In this post, we’ll read some of the best quotes by Philip Fisher who was a legendary American stock investor, author, and pioneer in the field of value investing.
Philip Fisher (1907–2004) grew up in a family with a background in publishing. His father, Philip A. Fisher was a newspaper publisher, and Fisher initially intended to follow in his father’s footsteps by pursuing a career in journalism. He attended Stanford University, where he studied economics and while at Stanford, he developed an interest in finance and investing.
He is best known for his influential investment philosophy and his classic book, “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits,” first published in 1958. In his book, Fisher explains his investment philosophy and principles. He states the importance of a well-informed investment strategy, and emphasizes that investors should focus on the quality of a company rather than short-term market fluctuations.
He stressed the need for investors to thoroughly research and understand the companies they were investing in. Fisher was particularly interested in factors such as the quality of management, the company’s competitive advantages, and its growth potential.
Let’s read some of the best Philip Fisher quotes about investments, competitive analysis and the stock market.
Philip Fisher Quotes about Investment
1. “Never promote someone who hasn’t made some bad mistakes, because if you do, you are promoting someone who has never done anything.”
2. “He should take extreme care to own not the most, but the best.”
3. “Forecasting is like trying to turn lead into gold.”
4. “The disadvantage of having eggs in so many baskets that a lot of eggs do not end up in really attractive baskets, and it is impossible to keep watching all the baskets after the eggs are put in.”
5. “I have already made up my mind, don’t confuse me with facts.”
6. “Constant leadership in engineering, not patents is the fundamental source of protection.”
7. “For the great majority of transactions, being stubborn about a tiny fractional difference in the price can prove extremely costly.”
8. “This matter of training oneself not to go with the crowd but to be able to zig when the crowd zags, in my opinion, is one of the most important fundamentals of investment success.”
9. “If you can’t do a thing better than others are doing it, don’t do it at all.”
10. “Finding out which physician had lost the smallest percentage of his practice through death would not be a good way to pick a superb doctor.”
11. “I think a weakness of many people’s approach to investment is that they try to be jacks of all trades and masters of none.”
12. “It’s not what industry you’re in, it’s what you’re doing right that your rivals haven’t yet figured out.”
Philip Fisher Quotes about Investment in Stocks
1. “My stocks sometimes get overpriced, but in the long run this kind of company, if you can find it, will outperform the market and the economy. The worst thing you can do is try to catch the swings, sell out too soon and be afraid to buy back in.”
2. “In the field of common stocks, a little bit of a great many can never be more than a poor substitute for a few of the outstanding.”
3. “Common stocks properly selected and long-range will prove so attractive that I don’t believe that other forms of assets are a more attractive or suitable vehicle.”
4. “Buy slowly stocks of companies that will capitalize on the problems of scarcity and social need. Companies with excellent management.”
5. “I think it is more conservative in the long run to be in a company that is really progressing and really has an edge.”
6. “If the job has been correctly done when a common stock is purchased, the time to sell it is – almost never.”
7. “[Once] a stock has been properly selected and has borne the test of time, it is only occasionally that there is any reason for selling it at all.”
Philip Fisher Quotes about Investment Profits
1. “I don’t want to spend my time trying to earn a lot of little profits. I want very, very big profits that I’m ready to wait for.”
2. “The big profits I have made were through very long planning, waiting and watching.”
3. “The need for patience if big profits are to be made from investment.”
4. “It is just appalling the nerve strain people put themselves under trying to buy something today and sell it tomorrow. It’s a small-win proposition. If you are a truly long-range investor, of which I am practically a vanishing breed, the profits are so tremendously greater.”
Philip Fisher Quotes about Investment Business
1. “The successful investor is usually an individual who is inherently interested in business problems.”
2. “When do stockholders get no benefit from retained earnings? One way is when managements pile up cash and liquid assets far beyond any present or prospective needs for the business.”
3. “I had made what I believe was one of the more valuable decisions of my business life. “This was to confine all efforts solely to making major gains in the long-run.”
