that helps us distinguish between investing
and speculation. But a time element is simply not sufficient. The distinction between investment and speculation is
deeper. And you are the best person to know this distinction and share with other members of the tribe.

Reminder: As I suggested in the Introduction, I hope you have started work on your investment diary/journal
where you would be noting down all your key learnings over the next one year.

That diary will also double-up as an investing journal where you should record all your thoughts and emotions
while analysing stocks and while making a buying/selling decision. It would serve you well when you were to look at
your past thought process, which will help you avoid a lot of old mistakes.

Believe me, this diary is going to be an extremely useful tool in helping you become a better investment thinker and
make better decisions while minimizing mistakes. So please start work on it, if you havent already.

References and Further Reading
Chapter 1 of The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham Investment Versus Speculation: Results to Be
Expected by the Intelligent Investor
Are You an Investor or a Speculator? ~ Jason Zweig
What is the Difference between Investing and Speculation? ~ Robert Hagstrom

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Module 1 | Lesson 2
Being a Value Investor
Value investing has been around since the beginning of market and investing history. Yet, especially before 2002, it
has had relatively low visibility.

As more individual investors jumped on board in the late 1990s, people were more excited more by the go-go world of
trading and aggressive growth investing. More intrigued by companies that make software codes and network routers
than by companies that sell paints and soaps.

While boring to some, the value investing approach has earned strong returns for its faithful followers, often far
beyond market averages for good stock pickers. Value investing has brought prosperity in healthy markets and
survival during the numerous downturns throughout the twentieth century.

But what exactly does it mean to be a value investor?

At its most basic level it means seeking out stocks that you believe are worth considerably more than you have to pay
for them. But all investors try to do that!

In reality, value investing is both a mindset as well as a rigorous discipline.

Charlie Munger defined it as All intelligent investing is value investing acquiring more than you are paying

So, value investing equals intelligent investing.

But ask anyone who has a faintest idea about value investing, and the general view is that it is same as bottom fishing,
or buying cheap stocks those that are trading at low price to earnings (P/E) or low price to book value (P/BV).

This is far from truth. Value investing is much more than buying cheap stocks.

As Munger said

Youre looking for a mispriced gamble. Thats what investing is. And you have to know enough to know whether the
gamble is mispriced. Thats value investing.

So while investing is about buying cheap stocks, value investing is about knowing clearly what you are buying.

Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, stated in his book Security Analysis (called the Bible of Value
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The Safal Niveshak Mastermind

An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis, promises safety of principal and a satisfactory
return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative.

What this definition implies is that if you dont have proper data and reasoning associated with an appropriate price
tag (cheap stock), it isnt value investing.

After all, everyone is looking to buy low and sell high. So what is it that differentiates real value investors, who are
actually quite rare, from all the others who trade in the stock market?

Value Investing isDifficult!
Making money on cheap stocks which is the goal of every value investor is harder than it
sounds and can take years to play out.

In fact, identifying a cheap stock and buying it is a relatively easier proposition. But value investing is difficult simply

You need to have patience, and a lot of it
You must be disciplined
You must mind your behaviour
You must know when to go against the crowd
You must read a lot (annual reports, investing books etc.)

In all, value investing requires hard work. This is probably the reason you wont find many value investors out there.

But whoever has had the patience to practice value investing in its real form, has done wonders for his stock portfolio.

How to Become a Value Investor?
In his 1992 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Warren Buffett wrote

We think the very term value investing is redundant. What is investing if it is not the act of seeking value at least
sufficient to justify the amount paid? Consciously paying more for a stock than its calculated value in the hope
that it can soon be sold for a still-higher price should be labelled speculation (which is neither illegal, immoral nor
in our view financially fattening).

Whether appropriate or not, the term value investing is widely used. Typically, it connotes the purchase of stocks
having attributes such as a low ratio of price to book value, a low price-earnings ratio, or a high dividend yield.
Unfortunately, such characteristics, even if they appear in combination, are far from determinative as to whether
an investor is indeed buying something for what it is worth and is therefore truly operating on the principle of
obtaining value in his investments.
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Correspondingly, opposite characteristics a high ratio of price to book value, a high price-earnings ratio, and a
low dividend yield are in no way inconsistent with a value purchase.

So its the process of picking up bargain stocks that value investing is all about.

