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Readers reviews of Sun Tzu On Investing

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This is a book for dedicated investors who are content to  continue using the tenants of classical investing based on work by Graham and Dodds, and their modern exponents like Warren Buffet. The wisdom on Sun Tzu is applied within the confines and context of these basic techniques.


This application is important as it shifts attention to the psychological aspects of investing. This is an area more thoroughly discussed and explored in trading literature than in investing literature so it is refreshing to see these issues addressed in this context.


Sun Tzu stressed the need to look beyond the obvious, to prepare thoroughly for any battle with the objective of avoiding a battle in preference to a bloodless victory. This book does a very good job of linking these observations to the demands of investing. Instead of an enemy, the investor does battle with a company and the market.


Success in the battle for selecting the right company depends on better understanding of company behavior, their accounts, and their market potential. Curtis uses the example of Singapore listed company, Peoples Food, to illustrate these approaches. At heart this is very much a Buffet based approach with a Sun Tzu interpretation which casts an interesting new light on this process.


The core approach is to buy unrecognized strength which is concealed by a poor market price – a quality stock at depressed prices. In Sun Tzu terms this is expressed as “What the aware individual knows is what has not yet taken shape.” In market terms it is called bottom fishing and it has been the mainstay of many investment strategies.


Curtis brings together the relevant Sun Tzu commentaries and applies them to resolving a number of investment assessment issues. The result provides an interesting variation on the way classic Western investment styles approach these problems.


The book is marred by ill-informed comments about charting and trading which experienced market participants will find both irritating and ironic. Although Curtis decries charting, he is happy to use charts to compare  the level of predictable future earnings growth. Traders agree that a chart is a way to cong dao fu zhe – use the past as a guide for the future – and they use charting to identify the probability of future action. It is unfortunate that Curtis dismisses this aspect of analysis.


This is not a book for traders, and nor is it intended to be. Despite this, traders will find quite a bit of interest. The book helps them to understand how others approach the market and that in turn helps to identify better trading opportunities using the philosophy of Sun Tzu.


Dr Jusuf Hariman

Writing Fellow and Manuscript Assessor, Fellowship of Australian Writers

Congratulation. A new standard has been set. Curtis J Montgomery has written a clear, concise and profound investment book based on the timeless Sun Tzu's The Art of War. It is indeed exhilarating to see how the taoist understanding of mass psychology and by implication the behaviour of capital markets, as epitomised by Sun Tzu's The Art of War can contribute to superior investment returns.



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