Benjamin Graham (May 8, 1894 – September 21, 1976) was an American economist and professional investor. Graham is considered the first proponent of value investing, an investment approach he began teaching at Columbia Business School in 1928 and subsequently refined with David Dodd through various editions of their famous book Security Analysis. Disciples of value investing include Jean-Marie Eveillard, Warren Buffett, William J. Ruane, Irving Kahn, Hani M. Anklis, and Walter J. Schloss. Buffett, who credits Graham as grounding him with a sound intellectual investment framework, described him as the second most influential person in his life after his own father. In fact, Graham had such an overwhelming influence on his students that two of them, Buffett and Kahn, named their sons, Howard Graham Buffett and Thomas Graham Kahn, after him.
In recent years, Graham's "Mr. Market" approach has been challenged by Modern Portfolio Theory, as advanced by such proponents as William J. Bernstein, whose book The Intelligent Asset Allocator extends Graham's The Intelligent Investor via an appreciation of long-term trends and the near impossibility of understanding the market writ large. Modern Portfolio Theory posits that it is generally impossible for any individual to outwit the market, and is widely taught in American and British business schools. Nevertheless, Graham's approach retains a widespread and dedicated following. Indeed, numerous academic studies, including "Contrarian Investment, Extrapolation, and Risk", "Good news for value stocks: Further evidence on market efficiency", "The Cross Section of Expected Stock Returns", and many others, have proven that value stocks outperform the market over virtually all multi-year periods.
According to Warren Buffett, Graham said that he wished every day to do something foolish, something creative, and something generous. Buffett said that Graham excelled most at the last.
Benjamin Graham, the father of value investing, has been an inspiration for many of today's most successful business people. He is also the author of Securities Analysis and The Interpretation of Financial Statements.