You must know what you are getting into. Thats exactly what we are going to learn in this course over the next few

But Then
Most people arent cut out for value investing, because human nature shrinks from pain.

Not me, thats what a leading money manager in the US Jean-Marie Eveillard says.

I believe his words are a great reminder that making money on cheap stocks, which is the goal of every value investor,
is harder than it sounds and can take years to play out.

Value investing, on the face of it, seems easy. Just read about a business, calculate its intrinsic value in an excel sheet
using pre-determined formulae, and if the stock price is much lower than that intrinsic value, buy the stock or else
avoid it.

Theoretically, this is true.

But then, as Yogi Berra says, In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

So, while learning about value investing isnt difficult, putting the learning into practice is.


I have realized over my ten years of being an investor that the long-term rewards dont go to people who think value
investing is easy.

The reality is that superior returns can be earned only by those who know that it is hard and still stay put.

But the way most value investors behave is very different. In fact, a lot of people start out as value investors, then
get upset seeing their returns after one bad year, get mad after two years, and gone after three!

A lot of experts would tell you that a great stock picker can always outperform the market.

However, ironically, investors who buy into this myth often sell in a panic as soon as the next crash proves that no
stock picker can always outperform.
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So what makes for a true value investor apart from just finding businesses that are selling cheap?

A lot, I believe.

What Makes for a Good Value Investor?
Noted American investor, Whitney Tilson, in his recent book called The Art of Value Investing: How the Worlds
Best Investors Beat the Market suggests thirteen key characteristics that make up a true value investor.

He writes that value investors typically

1. Focus on i ntr i nsi c value. What a company is really worth buying when convinced there is a substantial
margin of safety between the companys share price and its intrinsic value and selling when the margin of safety is
gone. This means not trying to guess where the herd will send the stock price next.

2. Have a clearly defi ned sense of wher e theyll pr ospect for i deas, based on their competence and the
perceived opportunity set rather than artificial style-box limitations.

3. Pr i de themselves on conducti ng i n-depth, proprietary, and fundamental research and analysis rather
than relying on tips or paying attention to vacuous, minute-to-minute, cable-news-style analysis.

4. Spend far mor e ti me analyzi ng and under standi ng mi cro factor s, such as a companys competitive
advantages and its growth prospects, instead of trying to make macro calls on things like interest rates, oil prices,
and the economy.

5. Under stand and pr ofi t fr om the concept that busi ness cycles and company per for mance often
r ever t to the mean, rather than assuming that the immediate past best informs the indefinite future.

6. Act only when able to draw conclusi ons at var i ance to conventi onal wi sdom, resulting in buying
stocks that are out-of-favor rather than popular.

7. Conduct thei r analysi s and i nvest wi th a multi year ti me hor i zon rather than focusing on the month or
quarter ahead.

8. Consi der tr uly gr eat i nvestment i deas to be r ar e, often resulting in portfolios with fewer, but larger,
positions than is the norm.

9. Under stand that beati ng the mar ket r equir es assembli ng a por tfoli o that looks qui te di ffer ent
fr om the mar ket, not one that hides behind the safety of closet indexing.

10. Focus on avoi di ng per manent losses rather than minimizing the risk of stock-price volatility.

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The Safal Niveshak Mastermind

11. Focus on absolute r etur ns, not on relative performance versus a benchmark.

12. Consi der stock i nvesti ng to be a mar athon, with winners and losers among its practitioners best
identified over periods of several years, not months.

13. Admi t thei r mi stakes and acti vely seek to lear n fr om them, rather than taking credit only for successes
and attributing failures to bad luck.

As it comes out clear from Tilsons view, at its most basic level, being a value investor it means seeking out stocks that
you believe are worth considerably more than you have to pay for them.

But all investors try to do that!

Thus, as Tilson also adds, its also about behaving well, which involves

Accepting mistakes
Learning from others
Thinking long term
Focusing on risk more than return
Respecting business and stock market cycles
Being contrarian

Value Investing is Not Esoteric
There is nothing esoteric about value investing.

As we have understood from the above points, it is simply the process of determining the value underlying a security
and then buying it at a considerable discount from that value. It is really that simple.

The greatest challenge is maintaining the requisite patience and discipline to buy only when prices are attractive and
to sell when they are not, avoiding the short-term performance frenzy that engulfs most market participants.

