American stock investor Philip Arthur Fisher (September 8, 1907 – March 11, 2004) was best known as the author of the investment guide book known as Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits. The book has the reputation of staying in print since it first published in 1958.
Philip Fisher’ is said to have begun his career in 1928 when he dropped out of the newly created Stanford Graduate School of Business (later he would return to be one of only three people ever to teach the investment course) and started work as a securities analyst with the Anglo-London Bank in San Francisco. According to Wikipedia, he switched to a stock exchange firm for a short time before starting his own money management company, Fisher & Co, founded in 1931. He managed the company’s affairs until his retirement in 1999 at the age of 91, and is reported to have made his clients extraordinary investment gains. He is said to have specialized in innovative companies driven by research and development. Believing in long-term investing, his interest was buying great companies at reasonable prices. His popularity shot up after he published his first book in 1958. He went on to attain legendary status as a pioneer in the field of growth investment. In Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, Mr Fisher said that the best time to sell a stock was “almost never”. His most famous investment was said to be his purchase of Motorola, a company he bought in 1955 when it was a radio manufacturer, and held it until his death.
Among his best-known followers is Warren Buffett who reportedly has said on some occasions that “he is 85% (Benjamin) Graham and 15% (Philip) Fisher”.
Phillip Fisher was referred to by Warren Buffett as “a respected investor and author” in a letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. Warren Buffett was talking about whether a corporation trying to attract shareholders is akin to a restaurant trying to attract potential customers? In that letter dated March 3, 1980 for FY1979 to Berkshire Hathaway stakeholders, Warren Buffett said: “Phil Fisher, a respected investor and author, once likened the policies of the corporation in attracting shareholders to those of a restaurant attracting potential customers. A restaurant could seek a given clientele – patrons of fast foods, elegant dining, Oriental food, etc. – and eventually obtain an appropriate group of devotees. If the job were expertly done, that clientele, pleased with the service, menu, and price level offered, would return consistently.” (Warren Buffett: French cuisine or take-out chicken?)