4. “The conventional method of timing when to buy stocks is, I believe, just as silly as it appears on the surface to be sensible. This method marshal a vast mass of economic data. From these data conclusions are reached as to the near- and medium-term course of general business.”
5. “It is true that you don’t go broke taking a profit, but that assumes you will make a profit on everything you do. It doesn’t allow for the mistakes you’re bound to make in the investment business.”
6. “The more successful the corporation, the more likely it is to be unique in some of its policies.”
7. “Buying a company without having sufficient knowledge of it may be even more dangerous than having inadequate diversification.”
Philip Fisher Quotes about Investors
1. “The wise investor can profit if he can think independently of the crowd and reach the rich answer when the majority of financial opinion is leaning the other way.
2. “Practical investors usually learn their problem is finding enough outstanding investments, rather than choosing among too many.”
3. “More money has probably been lost by investors holding a stock they really did not want until they could ‘at least come out even’ than from any other single reason.
4. “Regardless of how high the rating may be in all other matters, however, if there is a serious question of the lack of a strong management sense of trusteeship for stockholders, the investor should never seriously consider participating in such an enterprise.”
5. “Usually a very long list of securities is not a sign of the brilliant investor, but of one who is unsure of himself.”
6. “When profit margins of a whole industry rise because of repeated price increases, the indication is not a good one for the long-range investor.”
7. “It is not the profit margins of the past but those of the future that are basically important to the investor.”
8. “Investors have been so oversold on diversification that fear of having too many eggs in one basket has caused them to put far too little into companies they thoroughly know and far too much in others which they know nothing about.”
Philip Fisher Quotes about Stock Market
1. “The stock market is filled with individuals who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.”
2. “There are fads and styles in the stock market just as there are in women’s clothes.”
3. “In the stock market a good nervous system is even more important than a good head.
4. “In what other line of activity could you put $10,000 in one year and ten years later (with only occasional checking in the meantime to be sure management continues of high caliber) be able to have an asset worth from $40,000 to $150,000?”
Philip Fisher Quotes about Companies & Businesses
1. “I am vitally interested in companies that are going to survive, but I don’t think a big cap company is necessarily one that will.”
2. “I want companies that welcome dissent, rather than stifle it, that don’t penalize people who criticize what management is doing.”
3. “The things most companies boast about are yesterday’s story.”
4. “It’s my job to find unusual companies and then judge whether the price they’re selling at is too high.”
5. “If you are in the right companies, the potential rise can be so enormous that everything else is secondary.”
6. “Companies that have failed to go uphill have invariably gone downhill.”
7. “Even in those earlier times, finding the really outstanding companies and staying with them through all the fluctuations of a gyrating market proved far more profitable to far more people than did the more colorful practice of trying to buy them cheap and sell them dear.”
8. “Be extra careful when buying into companies and industries that are the current darlings of the financial community.”
9. “Even in those earlier times, finding the really outstanding companies and staying with them through all the fluctuations of a gyrating market proved far more profitable to far more people than did the more colorful practice of trying to buy them cheap and sell them dear.”
10. “Even a great company can be priced too high if there’s a lot of glamour attached to it.”
11. “I have stressed management, but even so, I haven’t stressed it enough. It is the most important ingredient.”
12. “The company that doesn’t pioneer, doesn’t take chances, and merely goes along with the crowd is liable to prove a rather mediocre investment in this highly competitive age.
13. “A large company’s need to bring in a new chief executive from the outside is a damning sign of something basically wrong with the existing management.”
These quotes by Philip Fisher emphasize the importance of studying a company’s management quality, its relationships with customers and suppliers, thorough research, as well as other non-quantifiable factors that could influence its long-term success.
His investment principles had a significant impact on Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors of all time. Buffett has often spoken about the influence of Philip Fisher’s ideas on his own investment approach, particularly in terms of understanding the qualitative aspects of businesses.
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