You see, the focus of most investors differs from that of value investors. Most investors are primarily oriented toward
return, how much they can make, and pay little attention to risk, how much they can lose.

If you consider the large, institutional investors, they are usually evaluated and therefore measure themselves on
the basis of relative performance compared to the market as a whole, to a relevant market sector, or to their peers.

Value investors, by contrast, have as a primary goal the preservation of their capital.

It follows that value investors seek a margin of safety, allowing room for imprecision, bad luck, or analytical error in
order to avoid sizable losses over time.
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A margin of safety is necessary because valuation is an imprecise art, the future is unpredictable, and investors are
human and do make mistakes.

It is adherence to the concept of a margin of safety that best distinguishes value investors from all others, who are not
as concerned about loss.

Here is what Seth Klarman writes in his Margin of Safety

If investors could predict the future direction of the market, they would certainly not choose to be value investors all
the time. Indeed, when securities prices are steadily increasing, a value approach is usually a handicap; out-of-
favor securities tend to rise less than the publics favorites. When the market becomes fully valued on its way to
being overvalued, value investors again fare poorly because they sell too soon.

The most beneficial time to be a value investor is when the market is falling. This is when downside risk matters
and when investors who worried only about what could go right suffer the consequences of undue optimism.

Value investors invest with a margin of safety that protects them from large losses in declining markets. Those who
can predict the future should participate fully, indeed on margin using borrowed money, when the market is about
to rise and get out of the market before it declines.

Unfortunately, many more investors claim the ability to foresee the markets direction than actually possess that
ability. (I myself have not met a single one.)

Those of us who know that we cannot accur ately forecast securi ty pr ices are well advi sed to
consi der value i nvesti ng, a safe and successful str ategy i n all i nvestment envi r onments.

All Intelligent Investing is Value Investing
Looking at the above pre-requirements of being a value investor, it comes out clear that apart from a quantitative
aptitude ability to understand numbers you must have the intelligence and sensibility to behave well in your act
as an investor.

But this has been said for years. In fact, Ben Graham talked about sensible behaviour in investing in 1949 when he
released his seminal book The Intelligent Investor. Then, Buffett and Munger have been stressing upon this for

So why do most investors dont behave sensibly? And also, if most people appreciate sensible behavior, why are most
people not value investors? Heres Buffett explaining why

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Its Human Nature, Stupid!
The reasons most investor arent value investors are deeply rooted in human nature and, therefore, unlikely to ever

We are averse to losses. We perceive the pain of a loss about twice as strongly as the pleasure of a comparable gain.

Due to its contrarian bent, value investing can sometimes fail to work for long periods of time, causing plenty of pain.
To avoid such an outcome, most of us would get drawn into a suckers game of rapidly trading our portfolios rather
than waiting out the inevitable periods when they dont perform well.

Then, value investing is a get-rich-slowly approach, even as we are all hard-wired to pursue actions that offer
immediate gratification.

Finally, we find it hard to go against the crowd. If you didnt own real estate and infrastructure stocks during the late
1990s, not only did you suffer lousy returns, but you also felt excluded!

Going against the crowd is equivalent to going against the norm or being abnormal, which is not easy to do, and this
you wont find many true value investors out there.

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The Safal Niveshak Mastermind

You Have Less Competition
Because of all reasons I mentioned above, you have very less competition in becoming a value investora true value

Value investing is less dramatic (Who wants to read those boring annual reports?), and would thus never attract the

But if you were to walk down this road less travelled, you will not just compound your money safely over the long run
but also sleep well at night.

So, I would say that investing is easy, and you can learn it in a few hours. But investing sensibly and successfully is
very hard.

Like its hard to pick up Grahams The Intelligent Investor and read it at least three times.

If you havent done it, read and re-read this book if you want to better understand the value investing mindset.

Before I end, here are a few words from the legendary Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital on what it means to be a
value investor

Ive heard it said many times that value i nvesti ng i s not as much about doi ng smar t thi ngs as i t is
about not doi ng dumb thi ngs. Avoiding mistakes, resisting market fads, and focusing on allocating capital into
ideas that are highly likely to produce satisfactory returns and that offer a margin of safety against permanent
capital loss these are the dominant themes of the value investing approach.

