May 13th, 2016 by aboveaverageodds
Maurece Schiller invented special situations investing 50 years before Joel Greenblatt’s influential book. Help us recognize this unknown value investing pioneer and his work today!
“Since special situations were in a sense created by myself, they were my life’s work and I knew all about them, I decided to write about them.”
Maurece Schiller, 1959
Dear Friends, Colleagues and Value Investors (and many all three!),
If I’m writing to you with my hand out, it’s for a good reason.
Please consider sharing and supporting @tomjacobsinvest’s and my Kickstarter campaign to right the historical record to give Maurece Schiller, an unknown but enormously influential pioneer of special situations value investing, his due. If you don’t know Maurece Schiller, you’re not alone. In fact, I had a similar reaction when Tom introduced me to his works not long ago.
After all, as a voracious reader, case-study nut, and decade-long addict of all things value investing, I was fairly certain I was aware of every capitalist worth learning about since the Gilded Age – and doubly so with respect to the key figures instrumental to the creation and development of the discipline we practice. (Not to put a too fine of point on it.)
So why, I asked, should I care about an obscure research director from the 1950’s? If he were so important, why don’t I know about him? I mean, there are some areas where it makes sense to be all about confirmation bias.
But then, thanks to Tom, I was introduced to Mr. Schiller’s out-of-print works from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Long before Joel Greenblatt’s seminal work You Can Be a Stock Market Genius, Maurece Schiller literally wrote the book (or, more accurately, wrote the books) on special situations value investing. Indeed, Greenblatt credits Schiller in his famed Columbia Business School class. “It worked then and it works now,” he says to his students, while holding up a worn copy of Schiller’s work.
But because Schiller lacked the connections to start a large investment fund, had an academic bent, eschewed self-promotion, and was committed to reducing individual investors’ risk, he never became more than a blip on the radar beyond a handful of people. We find it a shame that this incredibly innovative thinker and his painstakingly researched works on value investing have been all but ignored by history.
With all of this in mind, my goal in writing you today is a modest one. We have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the re-publishing of Maurece Schiller’s five forgotten works on value investing and special situations.
The success of our project depends on you, like-minded people who not only believe in the special situations discipline Schiller helped create, but also the larger mission of value investing writ-large.
Fortunately, in addition to being an unusually wise and wealthy bunch, ours is a tribe that tends to be especially passionate and generous when it comes to all things education-related. Given this reality, our hope is to reach and even surpass our fund-raising goals. This would allow not only print and electronic editions, but also audio. And we’ve put our money where our mouths are, too.
Please join us to support this long-unappreciated inventor of special situations investing, a visionary who deserves his place among the very greatest value investors. The four horsemen – Graham, Buffett, Klarman and Greenblatt – should become five.
Any amount helps. Plus, at certain reward levels, you and your business, blog, group, social media handles and the like will be recognized in one or all of the five re-published works.
Please join us at Kickstarter today!
Update: wonderfully, our initial goal of raising a modest sum ($10,000) to cover the production run of Schillers first five books (read: interior design, cover design, copyediting, printing expenses, and various other ancillary costs associated with bringing these books to print) was surpassed within a few short days. In fact, truth be told, we ended up hitting the mark before we even had a chance to kickstart the first real leg of Tom and my’s coordinated (multi-leg) campaign push. Talk about unexpected.
In any case, to say we’re humbled by the generosity and grateful for the support doesn’t quite express it (language has its limit as they say). As a thank you, we’ll be we awarding all contributors (new and old) with a soon to be announced gift we’ll disclose soon for those willing to help us cross our revised “stretch goal” of $20k. Note this will cover the production of two of the five books in audio format, alongside a few other “accretive” bells and whistles.
And again, all supporters associated with helping us with both the original and “stretch” goals will be able to walk away with a one of a kind, limited edition gift that they’ll love. Trust me on this. Tom and I just spent the last day and a half debating the merits of different gifts and the two finalists we emerged with have us both delighted. Odds are “above average” you will to!