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The key points of 'The Little Book That Still Beats the Market' by Joel Greenblatt

In 'The Little Book That Still Beats the Market' by Joel Greenblatt, readers are introduced to key concepts like Magic Formula Investing, Earnings Yield, and Return on Capital. These concepts provide valuable insights into successful investment strategies and how to outperform the market.

Key Takeaways

  • Magic Formula Investing is a strategy that focuses on buying good companies at bargain prices.

  • Earnings Yield is a financial metric that helps investors assess the profitability of a company in relation to its stock price.

  • Return on Capital measures how efficiently a company generates profits from its capital investments.

  • Understanding and applying these key concepts can help investors make informed decisions and achieve better returns in the stock market.

  • The book emphasizes the importance of a disciplined and systematic approach to investing for long-term success.

Key Concepts

Magic Formula Investing

The Magic Formula Investing strategy, developed by Joel Greenblatt, is a quantitative approach to stock selection that aims to identify undervalued companies with high returns on capital. The formula ranks companies based on their earnings yield and return on capital, and suggests investing in the top-ranked firms.

  • Identify a list of stocks

  • Rank each stock by earnings yield and return on capital

  • Invest in the top-ranked stocks

  • Rebalance the portfolio annually

By adhering to this disciplined strategy, investors can potentially outperform the market over the long term. It's important to note that the Magic Formula does not guarantee success, and investors should consider their individual risk tolerance and investment goals before following any strategy.

Earnings Yield

The Earnings Yield is a crucial metric in the Magic Formula Investing strategy. It is calculated by taking the inverse of the Price-to-Earnings (P/E) ratio. Higher earnings yield indicates a potentially undervalued stock, suggesting that the company is generating substantial profits relative to its share price.

Earnings Yield can be compared across different industries, providing a standardized measure of value. It is especially useful when assessing companies that are profitable but have varying capital structures.

Here's a simple way to understand the concept:

  • Consider two companies, A and B.

  • Company A has a P/E ratio of 10, while Company B has a P/E ratio of 20.

  • The Earnings Yield for Company A is 10% (1/10), and for Company B, it is 5% (1/20).

This comparison clearly shows that, all else being equal, Company A's stock provides a better value for the price.

Return on Capital

In 'The Little Book That Still Beats the Market', Joel Greenblatt emphasizes the importance of Return on Capital (ROC) as a measure of a company's efficiency at turning capital into profits. It is a key determinant of a company's long-term profitability and, therefore, its attractiveness as an investment. ROC is calculated by dividing a company's operating profit by its capital employed.

To understand ROC, consider the following table showing hypothetical companies and their ROC values:

A higher ROC indicates a more efficient use of capital. However, it's crucial to compare companies within the same industry, as capital intensity can vary widely across different sectors.


In conclusion, 'The Little Book That Still Beats the Market' by Joel Greenblatt provides valuable insights into investing strategies that can help individuals achieve success in the stock market. From the concept of 'magic formula investing' to the importance of patience and discipline, Greenblatt's book offers practical advice for both novice and experienced investors. By focusing on the key points discussed in this article, readers can enhance their understanding of how to beat the market and make informed investment decisions. Overall, this book serves as a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to improve their investment skills and achieve financial success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Magic Formula Investing?

Magic Formula Investing is an investment strategy introduced by Joel Greenblatt in 'The Little Book That Still Beats the Market'. It involves selecting stocks based on their earnings yield and return on capital.

How does Earnings Yield impact investing?

Earnings Yield is a key metric used in Magic Formula Investing to identify undervalued stocks. It is calculated as earnings per share divided by the stock price.

What is Return on Capital and why is it important?

Return on Capital measures how efficiently a company generates profits from its capital investments. In Magic Formula Investing, high Return on Capital is a favorable indicator of a company's financial health.

Is Magic Formula Investing suitable for all investors?

While Magic Formula Investing can be a valuable strategy, it may not be suitable for all investors. It requires a disciplined approach and thorough research before making investment decisions.

How can I implement Magic Formula Investing in my portfolio?

To implement Magic Formula Investing, investors can screen for stocks with high earnings yield and return on capital, and then construct a diversified portfolio based on these criteria.

What are the potential risks of Magic Formula Investing?

Like any investment strategy, Magic Formula Investing carries risks. These may include market volatility, company-specific risks, and the possibility of underperformance compared to the overall market.

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