Contrary to how it sounds, these elements dont make value investing easier than other approaches. In fact,
cultivating the discipline to avoid unproductive decisions, refining the craft of valuing businesses and assessing
risk, and developing the emotional and mental equilibrium required to think independently in a field in which there
is tremendous pressure to conform requires constant diligence and effort.

Long-term-oriented value investors have greater scope to produce superior risk-adjusted returns when the seas are
rocky. The valid response when theres chop is to focus on the end destination what value investors call intrinsic
value and not worry about whether the next wave is going to push the boat up or down.

If you dont invest with a very clear notion of underlying value, how do you do it? Nothing else makes sense.

Your ability to maintain focus on the long term comes from experience. You go through a couple cycles where
everybody else is screaming at you not to try to catch a falling knife, and then when you do so and make some
money, it does wonders for youand for your ability to do it next time.

Here I repeat what Marks says, and how it gels so well with Tilsons points about being a value investor
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The Safal Niveshak Mastermind

Value investing is not as much about doing smart things as it is about not doing dumb things.
You must learn to avoid mistakes.
You must resist market fads.
You must focus on allocating capital into ideas that are highly likely to produce satisfactory returns and that
offer a margin of safety against permanent capital loss.
Value investing isnt easy to practice, as you require constant diligence and effort to cultivate the discipline to
avoid unproductive decisions and develop the emotional and mental stability.
But if you can do this, you have a great scope to produce superior risk-adjusted returns over the long run.
Your ability to maintain focus on the long term comes from experience.

You see, the tools and analyses for value investing may change over time, but the mindset remains the same. If you
can create the right mindset to become a value investor and then practice it with diligence, it would indeed be an
investing life well-lived.

Finally, in any event, reading all this and working on the Mastermind Course for the next one year alone will not turn
you into a successful value investor.

As I mentioned above, and as Buffett, Marks, and Klarman have been saying for years, value investing requires a
great deal of hard work, strict discipline, and a long-term investment horizon.

Few are willing and able to devote sufficient time and effort to become value investors, and only a fraction of those
have the proper mind-set to succeed. Plus, there is a risk of being seduced, and no style is immune to mistakes.

This Course most certainly wont provide you a sure-fire formula for investment success. There is, of course, no such
formula. Rather I intend to help you with a blueprint that, if carefully followed, offers a good possibility of investment
success with limited risk.

I believe this is as much as you can reasonably hope for.

In your Diary of a Dumb Investor, write down the following Being a Value Investor Checklist as mentioned by
Tilson in his book, The Art of Value Investing

I will focus on intrinsic value what a company is really worth.
I will define my circle of competence and search for ideas within it only.
I will always conduct in-depth, fundamental research and analysis rather than relying on tips from others.
I will avoid making macro-economic forecasts and instead spend time analyzing a business (its competitive
advantages and growth prospects).
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The Safal Niveshak Mastermind

I will understand and profit from the concept that business cycles and company performance often revert to the
mean, instead of blindly relying on the past performance.
I will act contrary to popular opinion, after a careful, independent research. I wont buy whats popular.
I will think long term (10-20 years) rather than focusing on the month or quarter ahead.
I will consider truly great investment ideas to be rare, and thus have the patience to wait for the right pitch.
I will focus on avoiding permanent losses rather than minimizing the risk of stock-price volatility.
I will focus on absolute returns, not on relative performance versus a stock market index or even an office
colleagues performance.
I will consider stock investing to be a marathon, and remember that winners and losers best identified over
periods of several years, not months.
I will admit mistakes and actively seek to learn from them, rather than taking credit only for successes and
attributing failures to bad luck.

After writing down this checklist, ponder over which of these points are missing from your investing practice
currently. If a majority of them are missing from how you practice investing currently, visit the Mastermind
Forum via this link, and answer this question I have not been a value investor all these years because (Fill in the

Hint: Your answer could be any or all of these

I have been greedy to earn fast money.
I never wanted to do the hard work that value investing requires.
I lacked time to practice value investing.
I never knew what value investing was all about.

Anyways, after you fill in the blank, write down why you think you can get over your past and become a value investor
in the future, and follow the checklist Tilson suggests above. See, I told you value investing requires hard work.

Here again is the Mastermind Forum link where you must write your answer to this exercise.

Further Reading
The Intelligent Investor Benjamin Graham
The Art of Value Investing: How the Worlds Best Investors Beat the Market Whitney Tilson

Disclaimer: This document is confidential and is supplied to you for information purposes only. It should not (directly or indirectly) be reproduced, further
distributed to any person or published, in whole or in part, for any purpose whatsoever, without the consent of Skylab Media & Research. This document does
not constitute a personal recommendation or take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations, or needs of individual investors.
Page 28 of 30

The Saf al Ni veshak Mast er mi nd
Rei nvent t he Way You I nvest , Wor k , and Li ve www.safalniveshak.com

Vishal Khandelwal,
Chief Tribesman, Safal Niveshak

What Participants of My
Art of Investing Workshops Say...

I wish Vishals workshop was
conducted 20-25 years ago, I would
have been a multi billionaire by now!
~ R.K. Chandrashekar

Vishals passion to teach Value
Investing is contagious and his informal
yet definitive style of teaching is par
~Gautamjit Singh

Very few people take out the time and
energy and go out of their way to share
the knowledge they have gathered over
the years, Vishal is one of them.
~Ashish Kila
The Safal Niveshak Mastermind is a one-year self-study course to
help you reinvent how you invest, do work that matters, and create
your financial freedom.
If You Want to...
Take control of your financial life but dont know how to do it
Make your money work hard for you by learning how to invest sensibly
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Make a dent in the universe by doing something meaningful for others

join me, Vishal Khandelwal, as I take you behind the scenes for a closer look and a
deeper education on how you can manage your money and earn a living without
having to slog for years.

The goal of The Safal Niveshak Mastermind course is simple To help you get richer
every single day.

What Youll Get by Joining...
1. Premium Course in Value Investing: You will receive deep learning in Value
Investing and how you can apply it to create long-term wealth through stock

2. Course: Turn Your Passion into Paycheque: Here, you will learn the step-by-step
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alternative source of income so that you can do what you love to do, and not
be worried anymore about someone else deciding your financial life and future.

3. The Safal Niveshak True Wealth Letter: You will receive regular habit-building
ideas on investing and personal Finance, exclusive interviews with people who
are in complete control of their financial lives, and book reviews.

4. Special E-Books, Excel Workbooks, and Videos: You will also receive special e-
books, excel workbooks, and videos...all with the view of enhancing your
learning in investing, personal finance, and turning your passion into lifelong

Click Here to Register Now!
Mode: Online, Self-Study

Duration: One Year

Course Fee: Rs 15,000/-

Register Here!

For Enquiries, Contact:
Vishal Khandelwal,
Chief Tribesman, Safal Niveshak
+91-80970 73918

Val ue I nvest i ng Cour se: Modul es & Cont ent
Modul e 1 Modul e 2 Modul e 3 Modul e 4 Modul e 5 Modul e 6 Modul e 7
St ar t
El ement
Gener at i ng
I deas
Bui l di ng t he
Cal c ul at i ng
Val uat i ons
Mak i ng
Dec i si ons

Investing Vs.
The Value
Building Circle of
Power of
Creating a

Being a Value
Psychology of
Analysis of Three
Key Sectors
Financial Stat.
Key Valuation
Value of Process
and Discipline
Immutable Laws
of Investing

Is Value Investing
Really Profitable?
Building a
Latticework of
Mental Models
Ratio Analysis Putting DCF to
Dealing with Risk
and Uncertainty
the Role of Luck

Grahams Tenets
Screening for
Identifying Moats
through Numbers
Margin of Safety Fat Pitch
Deadly Sins of

From Graham to
Paying Up for
Can You Really
Beat the Market?

The Most
Important Things
Assessing the
Value Traps
Constructing a
Go, Compound

The Dividend
Concentration Vs

How You Will Benefit?
The Course will take you through the entire process of becoming a value investor, including:
Creating the right value investing mindset
Building a behavioural framework to avoid biases and create the right investment thought process
Widening your circle of competence
Assessing business quality and calculating intrinsic valuations
Creating and managing a portfolio of sound businesses

Key Features:
100% online, members-only, self-study course
50+ print lessons, several hours of videos, excel templates, and members-only forum for discussions
All lessons followed by reference materials and exercises
The Safal Niveshak Mastermind Certificate of participation on completion of the course
For further details, please visit: www.safalniveshak.com/mastermind or write to vishal@safalniveshak.com
Click Here to Register Now!